Alagash — A Short Story
Day 134 of 365
He didn’t have a chance.
With a name like Alagash he was doomed to fail from the get go.
Alagash was conceived on the 16th of September 1983, during the third week of his parents freshman year of college. His parents met at a frat party in Oswego, New York and after a few too many Allagashes one night jumped in between jersey knit extra long bedsheets. It led to a pee soaked pregnancy test in the campus center bathroom four weeks later with a holler of an “ah, gosh” that echoed across to the Wendy’s across the hall.
What should have been a 4 year whirlwind of drunken debauchery and self discovery for the young couple unfolded into a worn down studio apartment above the Fairway Diner and a lonely third Thanksgiving when his father went out “To pick up some apple pie”. He never saw his father again and he never did like apple pie.
It should have been this series of unfortunate events within the first three years of his life that dictated the path of bad luck for him, but Alagash firmly believed it was all in his name.
A L A G A S H
His parents in their one day of joy had misspelled the very beer that had led to his less than immaculate conception. It would mean a series of “almost there, but not reallys” for the rest of his life.
There was the day he walked by the Skanska Koch bridge as every other 8th grader had done years before him, his comic book (that he had meticulously recreated from an old 1963 edition of Spider-Man for the past year and a half )had slipped out of his grip and fallen down the 30 feet, slowly and gracefully as if teasing him down into the green bellows of the water below, never to be seen again.
Then the one day attempted to make a grilled cheese in the toaster, placing it sideways on the laminate counter top and while still on, tried to catch the melted cheese with a silver knife and felt a jolt run up his arm so powerfully that on rainy nights and loud thunderstorms he could feel a slow, singe in his left elbow.
He believed in fate. Opportunities presented themselves from time to time and he would always try to catch them.
At the age of 24, he met and lost his first love. A divine beauty sitting alone at a coffee shop. She sat at the window sipping her iced soy chai latte and doodling on a crossword puzzle in pen, her hair dipping diffidently across her face. She didn’t notice him.
At least, not until she felt him standing one foot away staring at the incandescent highlighter on her cheeks that she had just tried on at ulta for her date with an art director she met the last time she sat at this very seat.
“Is this seat taken?”
He asked pointing to the warped stool that held her faux leather Purse. “No, go ahead”.
He sat down, holding his breath. He kept his head facing forward, not daring to take a look at her and in the 5 minutes that he sat next to her, had lived and loved a lifetime with her. Within the span of minute minutes, they had fallen in love, had children and grown old and died a million times together. She had been his, and he hers. He had even named his child, Carter — a normal, yet memorable name that would be sure to carry good genes and good luck when girls heard his name.
When he finally had the courage to turn to her, she had disappeared with her bag and was replaced with an old man blowing his nose into a napkin.
This was the luck of Alagash. So close yet so far. It wasn’t until he had turned 26 that he discovered his one special talent. Drawing. One could say he had always had it, and his confidence and motivation had sunken into the deep abyss of the mohawkie river that fateful day in 8th grade. But one day, after yet another failed (it was real this time) date and early night in — he found himself sitting with a Teddy Penamaker record playing in the background and at the kitchen table with a pair of blue and black pens that he had ran till the little plastic tubes had turned clear. The picture wasn’t anything special- but it was the only task that he had set his mind to and actually completed in the last 6 years.
The picture, drawn on the back of a past due Con Ed bill was an extremely intricate and detailed image from memory of the girl from the coffee shop. From her loose curls to the gold intertwined ring on her right pinky finger — he had remembered even the wooden pillars and the copper pots that decorated the top shelf of the coffee shop.
He looked at her empty ring finger, and slowly, meticulously, he sketched a diamond ring.