I no longer want to be the obsessed planner who will step over anyone to get what he wants. Who lets his doubts and criticism manifest themselves into voices that do more harm than good as they did that horrible night when I killed the woman I loved.
I feel tiredness sweep over me. I was hoping for a peaceful night, a chance to listen to my records, enjoy a drink, and sleep. That’s all gone, replaced by uncertainty. I have so much more to think about now, but I can’t help but yawn.
“Good lad. You do your bit on the stage. Tell everyone off the bat, and I’ll sort everything straight after with you.” He points his finger at me and mimes a firing motion as he clicks his tongue. “The opposition won’t know what’s hit them.” Then he’s gone, and the flat feels oddly quiet, and a little violated.
I have trouble focusing, though. Tonight has been a sharp reminder of where I am in my life. How difficult it has been for me recently. I am trying to be better, even though my past actions still haunt me, especially because they still do.
In some cases, the ease with which I give a dishonest answer is always going to serve me well in this race. But, of course, there is some level of accountability. If I tell lies all the way to city hall, then when I try to do anything I want to, people are going to notice. I am trying to do something good here, and I would like to get elected on the back of that if I can.
With everyone still in the game, the process of discarding cards commences, and I set my expression accordingly. Grim determination that my luck is going to change at some point tonight. It’s fooling some. Others aren’t so convinced, but I need that too. If my gambit is to work, I need a healthy mix of scepticism at this stage of the game.
She hadn’t thought of it that way. I represent redemption. If she could take an independent from unknown to a winner in less than four months, imagine what she might do with another crack at her own career.
It’s not going to be easy to try to vocalize what I need when I can only lie or speak in questions, but I can make it work.. I’ve found my feet, and I’m sure I can weave my way through negotiations with the ancient man if I have to.
I’m here because of the redhead I saw neatly arranging the display in the window. For an instant, out of the corner of my eye, I caught the flick of her copper hair. It glinted brightly as it caught in the shop lights, a glimpse of brilliance against the evening darkness. The movement was so familiar, soft, gentle, and radiant. It reminded me so much of my Lily.
The metaphor rolls oddly around my mind, the Americanism harsh against my thoughts. But that’s what I’ve got to get used to from now on. I’ve left good old England behind and removed any temptation to walk into a former accomplice’s business and ask for help. I’m alone in unfamiliar territory. I have to, want to, do this properly.
My hand shakes as I reveal how much I wanted Lily, and my horror when I realized that my own subconscious tricked me into killing her. I relive the shame as I write about how I behaved immediately after, dishonouring her memory, and what I then couldn’t do. I explained how I’m now a shadow of the god I used to be, how I feel so weak and powerless. When I place the final full stop on the page, I feel spent and exhausted. I suck in a few lungfuls of air and present my scribblings.
As I do, my hand brushes against something. It tickles my skin and stops me in my tracks. I stare down, taking in the sight of a single, out-of-place weed. It is a hideous, useless wildflower, and it reminds me so much of myself.