A Horse Named Sorrow

By Trebor Healey

Award-winning novelist Trebor Healey depicts San Francisco within the Eighties and '90s in poetic prose that's either ribald and poignant, and a crossing into the yankee West that's dreamy, mythic, and visionary.

When afflicted twenty-one-year-old Seamus Blake meets the robust and self-possessed Jimmy (just arrived in San Francisco through bicycle from his homeland in Buffalo, New York), he feels his existence could ultimately be taking a flip for the higher. however the resulting romance proves short-lived as Jimmy dies of an AIDS-related sickness. The grieving Seamus is obliged to maintain a promise to Jimmy: "Take me again the best way I came."

And so Seamus units out by means of bicycle on a picaresque trip with the ashes, hoping to carry them again to Buffalo. He meets truck drivers, waitresses, collage teenagers, farmers, ranchers, Marines, and different travelers--each one giving him a brand new point of view on his personal existence and on Jimmy's dying. whilst he meets and turns into concerned with a tender local American guy whose mom has lately died, Seamus's grief and his tale develop into common and redemptive.

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I made some degree to name her at domestic rather than at her place of work, so I wouldn’t need to seek advice from her. All she sought after used to be to understand I wasn’t lifeless besides. What used to be the purpose of speaking? Which made me consider unhappy, till I remembered that simply final evening I’d discovered it used to be sharing silence together with her that used to be top. Silence and a tune. I ought a simply name her and sing. not more conversing. I heard the beep, and her faux-cheerful voice. “Hi. this can be Karen Blake. go away a message on the beep and I’ll name you again. ” “Hi, mother. It’s me, Seamus. Everything’s nice. I’m in Eugene” (and he’s in me). “Today I head east. Don’t worry—I’m nice. ” Then I sang to her: “La, los angeles, los angeles, los angeles, los angeles; l. a., l. a., los angeles, l. a., los angeles; l. a., los angeles, los angeles, los angeles, l. a., los angeles, Bobby McGee… ” I saved buzzing the remainder of it until I ran out of breath after which signed off—”Love ya, mother. Bye. ” I accrued up my issues and, after throwing a perfunctory thank you at many of the frat boys (one of whom checked out me askance, having witnessed the impromptu telephonic serenade in addition to my kitchen query), I set out, made up our minds to not pass at any place close to the natural co-op. however the morning was once all misty and that i obtained circled, and the single manner I knew to get reoriented used to be to discover the river, and doing that, i finished up correct again on the marketplace like i used to be dwelling out a few Greek play. I couldn’t now not pass in. yet I hesitated. a child out entrance, straddling his little stingray bicycle, watched me apparently. i love teenagers and that i hate being stared at, so i decided and dismounted. “How you doing there, associate? ” I acknowledged to the child. “Okay,” he acknowledged quite heavily, like a bit guy. “Glad to listen to it. Will you watch my motorbike? ” “Sure,” he spoke back, as though to claim why wouldn’t I? and during the door I went. i wished whatever to devour besides. and that i figured if he have been there, I’d say thanks and see you later, yet now not with phrases. I’d kiss him at the brow and provides him benediction simply because what we’d shared was once holy. because it became out he wasn’t there, however the inventory woman was once, and she or he stated: “You’re again trying to find Eugene? ” “Yeah. ” “Well, you simply overlooked him,” she blurted as she hefted a field of canned beans onto her cart. “Is he operating at the present time? ” “Eugene? Nah. the day past used to be his final day,” she stated as she ran a razorblade round the fringe of the field. “He got here procuring very first thing this morning. ” “His final day? He give up? ” i need to have regarded a piece alarmed. “Yeah, he left city. ” My face a question. “Where’d he move? ” She stopped and checked out me. “I imagine to a few Indian reservation. I don’t understand. Like I acknowledged the day prior to this, he doesn’t say much—bein’ mute and all,” she wisecracked. Then she reconsidered, most likely remembering my fragile nation from the previous day and seeing it now returning to my face. “I’m sorry, that was once impolite. I want I knew, yet I don’t. ” “Yeah,” I acknowledged, a section startled and pondering to invite her the place the Klamath Reservation used to be, remembering Cherrie Kee’s declaring it the day gone by. “How was once the date? ” she acknowledged coyly then, yet I simply checked out her. “Good, huh? ” and she or he gave me that candy, unhappy smile back from the day before today.

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