The Elements

Lacey has decided to listen.

In which case…for the time being at least…Michael really is captain.

Lem is aghast by this.

“She’s being serious?!” Lem says to no one in particular except God.

“I have a much more chilly personality than my brother, Lem. But I love and loved very deeply. And very sincerely. She knew and knows that.” says Joe.

“There’s a reason he was my favorite son.” says J. P. in tears of both shame and fatherly love. Shame for his own sin. Shame for his favoritism.

“It’s a joke.” says Paul Newman sarcastically.

Sincere sarcasm? Yes.

Lem worked with the elements though.

He really did.

…He really did.

No…really…he did.

He thought he was gay. And no I don’t mean “There is no such thing as gay.” …I’m talking about a man who was so artistic and rare and creative in his thinking that in the early 20th Century he had the depth, originality and painful audacity to consider himself homosexual when he in fact may have been genuinely heterosexual.

He acted gay. He refused to sleep with women. It scared him to sleep with women. And possibly violated his manly sense of honor, believe it or not. Because he had severe psychological problems due to intense trauma? And he…wanted to be gay to try to reclaim his life? Make sense of it all and keep it from falling apart into total tragedy.

But…in profound irony with a possible lack of his own authentic homosexuality to support the elegant lisps, dramatic appraisals and lilting, whispered charm…he got totally lost. Potentially so far away from actual reality if he was straight…that he saw reality in the end…from the inside out. Outside looking in. …Confused by why he was looking inside his own house through a window in the backyard when he was supposed to be slowly, gradually dozing off into a peaceful, aged slumber in his bed inside. Why his gay mannerisms felt like sin the more the years went by. Why the person inside him who might have been straight felt dull, washed-up, parched…tragically withered and beaten into a bloody, toothless submission with each affected grin and pretense to passions never truly possessed.

Did he live Jack’s life or his own? And did Jack try to live Joe’s life?

It was chaos?

*cricket chirp in Lem’s backyard*

“I’ll be a Millennial!” Lem thought when he first tried to relate to Lacey. He felt that he talked funny. Thought funny maybe even. Or at least that she’d think so.

“So he turned himself into a dude.” says Michael.

“The problem is…dudes…Millennial dudes sleep with women heartlessly. So-called casually. Caustically. …Or at least they did.” says Lacey.

They probably still do to some degree. And so at 38 Lacey instinctually prepared for that experience. …Not even knowing if almost any of it was real for certain in the first place.

“They’re the only men her age.” says Michael to Lem in irritation.

Lem was only trying to relate.

But Lem got his translation horribly wrong. And instead of communicating the seriousness of what he felt initially he told her to go to Hell like almost all Millennial men do when you sleep with them, according to Lacey. Well, Lacey and a lot of other millennial women claim that.

“I can’t believe I told her that!” Lem says feeling nauseous.

“You told her to go to Hell. Alone. And burn for eternity. While you went off to find a unicorn Barbie made of angels wings and moon drops from the Tooth-fairy. Not necessarily a woman actually more genuinely beautiful or arousing or rare. Objectively speaking. Even in the most harsh sense of objectivity. …But a lie. A false woman who is more grotesque and cartoonish than attractive. …Because that’s the message all Millennial men share with women. In bed. And they think it’s manly and funny and honest.” says Michael.

Lem thinks as he sits in a sailboat gliding speedily along on the sea. …The Seays may have been given lessons by Joe. They’re doing well enough.

“If I hadn’t have died and our eyes had met from across a crowded room in Manhattan I like to think I could have saved her.” says Michael.

“Why did you take down the sails, lay on your back on deck, stretch out your arms and legs, close your eyes and then open your mouth in the middle of the hurricane?” asks Joe.

Lem laughs at Joe’s humor.

“And become flummoxed and crazed with rage when I got wet and thrown repeatedly into the ocean and had to be rescued by God?” asks Lem.

“You do try to really work with your impression of things. There’s a certain bravery in that. But perhaps it’s dangerous too.” Lacey observes.

“More than most. I’m beyond…I’m more than desperately sorry.” Lem says.

“THANK YOU! Thank you for finally apologizing!” says Joe.

“This is sad.” says Louis.