- Vol. 02
- Chapter 03
Coney Island capThere was a time, not too long back, when I couldn’t imagine him without his Coney Island cap. It seemed to me that he wasn’t quite him without it.
The day he turned seventeen, he was thrown from a motorcycle in a near-fatal crash. He didn’t speak to me about the accident - apart from that one time - but I’d sometimes glance at him when he thought I wasn’t looking, from the side, if we were on the sofa. And I’d know from his furrowed eyebrows, the shifting expression, eyes darting from the wall to the television (which he pretended to watch), to the framed family photographs above the fireplace, back to the TV, again, again, that it affected him a lot more than he’d have liked us to know.
When I visited him in the hospital he hardly said a thing. I’d brought along grapes from the supermarket which I realised too late were the type he didn’t like, and I perched on the uncomfortable chair by the bed, struggling to think of light-hearted anecdotes from outside (but not too light). He looked straight past me, out of the window.
For a couple of years after, the motorcycle rusted in the narrow space between our house and next door. He didn’t mention it and we never brought it up. One day, it was gone. He’d sold it to a kid for half the amount he could’ve, and never rode a bike, drove a car, or showed any desire to control the road again.
When visiting hours were almost over, he told me he’d regained consciousness for a minute, waiting for the ambulance to come. He’d opened his eyes, and there was the road, snaking off towards an invisible horizon, the future. He could hear someone in tears nearby, though we don’t know who.
Coney Island cap
He wore the cap to cover the scar, which emerged from his hairline, leading to his creasing forehead. I think he was a lot more insecure about it than he let on.