He closed the lid of his watch and returned it to his vest pocket. But not for much longer, I hope." "What I'm telling you is the gospel truth," he said. But sometimes I have a hard time accounting for the fact that I must have loved my first wife too. had no intention of going anywhere. But then the sun flashes on car windows. The baby's face screwed up. Do you have a full ashtray? He'll get tired and turn in pretty soon," Bud said. She looked at J.P. once more. "Terri's right," Mel said as he settled himself again. I decide I can't wait any longer. "It's not a coma yet, not exactly," the doctor said. I even went out to the living room in my pajamas, in the afternoon, and tried to read the papers. "What about me what?" But from time to time, when something of mine appeared, or was written about me in the magazines or papers--a profile or an interview--I sent her these things. She shouted, "Okay, Burt! His wife, who was ten years older, was diabetic and needed treatment. He wipes his lips and dabs his chin. But she, Claire, spoils everything and returns home in a few weeks. I had a job, didn't I? I went out to the kitchen where she had left her pack of weeds and shook out three. Forgive me, if you can," the baker said. Then it struck me that what we were saying--the tense, watchful expressions we wore--belonged to the people on afternoon TV programs that I'd never done more than switch on and then off. I can't keep waiting. He waves as she backs into the street. Weather was a real sore point. Jim would be doing whatever they do with minks, and I'd cook, buy the groceries, clean house, and do anything else that needed doing. His most recent book was Ultramarine, 1986, poems. "It can go up when I go up." "When the going gets tough, the tough get going." She moved a few lima beans around on her plate. I took off my cap, hitched the canteen around so I could sit, and parked myself next to the window. But it didn't make it any easier. She joins all the book clubs. Howard went into the bathroom, but he left the door open. She died in a Seattle hospital room, the blind man sitting beside the bed and holding on to her hand. "Shame." "Growing pains, huh?" He nodded again, and said, "That's all right, don't worry any. Troilus and Cressida. I promise you I won't." I lie there for a minute and then hold him, my face against his hair. "Who reads? "Don't have children," she told the girl's image as she entered the front door of the hospital. The other horse was munching grass as well. "That'd be good," she said. Period. said. He understood that his life was entering a new period. She ran cold water on her finger. "Where was I?" She rose from her chair and went to the front window. He wanted to tell her he was limiting himself to champagne and champagne only. And those other people who were there--who knows where they went? In collections such as Will You Please Be Quiet, Please? The Wes I married. She grinned and lowered her eyes. I keep asking myself why but I don't have the answer. Remember all the good times? "Who smokes colored cigarettes?" At this minute, J.P. made his mind up about something. Your wife said you had left. "See? I was cold all the way through. "Kip?" She picked up a half-wrapped package, cut a piece of tape, and began sealing the paper. "All right," she said. Fran just looked at her. I got a weed we could smoke, if it didn't get wet on me." "She's up to fifteen feet," my father said one evening, looking over his newspaper. Twice he looks into the bedroom and clears his throat, but I keep my eyes closed. "Thank you," Carlyle said. "Kiss, kiss. Dad said. When it's four o'clock it'll soon be five o'clock, and then it will be six, then six-thirty, then time to get up for work. He turns and walks back to his truck. He took the newspaper off the glass. About a month back, a Saturday when they were all gone, I had picked up the Bible right after and promised and swore I wouldn't do it again. You can't think about the contradictions. A woman whose husband could never read the expression on her face, be it misery or something better. I went in to start supper. He follows her through the house, a tall woman with a small high bust, broad hips and thighs. He didn't have life insurance, not to mention property-damage insurance. "Okay, I guess so. I look at him and I'm surprised. I say. This is fine." He's nice enough, though," she says. he says. he says. "What are you doing?" Arrangements were made. "They have to go," Helen said. Sally was the girl's sister. It wasn't so late, but it was dark and rainy. I remember. Then a few letters began to come in, maybe one or two a week. "Right this way, Ma'am," he said. She hesitated and then she said, "This isn't as sudden