Wednesday, March 4, 2009

#50: The Farsightedness of Peter Cole

When Peter Cole was in the womb, his early-teens mother and 20-something father were on the run from the FBI, presumably because of statutory rape charges, and escaped to Mexico, which has often made Peter feel special but wrong. As an infant, Peter often stared at light sources, especially lamps, and his first spoken word was light, which his mother (who can hear the voice of God) believed to be a sign of his enlightenment. This also may have been the source of his crooked eyes and the reason he needed glasses early in life. Peter grew up in the church, watched The 700 Club, and prayed for his eyes to be healed. But his eyes didn’t heal and he couldn’t hear the voice that his mother heard either, which made him feel evil. In school, Peter was a chunky loner, so he started a punk band. He played music for years, but now that part of his life is over. Peter didn’t think that he would ever get married until he met the woman who would become his wife. Her name was Annie Dillard and they met, in part, because a mutual friend saw him reading a book by an author named Annie Dillard who is a different Annie Dillard. Peter doesn’t know much about cars, but he is the parts manager at an auto shop, a job he keeps because he hates shaving and cutting his hair. Recently, he stopped wearing regular clothes and only wears his work uniforms. He doesn’t know if he will ever go back to Mexico, but through his farsightedness Peter knows he will have a great, domesticated life with Annie, their beautiful beagle, Lilly, and their kids who are not yet born.

[Note: This postcard life story is part of a series of postcard life stories that appear in Keyhole #6, which is edited by Peter Cole, and, in this particular case, guest edited by William Walsh, whose QUESTIONSTRUCK has just been published.]


Matt Bell said...

Reading this one again, I want to say that it's one of my favorites, but I also don't, because it's so sad too. But then it's not sad, because I know that at the end of the story--the place where I know Peter--I know he's a great guy, and that things are going to be good for him from here on out. So maybe it is my favorite after all.

maggie said...

Matt Bell's comment is right on the mark, and I think that is what is so special not only about Peter Cole's life, but also about Michael Kimball's writing of it. A story of sadness and confusion but also of tenderness and hope.

Keyhole looks like it's gonna be fantastic!