Sunday, June 14, 2015

On guilt

I wasn't supposed to have the money, but there it was, thanks to my brother. My father was not pleased at my brother's act of sedition, and he made sure I knew it, but there wasn't a whole lot he could do about it. I bought the cheapest, most reliable, paid-for car I could find, and the money was gone. But before I thanked my brother, he had a stroke. Now he has to re-learn how to speak. I have thanked him, but much is yet unsaid. 

And then there is the apartment. It's on the low end of average, but it's not cheap. With a condo still to sell in Atlanta, it's going to be a squeeze. Still, it's safe and pleasant, and they're willing to take me, my 50-pound dog, and my shitty credit with only a hundred-dollar deposit. There's a cheaper place to rent, but the landlady has already proved to be a liar, and she wants a fortune up front. Just how do you tell the difference between wants and needs?

I'm looking at my hands as I type, dismayed by the fat, aging fingers in front of me. The rest of me is even worse. I can't look, and I can't look away. I wonder if my kid is embarrassed by our photos together. Of course she must be, and I want to hide.

And yet, speaking of embarrassment, this is an embarrassment of riches. A dream job in a city of artists and dreamers. If I had done every single thing in my life right, I would be lucky to be exactly where I am now. But I've gotten much of it so terribly wrong. The guy down the street is working his ass off, making ten bucks an hour and trying to raise two sons. I just bought a new car.

Yet failing to enjoy all of this, well, it just seems like that would be even worse than failing to earn it.

So I get in my car, put her in gear, and turn up the radio. I've named her, and I say her name. I tell myself there's still time to earn these gifts.

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