Friday, June 22, 2012

Winter Coal

  ((winter of 1956) (Part two, to: “The Winter School’))

Façade to: Ecole St. Louis School

Someone was pushing coal down  the school and church outside coal shoot, it made a lot of noise, Chick Evens, but nine years old, liked to listen to it roll down the pass, sending it rapidly along, into the cellar, it sounded like waves.  Sometimes he’d sneak down to the cellar, and talk to the janitor who opened the shoot door of the coal room for the truck driver who helped push the coal down; the truck driver, he had long dark arms, he’d watch them rise and fall, in the morning’s shadowy alleyway that lead from 10th Street, into the back school playground—rise and fall, as he pushed the coal along the passageway.
       The truck actually had to block the alleyway when it poured its coal down the open duck. `
       There was a tiny light over the top of the truck, from the cold morning sun—across the street, a multitude of people gathered by the buildings, waiting for them to be opened for work, all chilled to the bone, sad winter faces. They lifted their hands, moved them about to circulate the warm blood inside of them. Some of their voices echoed back to the school playground, like sorrow over water—‘Oh,oooo yes…sss, I, I re-member…’ and so forth.
—Spooky voices.  He mumbled looking down the alleyway, thinking about the coal being drawn out of the truck into the shoot all the way down to the cellar and into the janitor’s shovels which he smoothed out into a better looking mess of black mass. He was also thinking of the Tower of Pisa, it was a great tower—I know, he should have been thinking of school, but he wasn’t.
—Hurry up now! Hurry! Said Sister Caroline Ciatti (his one time teacher)
       The school class room bell had rung; he looked at the nun, and another one that had joined Sister Caroline, checking out how perfect their penguin white and black, uniforms were, always so neat and ironed. They looked like Mary Magdalene from the Bible, he thought. Both nuns looked at Chick with that—do or die look, a silent look, she knew she didn’t have to say hurry up to him, it wouldn’t do any good, he’d come running in a jiffy at the last, very last minute; at the last drop of coal, as soon as he heard those heavy metal covers on the truck and on the coal shoot bang, that was all part of the reverie. 

For: Sister Caroline Ciatti (died: August 8, 2006)