[[ or, "You Really Want Adventures, Taylor?" ]]
[ Sunday, January 9, 2005. Southwestern ]
“How was your break?” he asked me.
“It was decent,” I lied. “We had a record snow on Christmas morning. It was the first time there had been snow in the area since 1994. The whole yard was covered in two feet of snow. But I’m glad to be back. I really missed the place while I was gone.”
“Me, too,” said Taylor. “I was ready to come back.”
“Did you have a good break?”
“Yeah, it was mostly really good.” He stood up from his desk and a light came into his eyes, as if a switch had just been flipped at the back of his mind. Taylor had eyes like the sea; they were sometimes tranquil, sometimes turbulent, but gazing into them you had a sense of deeper mysteries at work beneath the surface of which even he himself was unaware.
“Mostly?” I asked him. “What did you do?”
“Oh, I went on meditative walks alone,” he said, “in solitude through empty fields blown by the sleeping wind; lying on my back in the grass on a hillside above a small lake, reciting poetry under a lonely pine and hiking through dense woods and wading in rushing spring streams. It was like being a kid again. I missed my sleepy little train-stop town. God! I’m such a dreamer, Boze,” he admitted sadly, tossing a pillow to the floor so he could sit beside me on the couch. “I just… I want to do something! I want to throw it all away and just do something! I have these irresistible urges where I want to skip school and just wander around, experiencing LIFE! I want to make the memories I’ll look back on when I’m older and tell stories!”
He stood up from the couch and started pacing through the room. When Taylor and I were restless, we would often pace together, though, as he was vastly taller than I was, this inevitably suggested some maniacal and charismatic villain from a movie plotting mischief with his ugly, lesser henchman.
Anyone who has lived long enough has had the experience of seeing one specific face which utterly surpassed all others. It is an experience one is unlikely ever to forget. Yet such a face was Taylor’s. There was something regal in it: teeth of an unspotted whiteness, shaggy, mane-like hair, a gently-sloping nose, a neatly-trimmed brown beard, and moody, ever-shifting, rain-blue eyes. He had more than once been likened to the Count of Monte Cristo in the Jim Caviezel film, and in fact there was something a little uncanny in the resemblance, as if all my sentimental and elusive dreams of manhood had arrayed themselves in flesh. What I could only ever hope to be, he WAS. I had never in my life met anyone as fully, unashamedly alive as he. He had a heart full of thunder and glory. Alex and I were but the moons which orbited around him. When he strode into a room, people stared. When he spoke, they listened. When he translated the substance of his moody meditativeness into music, and for hours in the Bishop’s lounge outside the Commons rendered the vivid landscape of his deepest feelings on the canvas of night, until a melancholy trance seemed to seize him and he left the muddy confines of the earth to wander in the pure white radiance of ivory dreams, a spell would fall on anyone who listened and in silence we became aware of a second, still subtler music underlying Taylor’s and yet interwoven with it in a song of perfect consonance. It was God’s piano; it was God’s emotions. It was the violently tender exclamation of His passions on the instruments of time.
“I want to do things people don’t think about!” he shouted, stroking his beard with one hand even as he flung the other high into the air. “I want to travel, to walk about aimlessly… no destination! I want to be an explorer in the uncharted territory of my own life! I want drama, Boze. Where there is no drama, there is no story to be told. My life is filled with empty pages, emotionless, cold, empty, devoid of activity. I wish… for once I just wish we knew a single good woman! Think of the stories we could tell, the adventures we could have…”