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April 03, 1940 - Image 2

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1940-04-03

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Pra.lA

PiR RPTCTTVEV

t o,e1wuKA t 7 uu L.u

SHY ... by Alvin Sarasohn

s

VAN had to leave the stranger
quickly again, for he felt the tears
begin to well up in his eyes, and it
would never do to let the stranger think
that the 14-year-old boy he saw before
him tas a cry baby. He hurried to the
rear 'df the store after mumbling a half
coherent sentence to the man who had
started to bawl Evan out. The man
was buying, or said he was buying, a felt
hat, and the hat had a feather in it-
one of those bright peacock affairs that
all the "sharp boys" like to wear. But
this man said he was not a sharp boy,
and why do you try to sell me such out-
rageous things. Evan, trembling, said
that he was sorry that the gentleman
did not want the hat with the feather
in it, and he could take it out. "See, said
Evall, it comes right out."
And Evan flicked the feather out, at
the same time wrinkling his face in
what he hoped was a smile. It wasn't a
very hearty smile, though, for he was
trembling. Always he had to go and
tremble. And the stranger wasn't to
be satisfied.
He was still sore, and why isn't the
hat cheaper, if the feather is out.! Evan
had tried to explain that the cost of the
feather was negligible and that it was
cossidered extra anyway, but the man
kept on shouting and calling Evan and
the man who ran the store names. He
was really nasty, and Evan began to
feel the old sickness of the stomach, and
his eyes began to water. So he had to
run to the back.
He didn't really cry when he got there.
His eyes were just brimming, and his
insides felt nervous. Like the other
times when he had felt nervous and had
to cry, and that would embarass him,
for who ever saw a 14-year-old boy,
not too big, but, then, big enough and
strong enough, crying? People would
lasugh at such a big boy crying. They
would feel funny. He couldn't stand
would lfeel funny. He couldn't stand
such embarassment, he was sure. So-
he always mumbled an incoherency and
ran to the back, or to any spot that
fered refuge.
I. A TIME, when he had again stead-
ied down, he went back, and the
stranger was gone. Evan noted, with a
sigh of relief, that he hadn't swiped the
hat, . or anything else. The store was
quiet again, and the hum of the noisy
street outside pervaded the store. The
store was quiet as a church in the mid-
dle of the summer, but the trucks and
street cars rumbling and screeching in
the dust of the. city echoed inside the
store. And all seemed peaceful, if dull.
But Evan didn't feel peaceful or calm.
He was sick from his performance of the
afternoon. It was not just anything to
him-his crying-it was the most im-
portant thing in the world to him, and
he didn't know a way out. It worried
him, this being afraid of crying. And
he didn't know a way out. Or anything
to do. It worried him.
At 5 o'clock, perhaps it was a little
past the hour, the boss always refusing
to admit that his old time-piece ran
slow, Evan was ready to go home. When,
finally, the boss arrived; Evan edged
toward the door, waiting for the boss to
say, O.K., Evvie, you can go now, you've
put in a hard day. You can go now,
Evvie. The boss said it at last, and Evvie
left, letting the door ease to softly.
After he felt the door meet the wooden
panel without a sound, he started down
the street to the safetly zone, where
he always caught the street car. He
counted out the change he would need
for fare, as he walked. He felt relieved
when he saw that he had in his hand the
exact six cents for the fare-a nickle
and a pes y-and he also had the
penny he would need for the transfer,
He was glad because that meant that
he would not be forced to stand long at

LACK CURVE of sparrow over silent snow
And day that holds within its palm
The tick of clock, distant, slow.
Oh let me reach across the space
That fills the miles between your house and mine,
And feel my fingers softly touch your face.
Let all be done as Is this day:
Calm and constant, unassuming, still.
Brush futile and pretentious things away.
In big and awful stillness such as this,
In flight of sparrow over whitest snow,
I feel the truth of simple things.
- Nancy M kelson

the conductor's box, waiting for change.
Then everybody would look at him, and
make mental notes about, or remark
about his appearance, or his bearing,
or his characteristics to their compan-
ions. He hated for all the people on the
street car to watch him. Some people
liked to be looked at, he knew. But not
he, not Evan, not Evvie. He shuddered at
the thought of people hearing the boss
call by such a name as "Evvie." Ah-h-h.
HE GOT ON the street car, paid his
fare, got the transfer from the con-
ductor. He thought that the conductor
looked at him quizzically as he paid the
money. But he passed on quickly. None
of the double seats was completely va-
cant, as he had hoped, so he had to
sit down next to an elderly lady, care-
fully avoiding touching her as he seated
himself. He had passed up several girls,
next to whom he might have sat, for
he didn't want anyone to think that he
had low thoughts. They might figure
that Evan was one of these lechers who
tried to find good-looking young girls
to sit next to on street cars or in mov-
ing picture theatres. But Evan didn't
want to let them think anything like
that. It would embarass him.
He sat back and tried to think about
pleasant things like swimming and
playing ball and maybe eating large
super-duper ice cream sodas. But he
couldn't keep himself from thinking
about the occurrence of the afternoon.
His mind kept returning to the store
and his welling eyes and the embarass-
ment he had felt. Why did he always
have to want to cry when a difficult sit-
uation came up? Always it was like this,
and nothing could be done. A boy, a

