You’ve asked me twice and both times I’ve told you that I don’t know the answer. Both times the question’s reminded me of an adjacent story which I also haven’t told you. The snow has blown or melted, ragged on top, into shapes seen more frequently in movies about coral or caves. I stomp a fjord off the edge and an icy chunk skitters across the sidewalk to lodge in the other bank. These aren’t the kind of shapes for the day-lit world. Maybe that’s why you’re asking. Going for a walk, ISO apocalypse facts. Later, neither one of us remembers to look up the answer.
Driving through Harahan for the–it’s hard to say how many times I’ve come. A lot. The first time, on our way to watch 24, Season One (just released on dvd!) on our friend’s leather sofa in his over air-conditioned house, you explained to me that this is one of the Really Racist neighborhoods. Anyway, this time he’s with us and so is C, who is new to your school and you’re letting him go everywhere to see if he’ll be your friend. By the way, it doesn’t work out, but you don’t realize it til after he and I are driving together and I get pulled over for going the wrong way down an unmarked one-way, and cry, and the cop lets us go as long as C drives. We don’t tell the cop that he doesn’t have a license, and certainly we don’t tell you anything at all. Before that, C says, “You know, if you add an ‘ok’ to your name, you get Ragnorok.” We’re all teenagers.
Ragnar turns. In April his mom will be out of town and we’ll lock ourselves out and break into the basement with a flashlight wrapped in a t-shirt from my backseat, after a couple of failed international calls to Brazil, where she’s staying. The shards will explode unpredictably both back and forth, skipped stoning into the street, into the fold of his sweathshirt, into my hair. But that’s not where we are right now. “Yeah?” he says, “well, if you add an ‘ok’ to her name, then it becomes ‘Rebeccaok.”
I don’t tell you this story. It’s March. When you ask me this question I just kick the drift, skid a bit, look around and suffix as many things as I can with a little “ok.”
Everyone laughs, C is trying to make friends. Ragnarok is the final battle between good and evil at the end of the world. This seems like a safe thing to add. Before this it was pool, engines, WWE, why some places charge for a cup for water. The conversation flagged when we found out that C lived in a tiny apartment with his mom and sister, that he just arrived from Kuwait. I think it must be hard to have changed schools every few months. Apparently he knows about the end of the world.
I don’t tell you this story because I’m afraid it might be too much of a tangent. I don’t know whose myth Ragnarok is. Your question was about Norse mythology. The only places I am certain about are the comparatively racist cities of Jefferson parish, Brooklyn, Minneapolis, Cambridge. Ragnarok doesn’t belong to any of those, as far as I can remember. Maybe Ragnarok is a Brazilian myth? No.
Before that battle though, three successive winters, snow from all sides, siblings turn against each other. That’s what you’re looking for. When your face is windblown and the snow is taking shapes only otherwise seen in the most unwonted earthy circumstances: places which threaten between eerie and unearthly: the subterranean, the submerged, the man-made/man-broken.
I don’t tell you because I don’t want to concatenate apocalypses. We don’t have facts but we can at least protect trajectory. I don’t tell you because the carful is gone and will never be relevant again. It is a mere coincidence that the word you’re looking for and the word that I happen to know actually do come from the same story. I have a lot of stories, but most of them require a lot of characters. And because those characters are people and those people are gone, I don’t tell you. You want an answer and no one wants a saga, especially an irrelavent one. I was too worried about glass to keep the tshirt. I don’t even think the flashlight was mine. I don’t care about wrestling. And anyway. I disgree. My face is windblown but. Whatever you ask, and maybe it’s because we’re together, I think we can all see signs of, thank god, spring.