Reveille

by Domenika Marzione


"You okay?"

The voice breaks the quietude of the roof, carrying easily over the noise that cannons up from the streets below. It's rush hour and the traffic on the West Side Highway is backed up northbound, as it always is at this time of day, and drivers with one foot on the brakes and one hand on their horns are making their presence known. Silence is impossible in this city; the best you can hope for is a thoughtful hum.

I'm watching the sunset, the pinks and purples melting into the horizon over New Jersey as they are chased by the navy encroaching from the east and the last rays of sun shooting fiery orange bolts through the darkening sky. Midnight blue isn't here; or rather it's a lighter shade than it is elsewhere. New York is like that - unique in all things.

"Hmm?" I ask without turning around. I know who it is - even with all of the new voices and footsteps throughout the mansion the past few days, I could tell that it was Jack before the gentle South Carolina bend to his words gave it away. The footfalls were enough.

The roof is gritty, dust and dirt and sand and all of the other particulate matter that floats through the air in Manhattan settling onto the old tar. You can't walk silently up here; Wes used to joke that he didn't even need his hearing aid turned up to know I was coming. I'd heard a man's footsteps over the muted horns and brakes; too casual to be Hector's, too quick to be Al's (not that Al would be up here looking for me; not sure what sort of bug is up his bonnet), Alan's would have been more stately, Ted's would have been lighter, and Jay would have been standing next to me before I'd even heard enough to register it.

"You've been all Greta Garbo since you got back from Tylerco," Jack says casually as he stops next to me. "Ty's not around and I don't think he'd be spilling your beans anyway, so... wassup? Bad news?"

"Apart from the 'Congratulations, you're still a sand-monster' part?" I ask, sounding a little more bitter than I'd like. "Sorry. Shouldn't take my frustration out on you."

A sheepish chuckle. "'S alright," he says. "You really haven't had a chance to let that sink in. And once it does..."

I look over at him finally and he's looking out at the fading sunset, his expression wistful. I remember hearing about him becoming Starman; news about the 'old gang' usually travels relatively quickly, but the events in Opal City made the national news that time. I didn't get all of the details until later on, but when I did I got all of them; Dian used to say that Wes was not only blessed with a detective's skills, but he was also cursed with an old biddy's tongue. He was a gossip and I was mouthy and together we could be a blight, especially upon Dian. But that's how I knew about Jack's history as the reluctant hero, among other things, and why I knew that the frown had nothing to do with the bleating of horns on Riverside Drive below.

"'Just when I thought I was out, they pull me right back in again'," he mimics, doing a credible Pacino imitation. I own the Godfather trilogy on DVD; Pacino in general has been a revelation to me. Method acting has an entirely new appeal when you're carrying around a secret identity. "It's great coming out of the mouth of Don Corleone Junior, but it pretty much sucks when it's your own legacy coming up to bite you in the ass."

I chuff out a laugh and he smiles.

"The doctors didn't have anything to add, really," I say after we've fallen into a companionable silence watching the rest of the sunset. The reds and pinks are now a rainbow of blues and purples except for one thin band of brilliant orange just at the horizon line. "Took some blood - at least I hope it's blood that's in my veins - and some x-rays and an MRI and whatever else they could do before I started to glow in the dark. It'll take a few days to process all that stuff; I'm going back out on Tuesday."

He nods. "How 'bout everything else?"

I sigh heavily. Everything else. Losing Wes. Finding out that I've inherited his dreams as well as his estate. "I guess it's been a blessing that I haven't had too much time to think about it all."

"Know that part," Jack agrees wryly. "But grief's no easier to outrun than the rest of it. It's been a helluva week for you..." he trails off into a shudder that I know has very little to do with me. "I was scared of the phone ringing late at night for days after it was all over. Even before the weird stuff started to find me..."

"Weird stuff found me first," I say, closing my eyes at the memory of facing the King of Dreams as Wes turned to sand in my hands. "Then I got the phone call."

We fall quiet again and I jump a little when I feel Jack's hand on my shoulder, but I relax and he squeezes gently.

