She’s gone past gray to the shores of Thanatos.
And there the children of dark Night have their dwellings, Sleep and
Death, awful gods. The glowing Sun never looks upon them with his beams,
neither as he goes up into heaven, nor as he comes down from heaven.
And the former of them roams peacefully over the earth and the sea’s
broad back and is kindly to men; but the other has a heart of iron, and
his spirit within him is pitiless as bronze: whomsoever of men he has
once seized he holds fast: and he is hateful even to the deathless gods.
No matter. She was born to be old. I’m sure she wears Cleopatra’s blue eyeshadow still. She would pick up the rice in the church where the wedding has been, but the children of her charges do not marry as she did and there is no rice. Rice kills the birds so we killed the marriage.
She put her hand on my teenaged leg all those years ago and said I could be a writer. I knew I could be a writer without a spotted hand on my leg and left it there empty. She filled her hand with a particular kind of Salieri.
He had another Italian name, one of those names that will always sounds like jetsam from a terrible shipwreck on a foreign shore. None of us belong here; but then again, we don’t belong anywhere. To belong you must stay or conquer, and we could do neither. One coward in Santa Vittoria is worth a battalion of heroes in America.
He loved things overmuch. He didn’t know his ass from his elbow but he loved things. It’s a glorious thing to love things that have no merit at all with a fury that defies all understanding. He would drop the needle on the song over and over and tell you why it was wonderful. No — past wonderful; it was the hinge on which the stripmall of his little galaxy went round and round under the benificent gaze of a Newberry’s god.
Mozart could kick such a man in the shins and hand him a business card that said I’m Mozart on the front and back and he’d push past him to get at Mouth & MacNeal in the cutout bin. He was a man that wanted desperately to be a lotus-eater but rhododendrons were everywhere and twice as tasty, surely.
I think she was wise to marry a man that would love her like a retarded boy loves a baseball player. He’s dead now and she’s alone forever but at least she can say that she was revered by a particular kind of Salieri, a man that could live with her for forty years and never figure out she wasn’t Cleopatra.