Thursday, February 18, 2010

The St. Anthony Chorale - Louis D. Rubin Jr.



Louis D. Rubin Jr. – 1923 -

A wonderful story - I’ve met Rubin before in this series. He was the author of Finisterre. A wonderful southern writer.

The setting of this story takes place in Virginia and in a region that I happened to visit just last spring. Being familiar with the region allowed a more vivid picture of the story to develop in my head.

What really drew me into the story though was the similarity between the main character and the person that I was between the years 1998-2000.

You see, I spent a great deal of time alone in a single room just as the main character did. I spent time alone in a room in a small town, in a region of Romania that could be best compared to the Southern United States.

This story brought forth pleasant memories, difficult memories, but they were memories of what I once was.

And reflecting back on them makes me feel good.

I spent as much time alone in my single room before I sought out the companionship of others.

I can be solitary for a longer period than most people. Actually, I sort of take pride in this. But, my loneliness, homesickness and just the desire speak from my heart to another person drove me to seek others.

I found comfort in the form of a friendship with a man of questionable character. He was bumped up a few rungs of the social ladder by publicly being associated with me. We fed off of each other – as most friendships do.

Our haunts were cold, dark, smoky bars. 500 gram vodka shots went down pretty easy with him.

Once, twice – lost count.

He was someone I could complain to. Someone who would listen to me as long as he had a drink in front of him. We were seen together almost always after school and into the early evening and then sometimes after dinner. It was all too easy to find us at the bars.

We talked about our lives, America, Romania, money and the lack of it. Women and their beauty...and the desire to be with women.

Countless times, I wandered home to my cold room after hours of drinking and smoking. I’d stumble through the dark streets and alleys of the town with footing designed by my liquid consumption. Stray dogs and gypsies lurked in the shadows. Smoke wafted from chimneys.

And I’d stop. And listen to the world. And hear the beauty in the silence. Silence of my solitary life.


As previously posted, - In 1982 Rubin and Shannon Ravenel, a Hollins graduate, founded Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, one of the most successful commercial trade publishers outside of New York.

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