"I'd wondered why he'd gone off with Speed instead of me; I'd thought it had been because I'd try to stop him... I was so angry with him. That after all these years he couldn't tell me what was going on. But I guess it had to be that way. For my sake and Fate's and..." I trail off, trying to formulate vague thoughts into words that make any sort of sense. "I guess I'd expected that he'd go like Dian had - slowly. That we'd have time to say goodbye and talk about all of the things that we'd never talked about, the things that were so much a part of us and we just never found the will to find the words... And here I am and everything's different and he's not here to explain it all." I finish with a choked sigh and Jack squeezes my shoulder again and it's all I can do not to lean into him, to just be weak. The tears are falling hard now, blurring the last vestiges of dusk as it gives way into night. "Sorry," I murmur, not wanting to make Jack uncomfortable.

"If I was afraid of something like this happening, I would have hid downstairs same as everyone else," he scoffs. "But I suppose I should have put more thought into my forethought and brought Kleenex."

He's talking more to ease the tension than anything else and I smile through my tears in appreciation of the effort. It's unexpected, this consideration. I'd always been led to believe that Jack was the master of blithely ignoring those around him. Not maliciously, just not looking to shoulder any more burdens than he had to. Not your typical hero-type. When Wes and Dian had filled me in on the events of their having worked with Jack, I'd asked what they had thought of him. Dian had called him reluctantly determined. Wes had said that he was scared of finding out how much like his father he really was. Now having met the man himself, I can see how they were both right, but at the same time both leaving out something else.

"I've got a handkerchief," I tell him. Yet another holdover from another era, like how I still feel strange going out without a hat - one of my Walking Relic moments. I dig it out of my pants pocket and wipe my eyes before blowing my nose. Sixty years ago, my father taught me how fold up a used handkerchief and it's now an automatic motion as I tuck it back into my pocket. I try not to dwell on my parents, especially with Dian and now Wes gone as well. I don't like the loneliness that inevitably follows.

"I'd always wondered how to do that," Jack murmurs, smiling crookedly at the change in topic. His hand falls from my shoulder and I immediately miss the warmth. "It's a habit I don't think I'll ever pick up."

"You were born with a fear of germs," I tell him, choosing to go with the flow rather than delve deeper into my own grief. "I'm from before germs. Before cholesterol, too."

He barks out a laugh; my humor was unexpected. I smile, too.

"First time I met Wes after I became Starman," he begins, pausing over the last two words, "I had just almost started to get kindamaybe comfortable with what I was doing and then I got knocked on my ass by... I was still reeling from that, and from having so utterly screwed up protecting Opal City, and then I had to come to New York to find the Sandman... I'd have rather shown up after I'd actually won, ya know, and not after Opal's been on the national news burning like a wildfire. And I made an idiot of myself in front of Dian, who was only my hero, and Wes looks me over and I can just see in his eyes that he's wondering why my dad lets me out of the house with a cosmic rod. Auspicious it was not. But I have to tell you, they were remarkably cool folks once I stopped tripping over myself."

"They were," I agree. I know that little monologue wasn't easy and I appreciate it. "Wes was... Everything. Even before I knew he was the Sandman, I admired him. He... It must have been such a strange thing, taking a boy into his home like that. Into his life. But he did it and he was so good to me. Being his sidekick was like a fairy tale come true. And Dian was there for all of it... What a funny little family we were."

The tears start again, even as I'm smiling still. Sunday dinners where we talked of nothing but cases fictional and real, someone bringing up a mystery and the others trying to solve it first. It was a tradition we carried on until the end, even when I no longer lived with them, even when it meant bringing our plates on trays into Dian's sickroom.

"He taught me so much," I go on, knowing that if I stop talking I'll start sobbing. "He never told me that I was too young to learn something. Of course, that may have been because he knew I wouldn't listen. God, I had such a big head then. And it was all because I was Sandy the Golden Boy, the Sandman's sidekick, and nothing could touch me... Even after the accident, he still..." But I trail off, unable to go on. I feel embarrassed, standing there and weeping, wiping my eyes furiously with my hands and not looking at Jack, who puts his hand back on my shoulder and rubs my back gently.

"Gotta tell you, Sand," Jack says quietly, "It's a good man who can let something like that not stand between you. A good kid, jeez..."

"Only on the outside," I tell him. The crying has made my voice low and rough and I know my eyes, now closed, are bloodshot.

The hand on my back is still doing slow circles between my shoulder blades. "Well, you started out a kid," he points out and I don't shrug agreement because I don't want his hand to go away.

