The Lanky Man

The Lanky Man

A Story by nihilistictablelamp
"

Just a random story.

"
  
“The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.” 

If this is so often the case, then why does it seem that civilization has already begun to crumble beneath my feet? I think it's time I start at the beginning. The beginning, beginning.
You know, the one where kids are conceived? Of course not. I'm simply joking. I'll just start somewhere.

September '95: 
A lanky individual stood gathering his books to stuff into his over-sized Ford van before night fell in a flea market on the border of Georgia. Suddenly feeling the urge to satisfy his nicotine craving, he reached into the fold of his plaid shirt, and flicked the top of a cigarette box open. Marlboro. A satisfying taste that left the lips tingling with a numb sensation. At least, to him, really. Towards the farthest corner to his left, a woman who appeared to have descended from Indian heritage enveloped her child into a thin blanket, rocking him back and forth to assist him with falling into a deep slumber. The man chuckled, and collected his coat from the crooked, rusty nail that hung loosely from its rotting plank. As he glanced down at his azure shoes, and noticed a ladybug that had seemed to have lost its way on such a lonely man, a woman approached his table, and smiled briefly, holding up a battered copy of Huckleberry Finn. 
"How much?"
"I suppose three-fifty." 
"Really, now? That's awfully cheap," She smiled an infectious smile, one that the lanky individual would later realize in life that it would become one that he would witness quite often. 
"Well, now, I have my reasons. I keep the books cheap so that everyone who wants to read but just doesn't seem to have that much cash on em' or can't afford em' can still buy em'."
She pondered that for a moment, pushing her glasses further back against the cartilage of her nose to the point where it left a slight indention. 
"I'll take it, long as you tell me that you'll be here around this general area so I can find some place to stock up more on my reading," She held up the book halfheartedly," My husband enjoys Twain."
"Sold! I'll be here everyday cept' Sunday." She looked up at him then, her eyes filled with both curiosity, and well, more curiosity, since what else can a person filled to the brim with curiosity possibly feel? He noticed her quizzical disposition, and filled in the blank.
"I spend time on Sunday to catch up on my reading, and occasionally clean up the garden out in the front. Trimming's a lot of hard ya hear?" 
"Of course it is!" 
He exchanged the simple, ruined book (Although its contents were certainly not ruined) for three dollars and fifty cents and departed, leaving them to lie awake later in their separate beds to ponder the odd encounter. 
This continued for four days, and on the last day, he popped a question that would change the majority, if not all, of his routine life. 
"I suppose you have a sister," He had plainly stated, and that day the woman, Nita, from what he had now grasped knowledge of her name, placed her book down and began to lead him on a journey of her wonderful and vibrant sister. Despite the fact that she had three sisters in total, it seemed that Violeta in particular would have suited the strange man with his strange disposition and strange fond with books quite well. 
And I would like to happily say that Violeta and The Lanky Man were wedded in 1997 in a diminutive area of Davao City, which is now home to more vibrancy due to the fact that the population itself has climbed. 
Truth be told his name was Ronald, but I prefer The Lanky Man, solely because he was, indeed, a rather lanky man who could barely carry many things except grocery bags filled with cereal boxes or plastic cups on his arms. He was so tall, in fact, that relatively any car that he had to ride in, except his very own van, would prove to be to small for his stature, so his head would continuously bang against the top of the felt ceiling. That, or he would simply have to sit in an uncomfortable posture at which his head did not bang against the ceiling. 
But Violeta loved The Lanky Man, with all her little heart. (She was a tiny woman. That's all.)

