Portrait of

Lacey can’t fall asleep. And that’s trouble.

She can possibly interact with ghosts. And…let’s let it be our premise for the remainder of this post that she in fact can.

And she fell in love with Lem. And…”everyone” alive except for Red Fay says he was gay when he was alive… That she knows anyway. And…if he was actually straight and desperately confused…he was a very quiet man. He hated talking about certain things. And it’s unclear why. If he was straight he hated talking about his orientation because it deeply scared him because he actually wasn’t who he thought he was…and instead was simply a victim of sexual abuse by a man. Did he prefer to think of himself as invulnerable and gay than weak? Or as gay instead of having to call into serious question the human condition and the excruciating frailty of men? How ugly humanity can be. How little control children – even big teenage boys – have? How wretched life can be?

Harold Loeb says (if Lem was straight), “Of course that’s why!”

But…Purgatory isn’t necessarily “quick” and he still assumed from beyond the grave that Lacey wouldn’t need reassurances. He assumed his love for her would be enough to keep her his. That giving her his love would suffice. Like…a fairytale. That she wouldn’t be so devastated by other men that she’d need more. And now he’s…tongue tied and seething. Too angry to explain to her how he feels. Fuming. And he hates feeling so…violent. Not that he’d hurt anyone vulnerable…but he hates that part of himself.

She runs off to Micheal’s apartment after she falls apart at a party…weeping…because Michael pushes all of her buttons and can get her to genuinely cry. And that’s no small feat. And Lem was there too at the party…but he refused to explain. Instead he got into a fist fight with Michael. Threatened by one of Michael’s older brothers he calmed himself and left. …And so Lacey called him from Michael’s place because Michael took her there. And Lem didn’t believe her when she called…

“You love me?!” Lem scoffed. “What are you going to do at his place? Do you know why you’re there?!”

“I don’t know. But I know I love you. And I just wanted you to know that I’m here. And I’m sorry but I have no idea what else to do with myself right now. He took care of me after you left. I’m sorry. I love you.”

And now she’s stuck between two worlds. The world of the living and the dead. And she still can’t tell who she belongs to.

What if Lem just can’t stand up for himself? What if that’s the problem? Because she has a sinking suspicion it is… Then what? What’s good? Who wins? If he was straight and psychologically massacred when does he grow-up? When does he fight men? Not just bicker. Not condemn. Not misunderstand. But learn to get openly angry when he’s actually angry purely for himself and his own needs? To see how valuable he is….

And Michael is so…strong.

Might doesn’t make right. No. But…sometimes women need men. Men who can fight men if need be. Not merely win the argument or the moment or even the vision…but obliterate to the point where your opponent sends you a thank-you note. Violence not necessary. Simply complete victory.

And Lacey is…not in control of Michael. And Lem could be the same. But will he? …Maybe he’s just gay! Right? And it’s all an insane, impossible, delusional waking dream. And Michael was gay too!!! They’re both totally flamingly gay. …And it’s all demons tricking me. And I’m icky. And you’re superior. And I’m fat. And gay. And icky. And you’re God? Right Satan?! You think you’re God?

Or no? It’s…not that bad. Right? Satan isn’t God. I’m not crazy. I’m not ugly. …And I’m just…a writer?