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Songs of Bliss


racing. He touches Helen?s arm and feels little tremors running through her bones. Goose
bumps.
"You see what I have to deal with. It?s always the same, but this time I?ll take
enough money, take enough of everything."
He rests his head in his hands. He is shaking. Now that the muscle-man has left the
building, now that the threat is gone, he is in a state of shock. Adrenalin pumps through his
system. The girl puts her right hand on his shoulder. He shivers.
"I am tired of being alone", he whispers.
She stands, pulling the hand towel from her damp hair and shaking it loose. She lets
the bath towel drop. "You don't have to do it on your own. I'm here now."
He looks up and lets out a long, slow breath. "I must take a shower. For you."
Helen takes his left hand in hers and pulls him up from the bed. She leads him out
of the cell and towards the bathroom.
"I'll scrub your back", she whispers.
Music By The Angels
Monday rolls into darkness and Tuesday dawns. Billy and Bex enjoy the smallness
of domesticity, breaking the back of a confusing, sometimes threatening world by carving
life up into manageable chunks. The bonds between them have remained strong in spite of
Billy's frequent and sometimes prolonged absences. The ir separation is legal. It is
understood.
Between household cho res, unpacking the shopping, brewing tea and the constant
cycle of preparing food and stacking the dishwasher, they discuss the future. For Billy these
are poignant moments. He is on the downward slope, aware that his time is growing short.
He has no desire to do great things and the lure of bright lights is less compelling than once
it was, although he cannot imagine life without a faint echo of music and sing-a-long girls.
Fatherhood and divorce changed him. He grew up. He had to. He indulges his passions
lightly now rather than burning himself at the stake, making a living doing something he
loves. Billy has learned to be grateful.
Billy finds it strange that Bex is the one who, despite her common sense and
grounding, seems, on occasion to be fearful. Sometimes he feels as though he ought to
become maudlin, regretting the passing of time and the rising call of the pine box, but he
has no fear of death. He has done things, many of them the wrong things, but he sees little
point in regret. Bex, on the other hand, carries hope and fear in her hands, balancing them
constantly. She has so much to do and she is in such a hurry.
They discuss school and university. Bex describes how her teachers fall into one of
two categories; the ones who have come to resemble their books, hidebound, stiff of spine
and congenitally dusty; and those who's pages get dog eared and torn as they try to remain
part of the ever-changing youth culture that surrounds them. Most of the boys at her school
are laughable, full of seventeen- year-old menace and spots, with legs and arms that they
 
 
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