I'm going to fast forward from here, and skip towards their last few months together. And unfortunately dear reader, I'm sorry to say, that yes, all love stories must come to an end, although luckily for you, this particular story isn't at its end quite yet. 
The December of '97 proved to be a rather, well, I suppose feisty night, since their first, and only child was conceived. The mother would only be aware of the knowledge of her pregnancy forty-eight hours later. In those forty-eight hours, they were just their lively selves, a two-piece family. 
On the day of the child's birth, the mother passed out. She had been fervently pestering the doctors for water, and they had only granted her one cup, but she supposed that it wasn't nearly enough for her. And to reiterate this, frankly, she passed out. 
She did, however, wake up just in time to see the child's body wrapped around a blanket with blue, cartoonish looking giraffes and lions. The child's head poked out of the blanket, and honestly, it wasn't anything beautiful, because, quite frankly, most newborns look like aliens when they're born; relatives just smile and lie to them with this fake film of truth, claiming that "Oh, that bouncing baby is gorgeous," while it's truly just the parents that think it's a beautiful creature in their eyes. 
And, if you're wondering: A mere 6 pounds, 4 ounces; Brown eyes and jet black hair (Which, surprisingly, the color drastically changed over the course of two months to an ash brown); and Regular Ugly Newborn Face. 
The majority of the time, a newborn baby causes an immense amount of stress, leaving the mother, and sometimes father, riddled with sleep deprivation. The cries of a newborn child are most unpleasant, and it's surprising to hear that some people actually seem to miss such a horrific shriek (It truly depends on the children you've handled, which, in my case, they were all horrific, but once they were asleep, it will become sincerely the most pleasant thing for the child, as for you as well, since from there you can probably enjoy a few hours of undisturbed sleep.)
But they were happy, even with the low funds in the bank and the fact that they lived with a friend of Ronald's. They were a happy family of three and that was all that mattered. (The child's input didn't quite make a difference, since I'm certain that babies aren't all too conscious of the things that seem to occur within their lives of pooping and eating and sleeping and sucking breasts, of course.) 
A few days before The Terrible Thing happened, the father entered the house (A house that they had actually saved up enough money for, but one that they were renting from Nita. This wasn't the best, but it was, like the father had always said when the wife was upset with what little they had, something) and sat the mail down on top of the plastic table and called his wife to pull up a chair beside him. Having already suffered a stroke that left him with mild AOS, (The inability to perform tasks or movements caused by a disorder of the brain and nervous system) his speech was slurred. But she made out these few words: "Be sure that my daughter grows up well, and that she knows you love her no matter what, because heaven knows that of all things you love her to death." And that was that. No tears, no questions, just him laying out his verbal will before anything occurred.
After a couple days, he attended his daughter's Christmas kindergarten concert, in which the children's voices were shrill and didn't match up with certain notes right, as well as the fact that most of the shy children kept their mouths tightly shut or constantly kept eyeing their parents feverishly, hoping for the nightmare to end soon. And end soon it did. Due to a disruptive child in a red velvet dress spitting into a student's hair and poking him repeatedly, the father quickly chastised the girl, and soon she grew quiet. But seconds later she had begun her task again, and abruptly following that, the father snatched up the child from the stage and smiled at the teacher leading the chorus. The father, of course, was Ronald, and he carried his kicking and screaming child filled with bellicose intentions all the way to the van. 
His daughter had ruined the concert, but he smiled at his bundle of joy on the way home, despite his wife who silently wished that her husband would press the gas further, to urge the bulky vehicle to carry on-wards to home quicker, quite embarrassed by the whole ordeal. 
But later that night the daughter couldn't sleep, not because she was crushed against the weight of her parents, or that she had ruined something so many others had worked so hard for, but because she was afraid of some voice in the back of her head, saying, "Something'sgoingtohappentoyourdaddysomething'sgoingtohappentoyourdaddy," until she fell asleep. 
And then one day, he just died. A massive stroke that seized his heart and stole the mother's happiness away like a thief in the night. They were in a truck that his friend had let him borrow, and he was teaching Violeta how to drive. Their daughter sat smug against the dirty window of the door, dust billowing up from the red dirt road onto the truck. The mother was focused on her driving. The father was pointing in which direction she should head. And then he grew stiff, and then there was sobbing. And then she turned on her phone, trying to call an ambulance to no avail because there was no damn signal. So she walked around, frightened, searching desperately for a single bar or two. Then, her voice shaky, she told them the whereabouts of her location, and the child sat there, confused, poking her dad in the chest, telling him to "Wake up dad, wake up." Then her mother scooped her up and felt his chest, and sobbed, made this retching sound that finally made the girl cry because she had never heard someone cry so hard. And then she was in a car, a police car, without her mother, looking down at the red dirt where her tall, lanky father lay dead beat on the ground, two men hovering over his chest, one desperately placing two hands over the other and repeatedly pushing against it. And that was when she had begun to cry, tears trailing down her dirty face because she was afraid, afraid because she didn't know what was going on, afraid because she didn't know why her daddy had to be on the ground, why her mom wasn't with him, saying "Wake up, wake up," like she did earlier, and afraid because little girls at the age of four shouldn't shouldn't see such terrible things. 
It was February 15, 2004. A day after Valentine's day. The mother spent the day cradling herself and not her child because she was so empty that even a child would not want to be in the arms of something that felt so lifeless. 
And then the days passed by, which turned into seasons, which fell into years. 
The mother is now happily at home, spending vacation with her family, in the town where she got married, and her daughter is now a decade older. 
 I am that daughter. And all I've ever wanted to do was make everyone happy in my life, and to make The Lanky Man, my father, proud. 

© 2013 nihilistictablelamp


Author's Note

nihilistictablelamp
Congrats. You now have snippets of a person's life.

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Featured Review

"What snippets we have in life is often left unwritten but to those that write it they make a way of doing it so in a fascinating way that it will still feel unwritten. For this is the way we are in life, written in the unwritten cosmic pages of our life. Should we ever find ourselves being read we will only be remembered by the quotes we have made for ourselves than the big story itself."

Aren't we part of something big in life? After all if we didn't make it this far we will be dead and unspoken for but then our life changes. One day at a time, we see ourselves reading a big book the next thing we know we find ourselves finding love and then we suddenly have a new life with another person! It's definitely something our life sure is unprepared for. No matter how people say we are small we are indeed part of something big.

I don't know how far my life has been so far but I know it's become quite the craze as of late! My dearest condolences goes to the Lanky Man as he rest in peace. May your days as a writer continue to keep him alive and personified in a glorifying way.

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

Thank you for sharing. Filipino? Never cease in telling your children and your spouse for that matter that you love them.

Posted 7 Years Ago


Wow. That seems amazing that you have that information. My parents wouldn't tell me much! lol

I like how this developed. I did have the feeling throughout though of what would happen to an extent.

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

"What snippets we have in life is often left unwritten but to those that write it they make a way of doing it so in a fascinating way that it will still feel unwritten. For this is the way we are in life, written in the unwritten cosmic pages of our life. Should we ever find ourselves being read we will only be remembered by the quotes we have made for ourselves than the big story itself."

Aren't we part of something big in life? After all if we didn't make it this far we will be dead and unspoken for but then our life changes. One day at a time, we see ourselves reading a big book the next thing we know we find ourselves finding love and then we suddenly have a new life with another person! It's definitely something our life sure is unprepared for. No matter how people say we are small we are indeed part of something big.

I don't know how far my life has been so far but I know it's become quite the craze as of late! My dearest condolences goes to the Lanky Man as he rest in peace. May your days as a writer continue to keep him alive and personified in a glorifying way.

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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Added on July 26, 2013
Last Updated on July 27, 2013
Tags: Fathers, Mothers, Love, Van, Books, Life, People, I abhor tags so much it hurts

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nihilistictablelamp
nihilistictablelamp

TX



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I want to keep smashing myself until I am whole. more..

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