I thrill to the warmth of skin, even clothed, even having nothing to do with anything intimate. It's a legacy of my time isolated as Sandy the Silicon Monster, I guess, although it could just as easily be simply me being so very human as to crave contact. Dian would let me hug her. Wes would endure it, muttering about me developing strange quirks in my old age. I have no one to hold now, even casually, and my acclimation to modern times has not gone so far as to shed the moral standards I was raised by. Not much like Jack, if stories around the 'old guard' are to be believed. And I believe them.

Night has come in full force and we are illuminated only by moonlight. The West Side Highway is a stream of red lights and white ones and in the distance the indistinct Jersey shoreline has become dotted with the lights of the docks, or whatever is over there. I breathe deeply, collecting myself, and Jack's hand stills but does not disappear. Instead it slides up to rest on the back of my neck, fingers curling naturally on to the side and it would take the gentlest of tugs to pull me toward him. But I stamp ruthlessly on my neediness because what would I do if he did?

"Y'ever see 'The Big Sleep'?" Jack asks me, as if we had been talking about baseball instead of him watching me cry my heart out.

"Only about five times," I tell him. "Twice in the theatre when it came out."

At this close distance, literally less than an arm's length apart, I have to look up slightly to see his face. Jack's only got an inch on me, maybe two, but my head is bowed and I feel his hand on my neck pull back that millimeter to let my head turn. Not falling away, not leaving me alone.

"Lucky dog," he mutters jealously and I can't help but smile.

"Why?"

"Just thinking." A shrug I can feel as much as see. "Something to take your mind off... I don't know. I don't even know if you want to take your mind off..." He looks suddenly unsure of himself, like he just realized where he was and what he was doing.

"Kim's," I say before he can pull his hand away in embarrassment. "Broadway between 113th and 114th."

"Huh?" He tilts his head curiously. He takes back his hand, but it's to push the errant lock of hair out of his face. The spot on my neck where it was feels cold.

"If you want to rent 'The Big Sleep', that's where you have to go," I explain, standing up straight and rolling my stiff shoulders back to loosen them. "The Blockbuster on 104th never has anything good; I only go there for trash. Even then, the good trash is still at Kim's. Blockbuster doesn't even have the biopic of Ed Wood, let alone any of his movies."

I say nothing more because I think I sound desperate, needy. But instead I am rewarded with a brilliant smile, the first one not tinged with pity or wistfulness or anything but being what it is.

"Oh, really?" he asks, clearly interested. "Well, then. Y'up for a movie?"

***

It turns out to be a double feature - 'The Big Sleep' and 'Godzilla versus Mothra'. It is the middle of the week and the Columbia students are busy with their books and not renting movies, so we had what to choose from. Once we had decided on picking up a second movie, Jack was determined to find something fun. Which is why he wouldn't let me rent 'Dumbo' - it made him cry, he admitted with a wry frown, taking it from my hand and putting it back on the shelf and directing my attention away from where 'Bambi' stood. I challenged him to find a movie with animals that didn't have a waterworks scene in it and, after debating the amount of pity one could feel for King Kong, we ended up with what we ended up with.

Ted and Dinah are mulling over takeout menus when we return; everyone else is either out or at home. I warn them away from the Mexican places and we end up with Chinese. Jack waved the movie boxes in front of them, but there were no takers - Dinah had monitor duty and Ted had... plans. Whether they were actual plans or just plans to acquire some, I couldn't tell.

The demolition and construction of the proper JSA headquarters is scheduled for next week, so for the time being the only places to watch the movies are the monitor room and my suite. Wes and Dian being of a certain era (i.e., the one before mine), there had never been a television in the public drawing room and, until the reconstruction, those who are staying here are doing so in guest bedrooms that have no such amenities. There is an entertainment room in what was Wes's living area, but Jack doesn't even let me get as far as having to suggest it. And I'm grateful. Going through his papers was hard enough; I haven't had the strength to attempt his personal effects.

My apartment is on the third floor, 'apartment' being the proper word for it. A bedroom, a living room, a bathroom, and a kitchenette that has never been really used. I had groused rather indignantly when I had first seen the suite of rooms - Wes and Dian had decided on them in order to 'give me a little privacy' when I was visiting them. (Translation: so I could bring a girl home.) I had my little house upstate by that point, so the idea of coming to visit them and then not spending time with them seemed wrong. So, until last week, the only items in the little fridge were bottles of tap water and a bag of Hershey's miniatures because what's the fun of staying with the Sandman if you do your midnight snacking alone?