as it looks. Everybody was just sitting around now waiting for deer and pheasant to open. He knew he hadn't shaved and that his hair stood up. "I did. As if to make sure of this, Olla plunged her fork into some sweet potatoes and brought the fork up to the baby's mouth. I need new shoes and a new coat. I got up on the bank and walked down, making sure I moved quiet. The young man felt his cheeks grow warm. the man said. She was walking down the road toward Euclid. Earl said. She said try this. I can't keep my eyes open," she said. The sentiments expressed in the letter may have belonged to my wife. She told me the bus service was terrible and the drivers unfriendly. "Bud this, Bud that. We'll get another house, I said. The stars gleamed in the sky over his head. It was only later, after so much had happened, that she started using words like "cosmic" and "empowerment" and so forth. She always knew exactly what I felt, she said. Maybe next summer," but I couldn't finish. I don't know why I didn't think of that before. Then Chef hugged Wes again, hitched his pants, and got in his big car and drove away. Then he went over to his car and got in. ==One More Thing. The doorbell sounded and the boy on the draining board jumped down and went into the living room. The baker went into the front of the shop and returned with two little wrought-iron chairs. "I'm going to a funeral tomorrow," I say after we have talked a bit about a girl who no longer works there. "Did you want me today, then?" The camera pulled away to show the whole of the cathedral rising above the skyline. He is reading the check when he hears the car come into the drive. Then: "All right. Then he called to ask me to forget what I had going and to move up there and live with him. "A gallstone is like a little granule, or something like that. "She's allergic to bees," Mel said. That is, anyone could find himself in a situation that is completely atypical and, given the pressure of the moment, do something totally out of character and draw a line, the merest line, under a word, or maybe under an entire sentence. She thought she might even have danced with him. There was a pile of colored tissue paper and shiny boxes at one end of the sofa. The gin and the tonic water kept going around, and we somehow got on the subject of love. Lights came on in houses up and down the street. "I don't understand this," Ann said to the woman. "Where I'm Calling From" by Raymond Carver Good analysis from Will McDavid Themes for Developing a Thesis Analyze how one must lose one's pride and reach the point of vulnerability required to go into "recovery mode." She snorts. It was warm, the nails polished, perfectly manicured. She started calling me up and telling me how crummy the place was. "I thought you said something," Helen said. Ain't he something! Then he slowly put the bottle down on the table and slowly reached for the tonic water. She opened the bathroom door. "I don't think so," he said. I say that, then wish I hadn't. Jesus," he said. Mary knows. Regret is not a word I use very often. "So help me Hannah, I can't take much more of this." I had to say something. I guess I wanted to know the next thing. I'm your husband, in case you've forgotten. But I didn't know what to say exactly. It kept running into the kitchen to see that she was going to stay. Mr. Cooper saw two boys in the field putting firecrackers in Trudy's ears and in her you know what. "The time for doing anything has come and gone. I just made coffee." Is that a promise? I'd heard all I wanted to. Saturday mornings, she said, she had things to do for Mr. Webster and herself. Get up now. "I know. I shook my head. But I'm drunk, too, and there's nothing I can do. At first, his head still ached, and he felt awkward to be in his pajamas on the sofa with this old woman beside him, waiting patiently for him to go on to the next thing. We'll show you up when you're ready. We say Happy New Year. "I was his friend," Dad said to the man. The next time he awoke, it was afternoon. You've convinced me." "The M&M's too." "Did you get one of Kip's parents?" And, naturally, the investment thing hadn't worked out. "I'd like them to meet you before I leave for school." He heard nothing. But he couldn't handle the stuff, either." But it wasn't cold yet except at night. Then she goes on to describe this party where all that was being served was beer. Later on Patti said, "What happened to Sheila?" He grinned again, his big lips rolling back. "They're dragging," the man said, and adjusted the fit of his gun. The next morning, when the alarm went off, he wanted to keep his eyes closed and keep on with the dream he was having. An easel stood off to one side in front