DAVID

They do it to make you hungry.  Even if there’s no order up.  They throw them on the grill so you smell it.  It’s like coffee or bacon in the morning.  It wakes you up.  It’s like how I wake up with you.  A lingering distortion in my ears.  And memories triggered from I don’t know where.  I suddenly think of something years ago like it happened today like it’s happening now.  Sometimes it’s something I’m proud of.  Sometimes not.  When it happens I get the strange notion I have to defend it—defend my life somehow because I remember it—the memory of this was as it is now.  This relation in the back of my mind, and I ask myself where did you go?  Where does the living go when it stops?  I have had you, but I’m not sure I have you now, and so how do I have myself if it’s either this or that in how I remember and what I sense now.  For I have been here a guest in your bed, but tomorrow I may walk under your window uninvited and another may have taken my place.  And only that smell the smell of grilling onions asking me to come in.  To answer a hunger that once it’s answered must wait for the hunger to come again if it’s to have the same emotional rescue.  That same victory over life a life that’s being lived rather than being remembered as such—something you once lived…

There’s a vanity mirror in the corner.  Maddie is standing before it naked as David lies in bed.  She is putting a flower in her hair, behind her ear—a violet, heart-shaped, made out of silk.  It’s not real.  It has no smell.  But she clips it there behind her ear as her only adornment.  She turns her head different ways to see how it looks.

MADDIE

It’s not onions.  That’s not what makes you come.  It’s the moon.  See it out there?  Almost full?  See its light on my bed?  That’s what calls you.  Not some smell.  You think there are layers to it, a wax and wane, but there is only one.  What I see is what you see.  Look at me.  Look at me as I look at myself and see yourself.  It’s the only past you need.  Gone as soon as you look away.  As soon as I turn away and we have only our direct gaze…

Maddie turns to face him, and David does look away.  His eyes focus not on the mirror but on her face partially hidden in the moonlight.  The silk violet there in the light.  He tries to find her eyes, but he fails and his gaze falls to her breasts to the rest of her body as she stands there for him to see knowing how she stands in what is her room and how the moon shines in it is what is he will see.

DAVID

Sometimes I think you’re a dispensation.  Whether or not I see justice in it is my choice of my role in being by your side…  But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted…  How do I not know if a woman is not judge of this?

MADDIE

You exaggerate my powers.

She walks to the foot of the bed to where David’s feet are poking out from the sheets.  She leans down her breasts touching his toes and slowly crawls up his body first putting the false violet to his lips before lightly kissing him.

DAVID

I’m afraid, Maddie.  I’m afraid I’ve asked for too much.  I’m afraid what I’ve mastered in this world will only be what I’m a servant to in the next…

MADDIE

You just want to know.  But you shouldn’t.  When you’re up here you should be down there.  Down there where your guitar is.  You should be down there with your music…  Didn’t you tell me?  Didn’t you tell me of the man who gave it to you?  You can’t give it back.  And the sound never just goes away.  It doesn’t just disappear.  It’s vigilant.  It returns to you.  Maybe just in a different form.  A different tone.  Your music is your children…

And a look is captured between the lovers.  Her above and he below.  Their eyes meet even if you can’t see it clearly in the darkness of their bed in that fardo sense of shadows cast about by the moonlight in Maddie’s room.  And Maddie laughs.  You can’t see her face.  Only the fake violet.  You see its heart-shape silhouetted by the moon.

DAVID

We are going away and I’m taking him with us.  Bethany has a cousin in Louisiana.  We’re going there for Dulcy.

MADDIE

So?  Take him then.  His living hasn’t stopped yet, and I’m not doing your living for you…  Maybe you’re right.  What you master here is just service to the next time.  The next dispensation.  In who comes next.  In whether you’re last or the first.  All I am is continuity.  That’s what you hate about me.  That’s what you love…

And now you’re outside.  The balcony to Maddie’s room and the steps that lead down.  All this to a full moon.  The image of David going down and then Benjy coming up.  David takes one step at time, slowly.  Benjy leaps two steps at a time, in a hurry.  And you hear a howl.  Not from a wolf, like in those mind movies from Biloxi before the war and the images of Nina’s murder, but recorded, from David’s first recordings.  The haunting slide of his Gibson ES-150 and a howl, David’s howl closing one of his songs recorded in 1947 in the Bywater, the upper ninth ward of New Orleans, at Piety Street Records, and for a moment you see Bethany’s face shining in the light from the stage where she first heard David play and their talk over an absinthe of man and God.  And then you see the moonlight gone to a dawn.  David crawling out a window, Rosie Soledad’s window at sunrise, his guitar on his back.  You see that lone tree at a crossroads shadowed in a rising sun.  And then you smell it.  That gasoline smell.  You see Benjy dousing the tree, the Texas Mountain Laurel, the body of Aaron hanging from one of the branches that provides the floor of the tree house.  You see Benjy toss the can of gasoline and strike a match.  He takes David’s journal out, the journal Dulcinea gave Aaron, and tears it page by page, casting them in the flames.

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