Racing with the Moon
by John Faucett
part 1 of 2
As she opened the door, it was like entering a crypt sealed to life. The smell of death permeated her nostrils. The thick dust was like snow piling up from a storm. Petrified cake lay where the boy had left it.
Darkness, death and dust where everywhere. On the table, a trumpet lay lifeless. The little boys toys were scattered about barely visible. Pictures of Catch, the woman and the little boy lined the mantle.
She stopped, aware that she was being watched. Turning abruptly, a scream all but died in her throat. She sliced through the darkness with her flashlight to fend off the terror, but you cannot fend off, fight or postpone death. Trembling fearfully she headed towards the stairs in this empty tomb. Her hunger kept her moving forward, one foot, then another, the hunger drove her on. She needed to chew, digest and swallow this house of death, in order to help the man she loved.
Step by step, she climbed the stairs of the crypt, deeper into the bowels of this tomb she crept. Pausing at the top of the stairs she remembered the day of the accident: it seemed to her that the family was not at fault.
* * *
The driver of the truck — Chris Lamson of Trumble, Connecticut — was intoxicated and had never stepped on the brakes or tried to warn the approaching car. Even if he had, the fully loaded semi-truck certainly never would have stopped. The results would have been the same, two DOA and one male with severe head trauma. She remembered holding the man’s hand for an instant, hearing the approaching sirens. She went to set up a blockade to keep the onlookers away; other police officers were already taking statements from witnesses.
In his copper clad clanger
Catching and corralling
Her mind raced back to the night before. They had driven up to Danbury, Connecticut for a delicious seafood dinner at Jim Barbarie’s restaurant. She had the Alaska king crab. Jordonna savored the thought of dipping the fresh, succulent crab in the warm drawn butter. Remembering how it had melted in her mouth. Chuckling to herself, she would never forget the look on Catch’s face as Samantha the waitress placed the king cut of prime rib, which the restaurant is famous for, in front of him. His mouth seemed to hit the floor. Stammering as he spoke, all he could manage to say was, “I feel like Fred Flintstone about to eat a brontosaurus steak.”
The owners, Thomas and Michelle Barbarie were personal friends of her brother John. Johnny had brought her there years before, she had immediately loved the ambiance and the way that they treated every patron like a king, It was not unusual to see the owners or the chef Ernie going from table to table making sure “the patrons were completely satisfied.”
To be tasted and swallowed
Chewed and digested
Delicious as the sunshine
Refreshing as the rain
A feast of reality
After the meal, she and Catch had taken a walk on the boardwalk along the lake, holding hands, taking in the sights, the arcade, the vendors, the tilt-a-whirl. Inhaling a deep breath of air, she realized she was falling in love. Catch never talked about the accident, or his past, almost as if his mind had been wiped clean, like a slate blackboard in school.
As they strolled by a club, the blues sound of a saxophone drifted outside. Still holding hands, Catch suddenly stopped, as though he had walked into an invisible wall. He stood in the doorway, having let go of her hand when he had walked into the invisible wall. She noticed that he was moving his fingers to the bluesy sound of the saxophone, she watched intently as his fingers played the invisible instrument.
“Catch, she said, do you like the blues?” as he still continued to play the instrument only he could see. He ignored her question. “Catch do you want to go inside?” Only when she grasped the sleeve of his jacket and tugged him inside did he stop playing, she led him to an empty cocktail table in the front.
The old man, on the stage continued playing that soulful blues sound. The saxophone moaned as the old man sat on a stool. She tugged on Catch’s arm: sit, she beckoned. Still watching the man, he sat. He watched the man intensely as the song ended. She turned to order drinks from the waitress, whose name tag read Crystal.
“I’ll have a coffee,” Jordonna said, “with cream and sweetnlow on the side. What would you like, Catch? She turned towards him as she asked the question, Catch had got up as though in a trance. She repeated the question again, but he was deaf to her voice. He headed towards the stage, which was empty.
