It's so hot, but my shoulder seems to have healed. Maybe the heat. Maybe because I refused to accept the pain and willed it away. Maybe because I didn't try to lift that cabinet over my head with one arm!
Marvin has "met" an angel outside the mission..Naturally the sight kind of messed with his head, but he is following the instructions...Go here. Do this.... She is here, and we are watching her.
So, he's off, on his way to 400 East 8th Avenue--the residence of the state governor, Richard Harris.
I tried something different a few pages in; switched directions, slightly. I had planned on having Marvin sneak into the Men's store to steal a suit...well...I hope this isn't too much. I like it, but I'll wait for comments from my readers concerning their impressions of where I've gone. Cantaloube.
He shuffled south on Broadway toward his destination. 400 East 8th Avenue. The Boettcher Mansion, residence of the state’s governor, though he had absolutely no idea what he was supposed to do when he arrived. Just go, he was told.
He had seen the palatial residence once or twice over the years, when the spirit had moved him to leave the downtown area entirely and strike out on a leisurely hike, or a reconnaissance mission through the surrounding neighborhoods. The last time was long ago, but the remembrance of it sitting like a splendid monarch on its vast grounds rose to new heights today. What was there? Why on earth had he been directed to approach it? Dressed in his filthy rags, and barefoot, he wouldn’t even be admitted with one of the afternoon tours. He wondered if Amy lived there; the governor’s daughter, or God forbid, his wife. No, highly unlikely. Richard Harris—that was his name, wasn’t it? Yes. Harris had to be in his late forties. Amy was, what? Twenty-five, or twenty-six?
Money…and success…buy beauty.
Then again…maybe she would be among the visitors? Just a visitor. Why was he supposed to go, if not to meet her? There was no other possibility, no other reason that made sense. The angel said...what was it? What? What?
She is here, and we are watching her.
Where, he thought, is here, if not where he was going?
The early afternoon was warm, with a cool breeze out of the north rising and falling in fits and starts that lifted the thin, still-damp hair on his head. The park, the State Capitol Building on the opposite side of the street, and the Mission were far behind him now. Here the thoroughfare was lined with older single or two-story commercial buildings, and teemed with traffic. Men and women with kids in tow came and went carrying shopping bags, in and out of glass doors that reflected stabs of sunlight as they swung open, and then closed again.
Marvin passed Bunsmeier’s Fine Apparel as he went along in a daze. He walked by the front display windows of the upscale Men’s store, then stopped suddenly and backtracked. More mannequins dressed in fine suits, eyes of empty contentment looking outward, oblivious. He mimicked the pose of one of them as he feasted on the elegant attire it wore. There he was, or could be, outfitted like a banker or a thousand dollar an hour attorney.
I could steal that goddam’ suit if I put my mind to it. He turned his head and checked the street behind him. No cops. No hecklers.
Maybe I just will.
And maybe you should just get your butt to that mansion. Maybe that’s what you should do.
He didn’t say when…and why the hell am I goin’ there without shoes or socks, lookin’ like a basket of buttholes, anyway? This won’t take long, then I’ll show up an’ knock on the door like I was King Faruch. Maybe that’s what that thing meant.
That is precisely not what that thing meant.
As Marvin surveyed the movements of the customers inside, two salesmen swooning over them, he began to ease his way toward the door. Anselm was there waiting. When a voice from the far corner of the showroom distracted the customers and the sales staff, Marvin reached for the handle. He grabbed hold of the glistening chrome, but then stopped when a blinding flash burst in front of his eyes. He froze.
The thread inside him had awakened, slipping across a different, deeper region of his brain, burrowing now, touching a forgotten memory, or a dissipated dream—a life lived, perhaps, in a different eternity. Notes, at first. Only notes—rising from a soft and steadily growing field; spreading and pushing at the horizon in its birth. Flowers, then, with sun-swept faces of amber, pink, azure and crimson, raising their thousand leafy arms, waving at something overhead, or reaching, as their numbers grew, like a wave traversing a hidden reef. Endless fields growing and stretching in every direction as far as his eye could see. And then a high, clear voice beckoning him from everywhere at once…
Ne pas errer, mon Coeur, ne pas errer…
He recognized the lilting music, the soprano’s singing like a crystal knife opening his heart, moving the same note from word to word to word with clarity and an otherworldly beauty. His heart leapt, and he released his grip on the handle. Against all reason he had understood the command…and he knew whose voice had sung it.
Marvin stood immobile, blinded in the third dimension, immersed in the fourth with perfect vision. Anselm lifted a finger and his charge began the return. As the fields softened into blurs, the voice sang from far, far away in the fading mists.
My shepherd, the water divides us.
I cannot cross to you.
Sing to me, then, my love,
Come to me with your music.
Come to me with your youth, your youth.
Yes, yes, I will. I swear it.
He turned and left the store’s entry and continued south along the street, unmindful of his surroundings, thinking of nothing but the piercing beauty of the voice. Amy had sung to him, and oh, how lovely the melody had been. He knew she was at his destination, waiting for him, and so he quickened his pace.
(c) Patrick Sean Lee, 2010