“Guess what?” said the boy in the laundromat, “I can do a cartwheel from this couch over to that one.”
I sat on the floor of the place with one dry cycle left; reading up on torture, Prague and paintings of the sublime before the boy raced in. He looked about nine.
He asked me for a few quarters, ran and jumped around the room in an abundance of energy, and began every sentence he spoke with “Guess what?”
So time was swallowing me amused for the hour.
“Guess what? I can do karate. I’m about to get my yellow belt.”
He attacked an already cracked dryer door with a roundhouse kick, and I thought for a second about getting up and joining him in his Chuck Norris kicking frenzy- taking over the Laundromat and forgetting about everything I'd been dealing with recently. Death and addiction and other such blood and water.
I was waitressing for the spring. Not doing much else. Time always seemed to be eating up surroundings before I could recover from some event, and then another one would take place.
I learned about wine at the restaurant I was working at. From dirty vodka soaked olives to the tannics of a hundred Grenaches. I could never seem to drink enough.
I thought about taking up a martial art. Still imagined being devoured by time, but with my Sensei.
“Guess what? Isn’t this place cool? No one is ever in here. Wouldn’t it be neat to live in here?”
Usually empty, plenty of clean clothes and lots of open, freshly scented space… terrif. Really.
“Guess what? Why does God make people kill people?”
A thousand thoughts arrive, like the one where the twin towers fall away- the dust of human forms arching in the firmament, then spilling down… this is what the sky in hell looks like.
With nothing I could say to him, I tossed another quarter from my tattered sack of laundry change his way. Happily he continued his battery of random profestations.
“Guess what? I had a dream about driving a go-cart the other night, and tomorrow my mom’s gonna take me go-cart riding.”
Hmmmmm. I dreamt I got high with Samuel Beckett the other night. We talked about Descartes and fragments and non-existent space of course, and I asked him his thoughts on life and death. He told me life is a choice between boredom and suffering, and he said death is truth and truth is the madness of dying, so be careful what you witness.
Sometimes it takes a sweet, blithe little child to pull you out of the doldrums and think about something other than your sufferings and your annoyingly "deep" dreams.
"That's cool," I managed. The boy smiled sweetly. He tossed his quarters from hand to hand.
My laundry was soon dry. The boy soon left and so did I, without saying too much more.
I didn't know if I'd ever see him again, but one day soon I'm going go-cart riding.