Glory found sleep without difficulty beside me. As did Pangur Ban. The three of us on the floor, in the confined quarters of a tiny room, in my apartment in Queens. A place just like any other I’m sure. A place where people talked more than they should. What did it matter what anyone thought? Tedious self righteousness. I could never shake the feeling that I was shit. Glory deserved more than I could offer.
We shouldn’t go any further. It was awful how attached I was already. So easily the weak sank their fangs in. I knew that about myself. I tried to disconnect and this happened. Forget about me. That was what I never said, but heavily implied. Do you know what Balzac said? Glory is the sunshine of the dead. And maybe he was right. Have you ever read Balzac? Me either. Maybe we could read it together.
What if that face, that endearing, resting face I can’t help but watch sleep is the sunshine I needed to pierce the black cloud hovering above me? I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with all this. How long before I walk away from her?
It was morning. I fought the tendency to turn away. My eye would heal soon but the heart never does. The heart doesn’t ameliorate, it doesn’t always feel better as doubt rears its bridle. I wanted to saddle up and leave town. It would be best for all parties involved. I knew cowboys cried because I heard all their songs. I affirmed that we, people, destroyed the ones we loved the most. I wanted nights without foul mouths and broken glass. I wanted mornings without apologies and second guesses.
I could walk out of this house that was owned by someone else, in the worn out soles of my boots, and wander, but my mind would remain dismally clouded no matter where I ended up. I knew there was more to life than this. I needed to smile more. Show your jagged teeth. Loosen up. If ever you wanted to say something, anything at all, say it now, even if no one is listening.
I was beyond the perils of my upbringing, or any of the adversity the world threw at you daily. I needed to break from this stagnation. I would worship no false idols, only Glory. I needed people, only I needed the right people in my life, my inspiring little sister, Sonny, Ceraso, Edith. I needed all of the ones I let down. There was catharsis on that floor.
I was sick of being alone, sick of hurting myself and others in the process, sick of the shame. I heard all of those conversations we had, the muddling of the family name, all of the advice I had waved off, and all of the kind words I dismissed. I had to be alright with just being myself. Whatever that entailed. The good and the bad and the ugly. Heartache. Anxiety. All of it. I had to learn to grow and move on.
My mind was racing so I got up carefully not to disturb Glory. What did you want to be when you grew up? A seemingly easy question. Catherine jokingly chose to be an insect. Glory wanted to be an actress. Hattie. Well, I couldn’t answer that. I wanted to grow as a person and make something. To say I wanted to be an artist sounded pretentious. I was not going to talk about it, I was just going to do it.
I went to my desk, opened my laptop, and created a document. I was going to let it rip. I titled the document, Eastwood, a word I wanted tattooed across my knuckles. I had a lot of calls to return that day. In the chair I thought about Hattie, how I loved her and I knew I’d never see her again, but at least we were even. My entire life I had done nothing but today would be different.
I had spent so much time overthinking and worrying. My mind was unmerciful. I’d use it to my advantage. I would write. What would I write about? I was going to write to Glory and tell her all the things I couldn’t say. I was going to tell the truth. Confide in the stranger. I would obey the old drunks at Anne Bonny’s, only I would do far worse than just burn the house down, I wanted to put Nero to shame, I was going to set fire to this whole fucking world. Today, I, W. Flood, would complete the trick and reappear, and all of you fucks were going to know about it whether you liked it or not.