On a whim I turn down a narrow and degraded lane called Memory. I wind up at a lonesome country club. I have been here before. It has been many years. It may have been in a dream. This may be one now. Little has changed, except the links are even more lonesome than they were before. A sign outside the restaurant says: “Open”. So I go in. The air smells old, just as I remember it. Either that, or it smells like some other old air someplace else.
I look around the dining room. The empty tables are set and ready for something to happen. They look like they have been that way for a long time. On the far end of the room is a bar. A woman, around my age, is working behind it. Behind her are windows with a view of the golf course. A fairway extends like a long green boulevard through a necropolis. She says: “Sit where you like. Or maybe here at the bar.” I sit at the bar. She hands me a menu.
A man, also around my age, appears from the back room. He comes over and sits down next to me at the bar. He has blue eyes that remind me of my father’s. He asks if I have been out on the course today. I tell him I do not golf. He says that’s okay. Then he adds: “Maybe you would like to start. Maybe today. Today would be a good day to learn how to play the golf.” I say I not think that would be a good idea. I can’t hit a ball straight, I’ve tried. I might break a window. He says that’s okay, the windows are Plexiglas. I look at the windows. They are Plexiglas. They haven’t been cleaned in a long time. It doesn’t much hinder the view of the empty golf course.
I ask the man when the last time a golf ball was hit into one of these windows. He says it happens all the time. I have my doubts. But the woman behind the bar nods in solemn agreement. Now both of them are just looking at me. All at once the old air is thick with expectation. I don’t know what else to do, so I order a grilled cheese. They continue looking at me. Finally, the man speaks again: “Think about the golf. You’ll do that for me, won’t you?”
He gets up and walks back toward the door from which he emerged. Before he goes through, he turns back and says: “You’re going to enjoy this grilled cheese.” Then he disappears into the back. When the grilled cheese arrives, I have a difficult time enjoying it. I am thinking about the golf.