Dorsett finished the stanza in one sitting even though it had taken him most of the afternoon. Within the gaps of his concentration grew a possible exit from the chaos that had developed over the recent weeks. It seemed an unlikely escape but remained stubbornly, still an option.
The poem needed little revision. He waited for an anonymous visitor to call and introduce himself as the creator in another disguise in order to assist with it but it didn’t happen. Days had passed since Sam’s outburst at Carol’s house and he knew she’d felt angry and embarrassed at having lost her temper and he knew she blamed him for it.
He hadn’t been to work in over a week and he had no intention of going back. He wanted to return to Garbutt to find out if he’d come to any decision to his design or chance inquiry but kept on delaying it, hoping further time might help.
Sam became withdrawn, her behaviour predictable. Any conversation between them was fleeting and abrupt at times, on the edge of conflict but controlled. They existed unnaturally to each other, the friction evident, each afraid to submit in case it was misinterpreted as surrender. They’d had hours like this before but never days.
She would leave the flat after coming home from work and eat out. He wouldn’t ask her where she was going and she wouldn’t tell him. So he cooked his own meals, cleaned the dishes, and put them away in the hope she would return and be concerned that he hadn’t eaten all evening. But this was her flat and she was aware of his ruse to gain pity, either by the leftover aroma of cooked food still in the air when she’d returned or by the deliberate displacement of a plate or cooking pot put away.
As their animosity grew, so the desperation to escape it ran equal to it, not wanting to be left behind.
Without realising, the exit he’d considered taking settled into him waiting for his confirmation. He’d made his mind up and would take the chance that she would remain with him afterwards. If there was love left between them then it shouldn’t be a matter of what anyone believed or didn’t. Like an ember not completely extinguished, they’d make progress again and make things warmer. He would visit Garbutt, he decided, and recited his poem to re-enforce his belief.
You believe your life true, and everything in it
But the truth is a lie, false and counterfeit
Events are premeditated before they’ve been done
And winners are victors long before they’ve won
Better pinch yourself because you’ve been deceived
Every part of your life is a part conceived
Look back at events and see them run fated
With no questions beforehand or detours created
It doesn’t matter that you direct what you do
How you live your day, who you love, or try to
You’ll thrive on the whim of a God you can’t see
Or by the same token fail, depending on his mercy
Life seems a mystery because we can’t see ahead
In that moment of thought when we’re still to be led
The instant you ponder on what’s still to come
Is dead life gone by, used up and done
It’s eating you up as it’s writing the text
For the role that you’re playing today and the next
In a drama that makes no sense as it’s played
But which future makes history, fixed and arrayed
There is no now, no present to live
Time’s got no surface or substance to give
You’re moving on air and all you can see
Is uncertainty ahead, set by decree
Before this day’s done, all matters decided
We’ll play out our roles previously guided
And think ourselves wise by the roads we choose
When they’re already chosen as that which ensues
Whether by impulse or calm calculation
Your actions will run without deviation
Cause and consequence are only small parts
Of a whole that is your life the moment it starts