The black man had moved to the back of the stage, where someone was handing him a beer, Catch walked towards the steps of the stage and proceeded to climb them, still in a zombie trance. Sitting on the same stool the old black man had sat on a moment before, he reached for an abandoned trumpet, which sat lifeless on a crate, next to the microphone. She looked around, no one in the room had noticed him walk on the stage.
He held the trumpet, tenderly, for what seemed like an eternity then he placed his fingers on the keys and lifted it gently to his lips and started to play softly. The sound penetrated her ear, like an arrow shot straight in to her heart. The crowd hushed, the old black blues horn player turned to see, someone dimmed the house lights as Catch continued to play the old horn.
The deep sound was like a woman moaning in a deep voice. Never before had she heard such a deep moaning sound. She loved the voice of his female trumpet that he held the way she wished he would hold her. His lips pressed to the trumpet like he was French kissing, the way she longed him to kiss her, she noticed the old man on stage pick up a shiny flute, bright as spring day, just after a rain storm, you know, like when a rainbow appears.
He walked over and sat on an old beat-up stool next to Catch and began to play with him, the moaning trumpet’s sound and the bright sound of the flute filled the club. She turned to look around to see the crowd’s reaction and noticed the waitress Crystal was standing next to her holding her coffee in mid-air, the small crowd had hushed, a golden silence shattered only by the moaning trumpet and the shrill sound of the shiny flute.
The old man played the same notes as Catch, only slightly after he did. It sounded like the horns were calling each other in a mating call, suddenly, Catch lowered his head and stopped.
The old man continued to play, the flute called over and over to its mate. Lifting his head and opening his eyes, Catch pressed his lips to the trumpet and this loud shrill sound answered. The trumpet calling a scream to its mate, fast high notes, a cold blasting sound, the old man stopped, mesmerized by the sound. The waitress Crystal all but dropped the coffee she was still holding. Then there was just silence, as Catch lowered his hand once more and released his love hold on the trumpet, and lowered it to the crate once again.
The crowd exploded with applause and the house lights were raised brighter. Catch walked towards the stage steps and slowly left the stage, he walked past her and continued towards the front door. Throwing down a five, Jordonna grabbed her jacket and followed him out of the door. “Catch,” she called. Had he turned around he would have seen that she was two steps behind. Outside he stopped and she was able to catch up to him.
“My god,” she cried, “I didn’t know you could play. I didn’t know!”
He stood still in silence. A skinny man with a hat and goatee yelled, “Steve, Steve Lambert.” Running up he said, “Steve, I was upstairs in my office and heard this beautiful sound! your sound! I knew it was you. I haven’t seen you in at least two years. It’s like you fell off the face of the earth.”
Catch backed up. “Steve.” the man said, “I’ve been looking for you.” As he grabbed Catch’s arm like a long lost sibling.
“Get away from me, I don’t know you!” he said.
“Steve, it’s me, Nick, Nick Tartell, from Tartell Music.” holding his arm even tighter so as not to loose him again. Catch reacted pulling his arm away with a violent jerk.
“I told you, I don’t know you!” he said as he pushed Nick, the man with the hat and goatee backwards with such force that he lost his footing and fell backwards onto the ground. Catch started walking down the sidewalk, she followed silently.
That which comes nearest to
Expressing the inexpressible,
Well said to be the speech of angels
The only language in which you
Cannot say a mean or sarcastic thing
Our dream, music, harmony, perfection
The dream is heaven
A communion with the primitive soul
Sweetest of all sounds
The voice of the woman we love
An organ to the soul
* * *
The stair creaked as she stepped on it, jolting her back, back into the reality of the dust-filled crypt. Stopping at the top of the stairs, she peered into the little boy’s room. Dust covered the toys like moss on the rocks of an ocean bay. Hundreds of action figures in piles heaped like discarded abandoned trash. She backed out of the room slowly, turned and stepped in the woman and Catch’s old room. She tried to consume the sights to learn more about the man she was falling deeply in love with. Clothes were still laying on the unmade bed, a lifeless bathrobe entombed in dust, lay half on and half off the bed.