man, as large as he, still wanting to cry.
Why?
THERE was a time on the football
field, he mused, when the big Polack
had deliberately spiked him. Anybody
could see that it had been intended. And
his ankle was bleeding. For a second he
was furious. Everybody had come crowd-
ing about the two boys to see what Evan
would do. It was clear he had to do. It
was clear he had to do something. Or
else he'd be branded a coward, yellow.
Somewhat falteringly, he glared at the
sullen-eyed Pole. He cried, all of a sud-
den, "Why don't you watch where you're
going, you-big bastard."
"Say that again, punk," the Pole re-
torted," just say it again." And the Pole,
now threatening, his eyes flashing, his
lips curved disdainfully, waited.
"Bastard, bastard
"I ain't gonna give you long to take
it back."
Evan still wanted to stand to the
bigger boy, but he began to waver.
Everyone seemed to be watching him.
Funny, he wasn't afraid physically. It
was just that he didn't know what he
was doing there. He was afraid of some-
thing, and he didn't know what it was.
All of a sudden, he felt nervous inside.
He could no longer face the Pole and
look straight into his eyes. His own eyes
began to water. He blinked. He blinked
again. He knew he was going to start
crying. There was nothing to do. He
was going to cry. He knew it. He said,
low, "Well watch out. Quit spikin."
The crowd dispersed, disappointed,
and the game started up again. But all
the fun had left for Evan, and he ex-
cused himself in a little while, and, with
burning face, he ran home. He was sick.

His fear of crying had made him seem
a coward to the whole crowd of kids. It
was awful and nothing to do.
THE STREET CAR was drawing near
to Chestfield street now, and Eva
made ready to leave. He left his seat
only when the car had practically
stopped, so that not too many people
would notice him and think he didn't
know the city very well, having to get
up early to see where he was. That
would embarass him. And there was
nothing to do for embarassment.
Nothing.
He walked down Chestfield, returned
the few greetings that came his way,
and, soon, he turned up the walk to the
dull, drab house he lived in.W lilied a
house like this that did not attract too
much attention, for once he'd lived in
a house that had a funny-looking cupola
on it, and everyone used to make fun
of it because it was so queer and out-of-
date. Once, some fellows had kidded him
about it and he had to run away, after
mumbling an excuse, because he had
felt the tears welling up in his eyes. le
didn't want to cry, so there was nothisg
to do but run away.
THAT NIGHT, after dinner, Evan
went out on the porch where he sat,
unnoticed in the darkness, and he could
watch other people passing by on the
sidewalks and in their cars. The night
air was cool, and it calmed the tortur-
ed mind of the afternoon. He could
never forget his wanting to cry. He did
not know what causedit. And he didnt
know what to do.
He was listening now to the whispers
of the people who occupied the flat
above him. They were sitting on their
porch too, and, by straining his 'ears,
Evan could hear, fairly distinty, 'their
voices. It was like living in someine -else'
life, and Evan isened attestively to
every word.
They were talking about their little
boy, who was six years old and who was
a shy little tot, afraid of everyone, cry-
ing at the least bit of tear. To Ewasit
seemed as though they were talking
about something with which he was
familiar. He thought he had bheard
about the same tot and te same ers
somewhere before. It all soded
strangely like a story he had read, or
a movie he had seen. Perhaps, he re-
membered it from a likeness to another
tot he had once known. The people up-
stairs were arguing. The father was say-
ing something about "its all from that
time." The father said, "You scared him
then, and he'llI never forget it, never."
The mother was saying something
that sounded to Evan like that word
they use in books and stories that's
spelled p-s-h-a-w She didn't think that
the child had ever had cause to be
frightened, and even if he had, that
was no reason to keep the fear still. She
was sure of this, very sure. Evan thought
too sure. He had begun to think.
SUDDENLY, without warning, a
scream rang out inside the house,
and Evan ran in without thinking
There was darkness all over, and Evan
wa's afraid to turn on a light. His heart
beat wildly. He was nervous, frightened.
But he didn't run out again. Not yet.
He was in the living room. There didn't
seem to be anyone else in the room, so
he went into the next room. Nothing
there.
Another scream rang out; it came
from the bedroom, Evan realized. With-
out knowing yet what he could do or
would do, he ran down the hall, narrow-
ly missing the pedestal near the wall.
Running, he had to slow down and stop
his momentum by grasping the door of
his mother's room, from which had
come the screams. Excited he felt he
didn't know what to do.
tContinued on Page 1)>

EDITORS ........................ .....James Allen, Harvey Swados
FICTION EDITOR ..... ..............................Hervie Haufler
Marian Phillips, Shirley Wallace, Jay W. McCormick, Marion J. Cowing,
William J. Rosenberg, Frances J. Pyle.
ESSAY STAFF:
Louis Deutsch, Betty Whitehead, Richard M. Ludwig, K. Mary Knob-
lauch, Robert R. Speckhard, Judith S. Miklosh.
POETRY EDITOR ...................................... James Green
Margaret Southerland, Jean J. Livingston, Howard Moss.
REVIEW STAFF:
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Janet Hiatt.
BUSINESS MANAGER ............................ N. Stuart Robson
ADVISORY BOARD:
Arno L. Bader, Wallace A. Bacon, Herbert Weisinger, J. L. Davis,
Howard Whalen. h l

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