I knew Cabral by contrast. He was as powerful as my own father had been weak. In his presence, I felt ten years old again. I wanted to please him. I wanted to be like him. All my orphan needs were exposed, when I was with him.
There were two dangers. I might let such a man become the lodestone of my life and live in his shadow as Ed Wilkes appeared to do. Or I might find myself opposing him even when I agreed with him, to keep my separateness alive. Like Raven did.
Already, I understood her better.
I closed my eyes and leaned back to absorb the dappled sunlight coming through the tree overhead. On April thirteenth, Raven had fallen into my life. Now it was two days until July. For two and one half months, present or absent, she had been the focus of my life. The overpowering, erotic focus of my life. But she was not the entirety of my life. I had lived without her for two weeks now, and I was nearly my complete and normal self again.
My life was in need of review. At some deep level, I had been worrying at that, not for weeks, but for months.
The closest thing to a career I had had was when I worked for Joe Dias. There were things I had liked about the job – the excitement, the touch of danger, the intellectual challenge of finding clues to unravel a puzzle. I had not like the people I had to deal with. And finally, the day to day routine had been deadly dull.
I had liked college. The people you met were interesting; most were young and alive to possibilities. And they were, for the most part, not likely to shove a knife in your ribs when your back was turned. I had liked the work, the intellectual stimulation of chasing down clues in old record to see what had really happened, say, in the administration of Andrew Jackson. But the day to day routine meant long hours lethargically reading through dusty records. It, too, was deadly dull.
I had chosen the foreign service. To make a difference in the world. That’s what I told myself, but I was not so good at self deception. A semi-orphan from small town Wisconsin, deserted by an alcoholic father, a high school dropout who had clawed his way through college and graduate school – I knew what I was looking for. I was looking for respectability, and I was out to show the world that I was important.
I wanted to help Raven. I would help Raven. That was a given.
But after that? Would the foreign service give me the chance I needed to prove myself, or would I become another petty bureaucrat. Or quit, because it was so deadly dull that I could not endure it. more tomorrow