The silhouettes of pictures on the wall, caught her eye. She wiped the years of dust away and stared into their lives. She could tell by their faces that they were in love and happy. “She felt like a grave robber stealing memories.” The nights after they had gone to dinner and the blues club were restless ones for her, not knowing who the man she was falling in love with was unbearable.
Finally she could not take it any more. Dressing in the middle of the night, she had driven to the police station where she worked and pulled up the accident report on the computer. Catch’s driver’s license read: Steven Lambert, 27 years old, residing at 13 Midland Ave, Yonkers, New York. Now at 3 a.m. In the morning she was touring this crypt searching for the door to Catch’s mind.
Fumbling with the keys, she started the car engine. “Vroom” it sprang to life. It was good to hear and feel life again. Crying as she drove, Jordonna headed to the woman’s mother’s house to find more answers to her questions. As the river she was crying slowed to a trickle, she parked.
* * *
It was a quiet neighborhood. The little green house at the end of the street seemed peaceful enough. As she walked to the door she noticed that the small yard was meticulously maintained, unlike the dusty crypt she had just left. Knocking once, she turned to look at the flowers by the front door, they seemed so full of life. As the door opened, she turned and said, “Hello, my name is Jordonna.”
“I know who you are,” the old woman said. “Please come in, Catch has spoken of you many times, I’m glad he has fallen in love again.” As a surprised look came over Jordonna’s face, the woman spoke more: “Catch is starting to regain the memories. But you can’t rush him, he’ll come around in his own time.”
She told the woman how she had just come from the dusty crypt that once was Catch and his family’s home. Now the old woman seemed surprised.
“I just wanted to know more about him. It’s like he’s two different people.”
“Honey, Catch lost his son and wife — my daughter — in that accident, but he is getting better. He has his apartment, and he has fallen in love again with you. About every two weeks he stops by and I give him a little money from the settlement.”
“But who is he? I was at the scene that day and held his hand until the ambulance arrived.”
Again the old woman looked surprised. “I checked the department of motor vehicle records, and know his real name is Steven Lambert.”
She told the old woman about the incident at the club and the old woman smiled a bit. “Steve Lambert was a professional musician. He had just recorded his first album “Racing with the Moon” and was to go on his first American tour after his son’s 7th birthday, the day of the accident. Steve’s injury caused him to have temporary amnesia. He is coming around slowly, but you can’t rush him.”
She told the woman how she had driven Catch to the cemetery the week before, but he could not deal with it.
“How could you have done that to him!, It’s been two years and I still have trouble going there. I still can’t deal with it. Please don’t rush it, you are in love with him and he is in love with you. He’ll come around in his own time. He is not crazy, you know.”
I’m crazy, crazy about the way you love me
Baby, I shiver every time we touch
But sometimes I worry when you’re not around
I’m thinking is this love or something else we’ve found?
But I keep on falling
Keep on falling in love and falling back again
I keep on falling
Keep on falling in love.
She’s crazy, so wild and free
It’s not easy loving a man like me
All the miles between us and all the time alone
Seem to fade away
when we are alone
When you hold me and keep me up all night
You make it easy
To forget about the trouble that we see
Should anyone love someone this much
That this madness is magic to me
It’s crazy, it feels like it will never end
And it’s stronger, stronger, than it’s ever been
As the years go by it will lift us higher
And there’s no way to ever, ever put out the fire.
But I keep on falling
Keep on falling in love and falling back again
I keep on falling
Keep on falling in love
Jordonna finished her tea, said goodbye and hugged the old woman. That evening she went over to Catch’s apartment and knocked on the door. Catch opened the door.
“Hi,” she said. “Listen, tomorrow is my mother and father’s 40th wedding anniversary, and they are going to recite their wedding vows afterwards. There is a reception at their house. Would you come with me?”
“Do you want me to come?” Catch asked.
“Yes,” she said.
“Then I’ll go with you.”
Copyright © 2005 by John Faucett