A quirky story written with my Thursday night group with the quirky prompts: walk in the woods, the youngsters kept going, excellent, at 4 I put chewing gum in my ears, order with us, in search of comfort, no deadline, fool that I am I went too, you are almost there, Armistice Day, is there a middle ground, square inch, a simple solution, he felt proud that he. . .
Every day at 4 pm, Eliot puts chewing gum in his ears. He claims it is a simple solution. It blocks out the noise of the traffic that seems to bombard our second-story apartment every day during what the radio stations used to call “drive time.”
It was something Eliot hit upon that year we spent November touring the battle fields of France and Germany—his idea, not mine. On Armistice Day, right there on the hill behind our bed and breakfast, out in the French country side, they started some kind of 21-gun salute and I thought Eliot would go mad in search of comfort for his poor aching ear drums. We were newlyweds back then and I have to admit I wasn’t sure if he were exaggerating his distress. But when I saw him stick chewing gum in his ears, I figured his agony must be legit. Still I had to wonder what I’d gotten myself into.
He’s a quirky guy and fool that I am, I’ve always been willing to follow along where he led. Most of the time it’s been a lovely walk in the woods. We started out as youngsters, but we just kept going deeper and deeper into our own fantasy. Spicy scent of redwoods, fennel, and mint; ocean rise and fall; moon cycle; curl of Venus perched in the east fading away at the startling appearance of a bloody crimson sun. No middle ground, no deadlines, an excellent adventure, a spiritual exploration.
For decades now we’ve been static, occupying a square inch of space, narrow but so very deep. I tell him, Eliot: there is no more traffic, there are no more cars, no more noise, no pollution, no distraction. But he is so proud of this innovation—the chewing gum ear plugs, double mint or juicy fruit. I have no more teeth to chew it for him. No more mouth, no eyes, no ears.
We are almost there, Eliot, look around you. All is ordered here.
Photo by Pete Alexopoulos