One Man, Many Voices -- David Smith, Author

They Ate Peaches - Preview

Chapter 1 -- New York

 

 Jacob had coal-black hair; Schubert locks curled down over his forehead, others imbedded his ears in fuzzy cups, while the back ones pressed down his carefully ironed collar making it disappear in the dark halo surrounding the head of David's angel. Three days before, he had stepped off a bus from Grand Rapids into the ethnic mousetrap of Port Authority. His journey began when he boarded the bus for New York, his halfway house, twelve days to look at everything before he bound himself to his new land.

Jacob strolled. The restaurant search dwindling into a haze of mixed aromas an amalgam of indefinable sub-maxillary confusion pulling at his hunger. Years before he had visited New York with his parents. Broadway had been a clean, two-lane thoroughfare, divided in the middle by grass with benches to sit and watch New Yorkers taking their life in their own hands. Running the gauntlet, feigning disinterest, challenging the automobiles, the rushing hordes of gasoline dragons; impotent metal creatures unable to snap up pedestrian knights, breathing fire, roaring, then frustrated helpless braking. Now the grass and trees choked, the benches held the knight’s garbage, stinking, discarded remnants of the present. A sleeping place for impotent Don Quixotes.

 

#

 

Jacob stood outside the bookstore, assorted bins on the sidewalk. Sale books set to trap the intellect of the passerby, lure him into the interior of high prices. David walked behind him, casually avoiding him as he stepped back. Jacob reading, unconscious of his own movements, had decided to purchase the novel he held in his hand, You Can't Go Home Again.

A dollar ninety-five, one of his favorites he considered, holding the prophet in his palm. David brushed against Jacob as he stepped back. He did not feel the slight interruption in his stride; too many people on the sidewalk had to be side-stepped.

He moved through the crowd, unaware of their destiny. Jacob turned, politeness inbred. He began to excuse himself, but the interruption had glided by. He caught but a glimpse, profiled by long, thick, wavy blackness. A full-lipped Nefertiti, long of neck, hair tossing itself rhythmically back and forth across high cheekbones separated by a long, slender nose reaching up over a slight crest, only to disappear in aligned compatibility into a forehead lineless, not furrowed by the concerns of mortal man.

An invisible thread of destiny stronger than any man-made link, sent down to them, unavoidable, searched them out; a chain joining two tiny atoms in a vast sea, the distance impossible, the fusion inevitable.

 

#

 

Jacob stopped in front of the Broadway Grill. Like many of its kind, the restaurant filled itself with two rows of cracking-plastic benches surrounding salt and pepper shakers on sugared, vinyl-topped tables. A long, half-oval counter pushed against the two rows, a war for space soldiered by mystic warriors who managed to sweep through no-man's land, giving and taking orders.

They carried their weapons, indirect food death, tasty garbage to spangle the corrupted palate on their forearms, two, three, sometimes four plates on a side. Jacob was reading the menu hanging beside the entrance when the purr of David Ames' voice swept over his shoulder and imbedded itself in his brain.

"Somehow I don't think this is the place we want." The voice focused, gentle, non-threatening, Jacob felt its warmth as he turned to greet the source. He had to look up. The man was very tall, very dark, and very beautiful. The word washed through him as he stared up at David; he could think of no other to describe what he saw. Jacob knew that, like the first drop of rain that fell ten thousand feet to sprinkle itself on his forehead, this man had been meant especially for him. He was God's personal gift, wondrous benevolence created for him, like the raindrop.

He was a six foot-four main mast capable of holding up all sails. Olive-skinned and sanguine of face with a Roman nose that was marred only slightly by a too-thick bridge, the eyes inquisitive, so large that they rounded the sides of his face. Two dark-brown open pools reflected the light of great intelligence, connected by almost-meeting, thick furred eye-brows.

"The countenance of Zeus, the smile of Apollo," thought Jacob.

"Pardon me?" Programmed, the reply uttered, Jacob wanted to pull back.

"I only mean that this is not the place for us to eat. The food is not up to your level. I am sure you need beautiful food, good stuff, you know what I mean? Besides, there is a great little deli just around the corner!" David's smile bewildered Jacob, caught him up and whisked him off. It carried him to where bright lights waited, the lights of things not trashed, immortal, children bearing themselves through the souls of men like David.

David and Jacob ate together that day, ate of the foods and of each other. Expectations discarded, they smelled, tasted, swallowed. Jacob would leave in twelve days; fly to Israel, where he would wait for David. In six months he would graduate; school would have taught him all it could about cultivation, technical know-how, planning, and equalization of the earth. He would learn how to take land and make it live, things that the others, already there had learned by being hungry. He and David would live in the Golan. They would stand together on the fallow land that drank the water Jacob brought, its thirst not discarded they would fight their enemies, prepared to die for their love.

 

 

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