Cagey Pt. VII
There are events in our lives, that when recall them in that little studio of our mind, we see things we missed during the initial production. Sometimes these details elucidate the events by filling in gaps we hadn't realized were missing in the storyboard. Elements that, once recognized, immediately become ingrained into our interpretation as if they had always been there. Yet, there are other details that only seem to complicate our account. Details too odd to be either coincidence or explicit, and merely make us wonder just what exactly did happen.
And that's what it's like when I look back on those next few days. There are things that happened, things that I would have known were going to happen had I not been so preoccupied with my own trivial catastrophies. The promise of summer was overshadowing any relevence of the last few weeks of school. Sarah and I had settled into a close, but unfortunately plutonic relationship. Brett had backed off his little spiels, actually Brett had been pretty quiet all the way around.
A day or two after my first taste of riding, I was sitting on my bed before school when I noticed a book laying open on Brett's bed. From where I was sitting, I could see blue lines marking off a particular passage. I stepped over to the bed.
"If I am right, then ‘truth’ may, like ‘proof’, be a term with only intra-theoretical applications."
I remember thinking: "This guy sounds just like Brett, or I guess, Brett sounds like him. I flipped to the cover. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn.
The screen door slammed, and I sat back down on my bed to put on my socks and shoes. Brett tossed his apron on the floor by his bed, closed the book, and started building. In the time it took me to finish tying my shoes, he had worked up his usual five or six levels. He barely hesitated as he placed card after card on the growing tower. I hadn't seen (or stuck around long enough to see) his house of cards get any higher than seven or eight stories, and, like I said, he hadn't been giving me any of his unsolicited wisdom lately, so I just sat there for a while and watched.
He placed the last card of the eighth layer and reached over to fish a new deck of cards out of the nightstand. The mattress creaked and the tower shuddered on top of the book. I caught myself holding my breath as he pulled the cellophane off the new deck of cards. Brett looked calm as always. The new cards looked too bright next to the dog eared deck he'd used for the last seven or eight months, and I wondered if there newness might be a problem. Too slick or too stiff or something. He clenched his fist with a trill of popping knuckles, and stood up.
Pulling the first two cards off the top of the deck, he leaned them against each other on top of the tower, that by all apparent logic, should not be standing. Brett's hands were automatic, placing one card after another until there was only one layer left. I had completely forgotten about going to school, and he laced the next six cards so slowly I was beginning to think he was avoiding finishing the level. The king of clubs. The three of diamonds. The nine of diamonds, and finally, the Jack of spades. I counted all eighteen layers just to make sure.
Brett didn't even look at me. He just sat there staring at the tower.
"There's nothing any greater."
That seemed a bit of an overstatement, but I was still pretty impressed. "I'm gonna get the camera."
"There's nothing less."
I heard him say it, but I wasn't going to let him ruin my good mood with one of his rants this morning, so I just ignored it. I found one of those disposable cameras in the kitchen cabinet and walked back into our room.
"There's nothing any greater. There's nothing any less."
Brett had fallen into a slow repetition of those lines.
"Smile," I said, and snapped the picture. I set the camera down on the desk and noticed the clock. Shit! I grabbed my backpack and ran out the door.
For some reason, I just assumed Brett would leave that tower standing for awhile. I don't know why, but I just assumed it would still be there when I got home. It wasn't. All the cards were in their boxes, which were stacked neatly on the nightstand. Brett wasn't home either.