I had a twenty-five-year-old ’55 Buick Special, port-holes on the side like remora on a shark. I materialized at stop signs, then dematerialized. I roared off down the highway, invisible to Smokies, undetectable by radar, fog temporarily transformed to steel.
I became a refugee from that place. I wish I were still there. The sun never shone. I’d trade the sun.
In the Church of the Virgin of Guadelupe, my teeth hurt so bad, tears run down the Virgin’s face but I pull out my scratch pad and begin to write my autobiography, as yet untitled. My wife said: I don’t want to be with a man who can’t write his autobiography before she boarded the plane for Michigan, where she would press her back against snow drifts seventeen feet tall. If I don’t have your autobiography to guide me back, I’ll be lost in the snow and ice forever and in the Spring they’ll find my cold body.
The priest says: This isn’t the English Library. Why don’t you write your autobiography there?
I say: They serve teas and cookies there, and all the people are old, and I hate the old. The old have lost their passion and remind me that I’m going to die.
The priest says: I’m old, and don’t all these statues remind you that you’re going to die?
I say: Yes, but it’s different. It’s spiritual, and the pain in my teeth is one with the pain of the Virgin of Guadelupe, and of Jesus himself.
The priest leaves and returns with a cracked Bic, which he extends to me. He says: This is what I used to write my own autobiography. If you run out of ink, feel free to use it.