It was the spring of 1946—April.  A fine month in New Orleans.  Bethany was soon to turn twenty-three.  David had just turned twenty-eight.  It had been nearly nine years since David had taken that fateful trip to Mississippi where he acquired that guitar of so much interest to Popovitch, that string missing from it in the summer of 1941 after Nina’s murder.  The capo returned.  And it had been four years since Bethany took that ride with Denny.  Two years since she’d been a wife.  They married that April—David and Bethany—April of 1946.  No poems about it.  No poems of smiles in Bethany’s journals.  No new songs.  No new songs recorded by David.  And after his homegrown was confiscated, after Bridgette and William Bloodwood returned to Texas—well, you can sort of guess how they spent their honeymoon.  Not married in a church, but at the courthouse.  The lease for Bethany’s house in the 9th Ward left for collectors.  Johnny Tribout’s room empty in David’s place on the West Bank.  They spent their honeymoon searching.  Trying to find a connection for some more weed.

The honeysuckle was blooming.  The smell of lilac was in the air.  The breeze that blew warm, but not humid yet—a fine month in New Orleans, Easter running late that year, a late Sunday in April, a day finding David and Bethany sipping absinthe, like the first time they met, after a walk around Jackson Square, a walk on the riverfront.  They walked hand in hand.  Newlyweds acting as conspirators, drawn close by conspiracy, already choosing their roles, unashamed of being accused as happy—an accusation apparent on their faces, in their eyes making contact with strangers, and even the judge before which they said their vows told them to never change—that sage advice to happiness, what you accuse your lover of when it happens.  But for now they had a purpose, and their purpose was each other.  David thinking those days and nights in Mississippi, that lonely walk before sunrise after stealing out Rosie Soledad’s window—a memory reconstructed, amended with a new freedom.  And Bethany feeling that emptiness after Denny drove away to cross the Sabine never to return circumvented by a new promise, a new hope to fill what had once been the absence of a ring, a black onyx ring, even if that river now hid the body of her dead husband, a body drowned by her grandmother, who no longer heard that rooster cry.  They were both under a spell, living in the illusion that the curse had been lifted, that the mistakes from their past had left their haunted hearts and found peace in some resurrected heaven, and the air of New Orleans in that time of month was their assurance.  They believed the judge that married them.  They believed nothing would ever change.

And maybe it should be legal.  Maybe marijuana should be legalized.  How it alters a mind into passivity, reflection of self-love—its paranoia only felt when there is doubt, and David and Bethany were without doubt when they were in each other’s arms.  The guilt of their drug an appealed sentence.  For they were not being judged.  Their love had been legalized.  Atoned.  Their flesh was each other’s and no other.  And jealousy was spent on them.  A nice feeling when you’re high.  They did not want this drug to be withdrawn, but maybe even then, in their new happiness they knew.  In those few moments when they were alone and not with each other they were left to meditate.  A seed in both of them was left to grow.  Maybe Bethany remembering Marie Toussaint’s words, the mid-wife present at her birth—what she said of poison and a child.  And David remembered the words of a prophecy—how the devil is a liar, but instead of being lied to he was being told the truth.  A truth that leads to lies.  How even what has been made legal breaks certain laws—laws that sentence death.  Not of the flesh that was his and hers—consummated—but what came out of this consummation.  And in moments alone they felt fear.  Fear that something would change.  That this was inevitable by the very inertia, the movement of their happiness.  But this they forgot.  They forgot it every time they looked at each other—their original sin.  They forgot it in the intoxication of the absinthe they drank that Easter Sunday in April, 1946.  That is until David found someone—a man who knew where he could get them some weed.  David took a walk with him, leaving Bethany at the table where they first met, where she recited the words of his father about faith and man.  And on this walk, a walk that led from Pirates Alley into the heart of the French Quarter, David would remember those words, for this man was no ordinary man.  He was a homeless man, a prophet, and he had some words for David, words that would remind him of his father, foretelling of him being a father…

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