Main | Hope Wiped Out, Hope Springs Eternal »

Faint Impressions, Broadly Speaking

The flies are outside, so you sit inside. The woman offers you a beer and you scrape the sides of your mind where the realities and imaginations of your day philander.

The dream from the train comes first.

"I don't believe in this," says a man.

"Don't believe in what?" his companion replies.

"I just don't think I believe in this."

Some silence ensues as the man tries to figure out his friend. 

"Look at how many shit places it takes to make one good place," he says, looking out over the expanse beneath the Long Island Rail Road.

"I still don't think I understand," his friend concedes.

"And then even in the good place half the places are shit."

"You're talking about New York?"

Then, as a man falsely stumbles into the cafe, before correcting himself, the image of the golden ager with a hat and a cane in the elevator at the track.

"I've been coming here since 1927." 

Really? I asked, not quite understanding how that could be true.

"Yes!" he said somewhat chucklingly, and winked as the door closed.

He'd told you a minute earlier, when you two were a pair, "This used to be a great track, when it had people."

The track outside at Belmont Park bore no trace of this sadness. But this is just the kind of thing you think about when you see what happens to horses. So many are born who will later be killed. Here is the game: thousands, hoping for few, and then none. Horses are bought by rich men who will pay hundreds of thousands for the Derby but not a penny after, when the ones that lose are as worthless as the dirt they run on. Then they fall through the ranks, and the shape they wind up in is of no interest to the creator who has already moved on.

I could only feel like crying.

Jamie Berk

This is part of a series, Dispatches from the Triple Crown. Read the initial feature, "Whispers in the Shade of Roses," hereFor additional columns and vignettes, click here

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