Pamplemousse

The Student Literary Journal of Vermont State University

You wanted to participate. At least that; and also where possible to contribute. But fatigue grows. Fatigue has darkish furred paws. You think you will not become creaky, your knees squeaky, your back dependent on rows of invisible safety pins. But it comes to be almost that way and then actually kind of that way and then that way. Gradually the heroism of being tremendously special starts seeming comical, and then often not exuberantly comical but just dim-bulb comical. Are you not something terrific? Definitely it seemed the case when you were thirty-two trotting from the bus up the hill and vaulting over that fence to pass the castle, which was actually the building for Political Science or Sociology or something. You did not sleep at all the night before yet look at you in the dewy morning being so sprightly and witty! At thirty-two. Not yet quite alert to how years are merely months.

To participate; and if feasible to contribute. In seventh grade at Leroy Martin Junior High, everyone spilled out onto the football field after lunch, with twenty-two more minutes free. You could sit on a bleacher and go over your math homework. But there were all these living beings around you, like and unlike you, including Kenny who was so nearly insulting to the teachers it became a possibly sublime type of heroism, and Patricia who radiated illogical grace as she practiced some arcane dance step, and Fred whose grin seemed sly as if he knew a way for relatively small and unpopular boys to metamorphose into someone the girls would fairly soon want to flirt with. So you experimented with zany remarks and kicking a volleyball, devising strategies to gain the interest of other persons. Seventh grade, ninth grade, college! Perspiration and wit and failed wit and moments of rapt understanding and re-plunges of confusion and then entire prairies of all this again all clouded over in shadows or shadowed in clouds and across the prairies your wagon creaking and then a voice-over practicing an arithmetic increasingly producing the answer middle-aged.

To contribute . . . But the furred paws tug.