log poetry...prose commentary


Friday, June 08, 2007

Waiting for Henry

Though, everyone she talked to heard about him, no one in our town was quite sure if she really had a husband. She rambled mumbly about many things. But, when she spoke of Henry it was always in that clear loud voice of someone trying to convince themselves. It is the same tone people take when they want to be heard by someone in the next room with whom they are not on speaking terms.

“No thank you, Sir, I don’t need money for bread. Henry will be here tomorrow.”

“No, Ma’am, I don’t need to get in out of the cold tonight. My Henry is coming for me at half past seven.”

She had always spoken like this. There were rare rumors of times she took a bit of bread or a guest room for the night. But, these were mere rumors, you see. Not one was confirmed. It was always a friend of a relative from whom she took a biscuit, a relative’s friend who put her up for a winter night.

The woman had been in our town as long as anyone could remember. No one knew her age. When I first saw her face it had a few grey hairs and some wrinkles around her mouth that only showed when she spoke of Henry. That is, when she smiled.

No one understood how she survived. None of us ever saw her sleep. We had only heard of her eating. She never seemed emaciated or tired. She was simply sunbrown and filthy from being outside all of the time. It seemed her only source of food, of rest, of joy was this man on whom she waited. No one had ever seen him. Henry was the only person more mysterious to our town than the woman who waited for him.


  • At 6/08/2007 12:57 PM, Blogger --matt g said…

    I've been working out some short stories and scenes. haven't updated the blog in awhile. so, i thought i'd share.

    Any thoughts on where Henry has gone?

  • At 6/12/2007 5:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    i don't know where henry went, but it seems to me that the woman is a desperad[a] waitin' for a train, where henry is the train, you see.

  • At 6/13/2007 2:15 PM, Anonymous robin said…

    matt, what church do you go to in austin? i have a friend who lives there who might be looking for a church to be a part of.

    i think that henry went to war and never came home. either that or he ran off w/ Godot and joined the circus. or became a pirate.
    it would be kind of fun if henry was a frog or something random like that.
    i do think he'll come back, though.

  • At 6/13/2007 4:30 PM, Blogger --matt g said…


    i have no way to get in touche with you. i go to hope in the city.

    come see me.


  • At 6/15/2007 4:46 PM, Blogger robin said…

    thanks, sir! i'll pass that along.
    if i'm ever in austin i'll do it.
    and if you're ever roaming through the flat (yet lovely) West Texas, do drop in :)
    buddy holly says word.

  • At 6/25/2007 4:41 AM, Blogger Q said…

    maybe Henry is Jesus...

    yeah, i went there.

  • At 6/28/2007 5:42 AM, Blogger justinhancock said…

    Understanding who or where Henry may be is determinate upon the actions of "the woman". For those of us unacquainted with Henry, we must rely upon the actions of "the woman" to discern his character, her word to deduce his existence. Before we can even suppose where he might be, we must first form a conclusion as to whether he is. Merely waiting for someone does not make them real, anymore than being hungry produces food. However, regardless of the reality or illusion of Henry, for we must assume that he may be no more than a figment of "the woman"'s imagination, we can come to know "the woman", and it is she with whom we follow, regardless of her superstition, in the hopes that we ourselves might be challenged by her infallible faith. For though we may never know Henry, it is her explicit character which will draw us into question of him, and ultimately the question of what is worth waiting for.

    I say, give us more of "the woman" in all her eccentricity, and leave questions of Henry to the overly philosophic Henricians and Henrites.

  • At 9/01/2007 5:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I agree with Mr. Hancock. I say lets hear more of the woman. Henry being more than a second derived from the actions and words of the woman may be perfect for your story. You'd have to decide who or what your story is about first.


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