Another little story snippet; same main character as 'Cables.'
Mainly, it takes brains.
It doesn't take much brains to see that.
I speak if I have to. Not otherwise. It's easier that way. I don't have to often. It's amazing how much easier it is to write things down. I'm in a somewhat unique position when it comes to perspective, one that enables supreme detachment. One gets used to one's lot.
I got mistaken for a woman yesterday; a sweet girl (her name was Reiko as she told me hours later, while I licked the juices from her thigh and bit into her labia just hard enough to draw a drop of blood to the surface) came up to me and asked me, rather shyly, if I wanted a drink. "One doesn't see a woman as beuatiful as you every day," she added, "but you looked so lonely." She was nothing serious, so I let her go. She left me with a little less blood and a lot more happiness, a night spent wrapped in my arms dreaming of perfect peace. She was an innocent. I let her go.
The girl before that mistook me for a man. She was older, more cynical, lost and addicted. I took some of the darkness from her, though, at the end. I am not in the business of redemption. There was no funeral. Humans are so addicted to ceremony; I fancy I am able to see the essence of things. I don't attend funerals; I've never seen the sense in thinking too hard about someone who is already gone. The echos take care of themselves.
I think I'll take a vacation. I need some time alone. The constant procession of lovers is not as necessary as it feels for the first month I spend hungry; I get used to the ache in my bones in short order and it's all the sweeter, then, when I take the first kiss after a long hiatus.
So tonight I stare at the stars. The roofs of the city are such a wonderful place, so quiet and so huge, a little world that so few people arrive at.
There's someone coming up to me, though. I turn at stare at em. Eir hair is shoulder-length, brown, blowing in the continual wind, and eir clothes are dark and baggy. Ey smile at me. "Hello, freind. You new here?"
I contemplate for a moment, and then wave em toward the empty spot next to me. "I don't get out much. Up here for the view?"
We sit there staring at the stars together for a while, unspeaking.
After a while, ey rummaged under eir jacket and offered me a hand-rolled joint. "You indulge?"
"Sometimes." I took the joint and ey lit it with a small bone-inlaid oil lighter, a relic from before the Breakup, I guessed. The cannabis was remarkably sweet, grating a little on my lungs; I hadn't had any for months. I passed it back, and my compantion coughed awquardly as ey took it. "Nice night, though. It gets cold up here. You live here?"
"For three month now. Lost my apartment in a fire. Havn't worked up the incentive to go hunting. Only really wanted it for the shower and the storage space and the terminal, so now I go to the bathhouses and have a rentalocker and got a wireless patch." Ey shrugged. "Things are better now, sometimes. I don't miss anything."
"Yeah," I said softly. "After a while you don't miss it at all."
We passed the joint back and forth for a while.
Eventually, my companion stood up. "Errey Macavie," ey said. "I sleep over on Chrysler, or Mother Janet can find me. If you ever want another joint." Eir smile was welcoming. I nodded gravely. There was something in Errey's eyes. Ey'd be around for a long time, and ey were insightful. I can always use casual allies. Ey could do with some training in the subtle arts, the ways of the hacker and the mancer, and how to know a thing from its shadow.
I stood up as well, and leaned over to kiss em on the cheek. "I'll look you up," I whispered, and knew I would, and we'd be freinds for a while.
It was true. After a while you don't miss it. After a while you get used to it. After a while you learn to pretend that the hole in your heart where your home used to be doesn't hurt.
After a while that's true.
I was made this way. I am not too weak for my burdens, for they were not dropped on me as I pulled a string, but I lifted them myself from the dust. After a while you get used to it, and you learn to fly again.
It takes brains, mostly.
I don't speak unless I have to. I don't have to often. All it takes is a few words in the right place to tilt things just the right way. I don't miss what I've left behind.
I'll win, too. All you have to to is get out of the way and let them destroy each other, and when the dust has settled, then's the triumph of the butterfly.</P