The Long Goodbye (Monologue chapter 6)
I’m the man you married three months ago. The father of our child, the stepfather of another. For me, that will never change.
There’s an element of truth in almost everything, really. I made a promise not to mention the past too often for Bobby’s sake because there are some things neither of us wanted to remember…and I can’t say much more about that right now. But I also promised myself that I‘d never lie to you. That won’t change either.
Bobby and I were brothers, just not blood. He was the natural child, I was the foster kid-the loaner, the protector. He wasn’t -good - at finishing anything, actually; his mind was like an echo chamber full of multiple conversations that were never…resolved.
So I finished everything for him. Every story he wrote, I finished. Every game, dream, confrontation, vision…and almost every relationship.
Maybe I was as bad a brother as she was a mother. She crushed him, I carried him. For her, it seemed like a love hate relationship without the love…I don’t know.
Bobby’s Dad left for saner pastures…and Saint Lucy stayed to remind us what goodness was.
She raised him alone and I was placed in her care when I was abandoned by my folks.
You may not realize it, but Bobby fell in love with you for one very-compelling-reason. You were kind and nurturing and warm. He said you reminded him of music we listened to, old Irish tunes the neighbors knew that seemed like water singing songs, and we weren’t even Irish…you were the mother he craved and couldn’t find. And then…
I remember how excited he was-what, thirteen years ago?-when he met you. Something close to normal struck him then, and he was happy, and fearful, all at once.
When I met you I understood how he could be so…I don’t know, blissful…and why he asked me how he should ask you out. I think he loved you then without knowing what love was. He couldn’t comprehend the responsibilities that would come because…his dream was in his arms.
So, when fear found him and the marriage failed, I took responsibility for an abandoned mother and child. How could I not do that?
The problem was that I…felt something for you-nothing ‘maternal,’ believe me-but some wonderful tension that didn’t seem right. So I fought my pleasant thoughts and refused to sabotage your…happiness. His happiness.
And that’s why I disappeared for such a long time, to try to find someone lovely for myself.
I…may have loved you then, but I’d never betray Bobby.
So I told myself after the divorce and after he died that I was just being kind to my brother’s family and honoring a promise we’d made to watch over one another in life-and death. I know that sounds like a promise kids would make, but…Bobby never stopped being a kid. And I was bound to that - pact.
You know, before Bobby died he sold all his clothes; shoes, suits, ties-like peeling off old skin. He told me he wasn’t that person anymore.
I sometimes wonder if that mantle hasn’t been passed to me.
That’s why it was so easy to love you both when I saw you again, because the seed was already planted when we first met. And…I love you now and always as my own wife bearing my own child. And my niece because she’s Bobby’s gift to…us.
Who did you think I was?
That sounds strange, but nice, really. Thank you for being my Dad and my uncle…and for loving me. I’ll try to be a good daughter. Promise.
I haven’t seen ghosts or angels in a long time. Is that good?
Do you think my brother will like me? I hope he does. I hope he likes all the stories I’ll tell him.
I promise to protect him and be a good sister, and – if I remember how, when he’s older – I’ll teach him to draw angels in the air.
Then we’ll be safe.
I love you Daddy