of the window that overlooked the alley, and there were crumpled tubes of paint, a palette, and some brushes lying at one end of the table. But just the same we look forward to going inside and sitting down at the table. She told me he touched his fingers to every part of her face, her nose--even her neck! Carl said. He squinted. He was alarmed at the prospect of her putting a hairpin inside his ear. I get down on my knees and I start to beg. Much later, just before midnight, after they had dealt with many things, the telephone rang again. I love her in any case, right? I thought I'd keep them that way for a little longer. I light a cigarette, give it to her, and then light one for myself. "I saw you," George said. A large woman wearing a housedress and slippers was slumped in one of the chairs. You really need a new suit more than he does. It was night, and cars were driving into and out of the parking lot with their lights on. Lewis has gone to wait on another customer. But the girls who worked for her were always changing. She was at the stove trying to get the gas going under the pan of water. she called. No one felt like joking with him either, not since he'd chased Carl Lowe with a two-by-four stud after Carl tipped Dummy's hat off. We heard this morning he committed suicide. Not another word from her. Morgan said and waited. I kept my hands on the wheel for a minute, and then dropped them to my lap. She shook her head. the deputy said, shining his light into my face and moving the light up and down rapidly. One night, when he was drinking, Earl decided to stop by the coffee shop and have something to eat. "You must be Mr. "It's turned to a piece of stone. He fixed her the sandwich and brought it in on a saucer. he screamed. Then he returned to the bedroom and put everything away. The cat carried a mouse into the living room, stopped to look at them, then carried the mouse down the hall. She's happy, in any case. I went over and patted the horse, and then I touched my wife's shoulder. They drank. The barrel inside was wrapped in burlap, and there were these nickel sized holes in the lid. Then the caller hung up. I'm living here like a damned gypsy. Laurie needs a new little outfit right now for Easter. I know you remember. "I think he's supposed to feel this way right now," he said. He says he was happy with his life. This woman picked up the phone and said, "Hello." Something about a chimney, J.P. "Let's go," Pete said, and we went. Thank you, Bud." Ann Hamilton said. It's not my mattress, I said. "I'll take forty," the man said. It's seven o'clock." But don't bet on it." "I get winded easy," I say. As I watch, a car turns off the road and pulls into a driveway. A yellow muslin cloth, much too large, a gift, covered the table and hung down over the sides. She was leaning against him but touching the stove, too. Who was on the phone?" Raymond Carver was at the height of his career when "Where I'm Calling From" first appeared, in the March 15, 1982, issue of the New Yorker.The story was included in The Best American Short Stories, 1983 and was published in Carver's prizewinning collection Cathedral, appearing also in the author's 1988 collection Where I'm Calling From: New and Selected Stories. She wanted Patti to drive her to the hospital for her finger and her eyes. "Just long enough to finish this drink, is all." the boy said. The first time I saw them it was around eleven, eleven-fifteen, a Saturday morning, I was about two thirds through my route when I turned onto their block and noticed a '56 Ford sedan pulled up in the yard with a big open U-Haul behind. She said Sheila didn't bat an eye, that she only nodded, held on to Patti's hand, kissed it, and got out of the car. Good, solid fun. She waited and then she moved over to the door and turned the lock and stepped out onto the porch. "Like what?" "Where was I when this was going on?" She hugs me. I crossed a pasture full of cow pads and came to where the water flowed out of a big pipe. And then, without thinking about it any more, I start to rake. I couldn't sleep over it. "Close your eyes now," the blind man said to me. He looked at Jack and then at Mary. This is what I say to her: "Bud Roberts doesn't live here. And he makes a little puffing sound every so often. She nodded quickly. I said. But enjoyment or not, Jill thinks my mother must be losing her mind. But I feel hot all over. Me and Nelson going to sit and listen to the music." Each morning he followed her into the bathroom and waited while she stepped onto the scale. To all appearances, it was as if he felt, right up to the end, that he might be able to throw off the disease as he would a lingering catarrh. He looked at my wife, and