Of course there are also the reasons why you help someone.  That lack of magnanimity those you help sense, which is why they think you’re dumb.  Because they know.  They know you want something, and denial is that key trait, that true symptom of stupidity and ignorance—in the farce of playing dumb.  David still wanted something from Bethany.  And maybe Marie Toussaint wanted something too.  Why she helped Bethany find her answers in chicken bones.  For help, if it’s really to be called that, is just another word for love…

“God loves those that love themselves, child.”

She’s blind in one eye now—her left eye.  She was old when Bethany was born and now she’s even older.  Just the wisdom not taken out of it yet.  Taken out of the age.  This in a time when old age didn’t lose dignity in a family, though Marie Toussaint had no family—community maybe a better word.  These all just words.  The connections you make to them what matters.  You just knew she knew more than you know.  She knew what happens to a woman when she’s pregnant.  That change.  That change in the connections we make to the word love.  That change to necessity and practical morality.  That responsibility—that weight—an expectant mother puts on the father.  The legacy redefined entering into the point of coming and which has in it its end—the death which begets life.  And Bethany was pregnant thinking in these terms.  Those deaths we all face in the course of making a life.  And a compromise.  A compromise being made to the romantic love which leads to the love of a child—your child—a distinction so subtle in what’s mine and yours—ours—in that union.  That union that brings another soul in the world.

“He drinks…  he drinks every day.”

“Yes…  I said there’d be poison—didn’t I?  It’s ripe inside you now—the guilt?  I said it would protect you.  And it’s free will—yes?  It’s free will you feel now.  That fate that defines your character.  And where is he?  Where is he now?”

“He’s back in New Orleans.  Some business he had to do in the redistribution of his record, the record he made when we first met.  He said he’d be back for the birth.  The birth of the child…”

“Just one child?  Is that what you think it is?  Just one child inside you now?  You’re in denial of the medicine.  Don’t be dumb.  Don’t deny what you already know, or I can’t help you.  He loves you and he loves something else.  But you’ve already gone through that change.  The change in how he sees you.  How you see him because of it.  Ain’t no good can come from evil—or can it?  He! He!  You see a man makes it.  He makes an evil woman.  In his mind that leads to his heart.  The purity in seeing God lost.  The purpose.  The destiny…  A woman good or evil is a man’s estimate—and what is that?  What about your own?  What are you in the eyes of another woman?  Changes the whole role of justice and mercy—don’t it?  That lie that makes you feel free in thinking you see evil, but really all you’re doin’ just lookin’ at yourself in a prison of mirrors.  That’s the denial.  That’s what dumb—the silence in the answers.  The answers to the wrong questions.  And he’s just full of questions—ain’t he?  He! He!  You are what you are.  Not what he makes you.  Don’t forget your own power, child.  Your choice.  That’s how the poison protects you.  Just like you can’t forget the power of time—a man no keeper of it.  He just the seed of that.  What grows your own doing…  You’re not just his creation, but that’s what makes you created.  What makes you forget forgiveness—love’s greatest blessing—in all things created…  Don’t you worry none.  I’ll be there.  I’ll be there for the birth of your son.  I still got one good eye!  He! He!  And don’t you worry none about what dies the day something else is born.  I’ll be around.  I’ll be around to help you with that.  And your grandmother—your mother’s mother—she will be too…”