Monday, November 20, 2006

A scene from a book...

I found this on my voicemail once:

"Look," I said, sounding much too angry, "I didn't send that note. An ex-friend of mine did it as a joke." I looked at her, felt ugly and stupid.

She said, "Oh," and stared at the ground with her lips slightly apart, wounded possibly.

I wanted to cry now. I turned completely around and watched the soccer game. Margie's brother Donny smacked Pat Doolan in the neck with his cast and O'Leary blew the whistle.

"I just wanted you to know I didn't write it," I said. I dug a heel into the new wispy grass and turned it, grinding. I glanced back at her. She nodded without looking at me and her hands tightened in her lap.

"I didn't really think you wrote it," she said.

"Well, I didn't. See you around." I hunched my shoulders and walked away, hands in pockets, sick in love with her and furious now at myself. I whirled and stared. Margie brushed her hair back, twisting it over gold with a little turn of her hand, an awkward, innocent imitation of what a woman would do, and she looked very small and vulnerable and I wanted to hold her. I walked back to her.

I kept my eyes on her hands. "I'm real sorry, I mean if I sounded real mean just then," I bumbled. "I was only mad about the joke."

"It's okay. Thanks for being honest, Francis."

My name, softening out of her mouth, the magic little combination of teeth, lips, and tongue, stunned me like a cherry bomb did once, too near, the world exploding into clear, startling quiet. My attraction to her at that moment tugged so heavily I was actually leaning down towards her, and her least gesture became unbearably precious, the delicate closing of her mouth, her fingers relaxing in her lap, the sudden soothing green of her upturned eyes. Her awareness of me made the entire universe a shimmering drunken joy.

It's from The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys by Chris Fuhrman, a book about a 14-year-old Catholic School boy in the 70's.

Fuhrman died of cancer in 1991. He was 29, and had just finished his first novel.

I love that book, Doc. Thanks for introducing me to it.


  1. Anonymous2:43 PM

    sounds like an interesting read, thanks for the excerpt.

  2. Have you seen the movie? You should!


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