Bethany’s grandmother might have stopped cursing.  Being late in the game and baffled by that long talk with time and love, but that didn’t mean he didn’t have to answer.  It didn’t mean David Threnody didn’t have to answer.  And it was that same question as always.  That same question that led to other questions.  The first and the last.  That same question he heard as a child talking to sleep.  That same question as to how he would answer.  Answer to his name.

It becomes a question of requirements.  What you require of yourself.  What you require of others.  And that depends on whether or not you think you have the upper hand.  On an idea.  On an event.  Or as often enough—over other people.  When you require something of yourself you give it up.  You give up having the upper hand.  Maybe it’s the sign of a good person, an honest person—when you do that—when you give up control willingly.  That truth in illusion.

It may seem David had the upper hand.  In the course of events that transpired that night under Huey P. Long Bridge.  Things just sort of worked out for him, but instead of being confident it went all according to plan, that it all happened for a reason, he became speculative.  He became merciful.  Not to himself, but to the people he felt were hurt by it.  How it changed lives, and ended some.  Popovitch was dead.  And so was Pete Southhouse.  Law enforcement and a criminal element had lost lives.  Johnny Tribout would have a scar on his neck.  Bethany was widowed.  And Bridgette and her son’s fate were altered after that night.  Their stay in New Orleans over.  Escaping back to Texas to a life they knew before meeting Bethany’s old lover, Denny.  Maybe some good coming out of it.  William Bloodwood reuniting with his wife, becoming a father again to his young daughter.  Possibly meeting those requirements of his wife, giving her the upper hand as it were as to what was required of him to come back, maybe she not even having to apologize for kicking him out in the first place, meeting no requirements of her own, which makes you wonder, makes you speculate what really are the tenets of mercy.  If bad feelings from the past are really forgiven, if what you and another person have done wrong to each other is really forgiven, or if one person just tries to forget as a matter of convenience.  Playing the victim for fear of the other person given that chance.

At least this was what David speculated on after that night and what transpired, after he and Bethany by all apparent respects were now free to love each other, free to become man and wife.  He wondered who really had the upper hand.  What were the requirements of it.  And if good things can really come out of something bad.  How you answer to it.  That idea, that truth in the illusion of having control.  The truth that your answer doesn’t really matter, but how—how you answer—contains all the truth you really need have of whether it’s good or bad.  What you feel, mirroring love or hate, the solid indicator of where you stand.  And so the speculation ends where it starts.  When you’re honest with yourself, when you’re honest with others, the only answer you can come up with is it does—it does all happen for a reason.  And it doesn’t matter who thinks they have the upper hand, who has to meet certain requirements—it’s in God’s hands.  This the humble truth David was faced with.  Not because he was weak, too weak to assert the upper hand.  Not because he was ignorant and mystified.  It may seem trite to answer the lord works in mysterious ways, but then the answer to your name is also trite and a given.  You’re given your name.  And so your answer to it is also given.  It’s just as the face you see in the mirror—a given.  And how you choose to answer, what powers you assume—your pride—is either a lie or the truth.  You choose to either smile at yourself or cut off your nose to spite your face.  Popovitch brought a knife that night under Huey P. Long Bridge.  David just brought his guitar, and a friend…