Glory came back from the bathroom, where she brushed her teeth with my toothbrush, and when she asked me if she could I felt the urge to say I love you. I didn’t because I’m not completely insane. I was in a constant state of fear of ruining things: the night, the moment, my life. Why is it that I can be unhappy with various aspects of my life but the prospect of a woman smooths it out. If love is real, after all, then I supposed it might just be worth the hassle, but I didn’t trust myself. I knew that much.
A romantic or a paltry philanderer dressing up my lust, I wasn’t sure who I was trying to fool, them or me. I had sampled love but I undoubtedly knew lust, but is one any more real than the other, or was I a moron to try and make distinctions? I knew one thing then. I didn’t want her to leave. Whether I wanted them to stay or leave, was indicative of how strongly I felt about them.
Glory wore my red hooded sweatshirt that I didn’t fit anymore, and I couldn’t find the nerve to throw away. “Do you believe you’re the sum of your unhappiness, Wilhelm?”
“I’m not sure.”
“I think you’re a good person. I think you shouldn’t worry about who you might have been or where you came from. You’re a man, an adult, accountable for your actions and only judged based on the person you are right now. You seem to be hanging on to some things and it’s easier said than done, but try to release it. I want to do something with you?”
“I was thinking like a class or something. Anything that we could do together. A trip. Learn a language. Sign language. Break dancing. Cooking. Anything so that I could spend more time with you.”
“Yes,” I said. “I’d love to do all of that. I’m on board.”
“Would you go on auditions with me?”
“Yeah, but you can’t be mad if I get the parts.”
Glory let out a big yawn. “I’m sorry. I’m so sleepy now. Do you have tomorrow?”
“I do, but we don’t have to be up too early. We can head into the city together after breakfast.” I got up to set the alarm clock. I told glory to hang on, as I went into the hallway and grabbed a night light that doubled as an air freshener.
“It’s our fireplace.” I plugged it in and went to my desk, pulling orange and red markers from an old cup. Orange und rot. I drew flames around the light, and turned off the lamp on the desk.
“Nice and warm,” Glory said, smiling.
We laid there, I was the little spoon, my preference, with Pangur Ban down by my feet. The three of us on layers of old blankets and quilts I’ve had for years, next to a coffin, in a house and a planet that most days I didn’t want to live in or on. In that moment we were the center of everything.
“Where are we?” She asked.
“Somewhere in winter.”
“A cabin in the Black forest.” Scwartz.
“I like that. It’s lovely here, Wilhelm. Feels like home.”
“Think so? I don’t know if any place ever feels like that to me.”
“Well, we can see where this goes and maybe change all that. And we can go for long walks at night wherever home is.”
“Did you see the high heels framed on the wall in the hallway?”
“The pink ones?”
“Yeah. Those. My mom used to say those were her walking shoes, and oddly enough, we used to go on pretty longs some night, but she never wore them.”
“They don’t seem ideal for long walks.”
“I suppose you’re right.”
I liked the way she looked at me. “There is going to come a time when I rue this day and wished it never happened.”
“You don’t know that,” said Glory, as she raised a fist at me in jest.
“This is definitely going to end catastrophically.” Isn’t that how anything ends?
“Go to sleep, pessimist.”