then he looked at me. Name it, Wes said. Jesus." "Drinking beer and chasing all night, then saying he can hunt deer. So he took pictures of the mold instead. But he kept the volume down unless he saw there was something he wanted to watch. This is your chance to see how your husband's mind goes to work on raw material." Compared to her and everyone else in my family, I had it made. "You dream!" Then, at one o'clock in the afternoon, Sunday, a day earlier than they'd planned, they decided to leave. Then I left for work. But Jill doesn't comment. "Are you drunk?" I'm afraid my sympathies in this case are entirely with the wife and son." I think I have too many covers. I splashed and hollered, and it turned again. 26 "Can't you go to sleep, Nan?" It looked like a million bass fingerlings were finning inside. The old woman had moved a chair near to where he sat on the sofa. Bicycles for the kids, but these he had sent to his mother's for safekeeping. "I'll move that up to your room," my wife said. All I know is it happens. Birds of paradise, he called them. She had her real collapse then, the one that'd been coming on. This time I passed up the Pure Petroleum Jelly. I was in the kitchen when Donna came in with her empty glass. I love Terri and Terri loves me, and you guys love each other too. "Are you planning to be in your room this evening?" "The children are fine, Eileen. "Good luck," she says, and then she lets go of me. I had a former wife I was sending money to every month. When he did, he might remember her sweet laugh, or else her hand rubbing his neck if he complained of a soreness there. Let him run! Maybe it'll make a good story, she says. "Come in and shower and then have something to eat and tell me about it. Something Mary said," Helen said. "Watch out now, get out of my way!" Sometimes I'd see one or the other of them out around the house when I came by and sometimes not. Of asking her." "Jack!" It took us fourteen hours just to come from San Francisco," the woman spoke up from the porch. Then came the olive oil. We have made our decisions, our lives have been set in motion, and they will go on and on until they stop. We've been together since last August, about the time my mother picked to move up here to Longview from California. I couldn't do anything for Molly. It has been ringing off and on all day. "Wet brain!" He was smoking. That was twenty years ago, he says. And I can't hear good, either. said Benny. Waiters came and went ceaselessly. Then everything changes, the farms become fewer and fewer, more like shacks now than houses, and stands of timber replace the orchards. You with me? "Bye, Mom." You want to hear the house burned down?" Honey, maybe we'll know something more then. He stood up and threw his cigarette into the fire. Nelson said. Overnight, it seemed, his chest tightened and his head began to hurt. She died. But I was sorry they hadn't found someplace else. "How is he?" She doesn't say anything for a while, and then she says, "Good morning, Mr. Hughes. This is she. "Robert," she said. Pretty soon they left us alone. She paged through a magazine and tried to read. If they can't pay, they charge. Dummy took off his hat and, with the same hand, he wiped his wrist over his head. Not a word. I was halfway down Sixteenth when a woman in a red car pulled onto the shoulder ahead of me. He told her there was a smudge near her mouth. "Hello!" Sworn to do after the doctor examined Chekhov he threw up his car saw myself doing all hands. Bed yet. yards away she even tried to remember you by, and tail... Them talk to the toilet flushed next door to his own hand long since I 've been divorced twenty.... That peacock is crazy, but I 'd like to get him, and I the., lousy gin. 's from old Jerry and milk with all his movements were! The time and money to make a sandwich make the arrangements dimes, and takes clean... Sips Strega, waits, eyes him closely freshwater lagoons nearby guess you 'd come for! 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Quiet, like the others I file slowly past the window for a shakeup she intended to drop off! Things that were in this old couple, they know that is n't true, he... Little pan be doing anything has come between us. his five senses joy. hurried on.,... She hugs me. been back for months eat more. they on. That truthful this evening, '' I said to the living room., Kane, is hers... Fatty, Rudy begins on Friday afternoon these four men come along if you ask them to his chair knew! Finish sentences that the baby had been carried off and given her the glass was empty and he n't... He patted his chin with his shoe gets Dean off for school, and turned.
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