Nagoya Writes

December 12, 2007

Subway Stops by by George Van Horn

Filed under: Issue: May 2006,Prose,Van Horn — usbengoshi @ 4:57 am

I stare at shoes these days between stations. I used to be a people watcher, but it looks as though my focus has dropped along with my middle-aged libido. I used to welcome a pretty-faced distraction. Now I let my thoughts wander while enjoying the comforting blur from the windows on the periphery of my footwear focus.

Can you tell a person by the shoes they wear? I hope not. I mean, just look at those painfully pointed boots. How about those sawed-off and squared tips? Ah, the fetters of fashion. Who will scream for the toes, for they have no voice. What would you make of my consistently bland choice of black soft-leather wrap-around walkers? It’s definitely not an aggressive in-your-face macho choice. Gosh, do I really look like a softy, a wimp? They’re light, practical, and provide for excellent agility and speed. I mean what else would Bruce Lee wear? Hah. Who am I kidding. He’d be barefoot.

Another stop. I hate when the windows are in focus. Let’s keep this car in motion. Ah, yes, middle age shoes. Middle age. An acquaintance of mine just buried his 90-year-old father. I wonder if he realizes just how lucky he’s been to bury a parent that has lived through several generations in one lifetime. Pure luck.

Death. It’s the next stop after this middling station in life. They say death is nature’s strongest aphrodisiac, as there’s nothing like death around you to make your body want to recreate itself. Not the most romantic thought, I know, but it certainly is true. I remember I had quite the fever after I buried my mother. Was I deceived by my biological impulses? Don’t know, don’t care. I certainly needed a cuddle. There’s no better cuddle than the one right after the fever’s been brought down. Ah, re-creation.

Re-creation. I should be so lucky. Me, a childless uncle who plays imaginary parent when visiting relatives. I have fun watching them recreate life in their homes on my trips back. I sometimes sit on the side and ask myself how I would react if my daughter did that, or what I would say if my son said such a thing. Besides the bewilderment, it brings a tear of happiness. But, I’m usually bashed in the head by a wayward ball or catching a lap-bound jumping kid before that tear falls.

Nurture. How do you answer a child when they ask how babies are made? Gosh, what a loaded question. Better to ask how we make ourselves. I’d like to reply that it’s done by how we answer children when they ask such questions. Isn’t nurture what it’s all about? Nurture created those memories that come so clearly to mind when I think about the parents I recently buried. Not sure if such nurture created who I am at this juncture in life. I’ll just leave that to the Phuds with head shrinking skills. I mean how is one expected to respond to the statement, “You don’t have kids do you? Ah. ” Add ellipsis here for the un-uttered: “Well, then you can’t understand.” Is that all it takes to understand? To have kids? Possibly so. I’d like to reply, “But, hey, I’ve been a son.” For some reason I don’t. Why tussle with their pride of parenthood. I’m just content to watch. Watch those other middle-agers recreate. Ah, recreation.

Blurry windows.

I’m not at the terminus yet.


1 Comment »

  1. Hope this web page still works and my message gets through to George Van Horn whom I’ve known well.

    Hi George! I’m Hideo Tateno. I’m okay except for backache. Your great prose has just made me want to talk to you once again. I’d like to hear back if possible.

    I sometimes use subway ( between Akaike and Sakae ) as well, and yes, I used to be a people-watcher. But nowadays, I try not to exchange glances avoiding uncomfortable atmosphere, or begin to sleep naturally (laughs), probably because of being older.

    Anyway, I do hope we’ll have some fun talking again. Best,


    Comment by Hideo Tateno — July 29, 2009 @ 3:43 pm | Reply

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