Jack's been in here before, but he walks around the living room like he hasn't - or at least like he wasn't paying much attention the first time. His interest is unsurprising. I don't have many personal effects here; what little I've acquired in my post-monstrosity decade is upstate and what's left for here is mostly that which belonged to Sandy the Golden Boy. And the possessions of a 1940's teenager are of exquisite interest to Jack.

"These are all first editions?" He asks in awe, the tips of long fingers ghosting over the spines of the books on the shelf.

"Most, I guess." I stop fiddling with the VCR and walk over to where he is standing. "I was just starting to get books as they came out when..." I trail off and wave my hand vaguely. I've come to terms with the silicoid gun accident, but it's still awkward to speak of it aloud. Mostly because I end up getting the sort of looks that Jack gives me now and I really hate that part-pity, part-lamenting expression, even if Jack's not giving me a real heavy version of it. "Wes used to bring me new ones sometimes; I don't know where those are. These are the fruits of my hard-earned allowance, though."

I pluck one out and smile. "I must've read this one a half-dozen times," I say and hand the copy of _All the King's Men_ to Jack, who accepts it almost reverentially. His expression is charming in its awe. I should show him my record collection. An old 45 of 'Tenderly' should be at the top of the covered box next to the turntable. Wes was generous like that, the way he was with all things. I had my own turntable, however, because he wasn't a big fan of popular music, even back then. Dian was, so the two of us would listen in my room while Wes made a show of putting up a big fuss somewhere else in the house.

Jack opens the book carefully, mindful in the way that collectors always are, and he looks for all the world like all he wants to do is sniff it. I can't completely swallow my chuckle and he looks at me, one part sheepish and two parts 'how dare you mock my appreciation' and all parts good-humored. Amused blue eyes glint brightly in the reflection of the desktop halogen lamp perched on a shelf that serves to illuminate this corner of the room. An interesting blue, Jack's eyes. Darker than most, not quite indigo but much closer to it than to my own daylight blue.

"Is it weird?" He asks, brow furrowed in curiosity and his head tilts thoughtfully as if he's never considered the question before. "Here I am, wallowing like Hefner at a beauty school graduation, and you..."

I smile, lest he think he's actually upset me. He's done just the opposite and I tell him so. I am feeling worlds better than when he found me up on the roof. "I have a love-hate relationship with the past," I explain with a shrug. I reach for another book. "I'll admit I'm still more comfortable then than now and sometimes it's a little frustrating because every time I think I'm finally getting used to now, something'll happen and I'll feel so lost..." I trail off, frowning at myself at having said those things aloud.

"It was simpler back then?" Jack asks, giving me the sort of wry smile that I take to mean that that's what his elders have always been telling him. What his father's been telling him about being Starman, no doubt. Jack, too, has a love-hate relationship with the past - he's fascinated with the history of popular culture; his love of material goods is not simple acquisitiveness, but instead a way of making the past tangible. And yet the past weighs on him in the form of the Starman legacy, a burden so great I don't imagine he likes to think about it too much but can't avoid.

"It wasn't simpler back then," I tell him with renewed humor, even as my answer is honest. "It was just that we understood more. We knew the rules and we don't anymore. We're not at the center of the action now. We've gotten old and slow and things pass us by when they didn't used to do so."

"'We're old,' says the man-child who can't grow facial hair," Jack retorts, realizing that I'm being silly. And I am, at least about the old and slow part. Well, the slow, at any rate.

"I can," I tell him, a little more defensively than I want to. Seventy years old and I don't have to shave with any kind of regularity. Ted's been giving me grief about it every morning. "I'm blond. It's just hard to see."

He snorts as he puts the book carefully back on the shelf, taking the one from my hands and looking at the front cover. "Sure," he agrees mildly, losing the battle to keep the corner of his mouth from curling into a smile. "Like I wasn't falling all over myself with pride when I could finally grow a soul patch."

The book he has taken from me is Camus's _L'Etranger_ and it's a first edition. It was Dian's, but she had lent it to me, insisting I read it because it was going to be a classic; it hadn't come out in English yet and I had had to struggle through it in French, missing half of the nuances at least. My French is better now, but when I reread it the other year, I did so in English.

"Pick on me and I won't show you the other stuff I have here," I warn and suddenly Jack is beaming at me with choirboy beatitude. I can't help but laugh and I realize that it's the first time I've done so in more than a week.

I think Jack realizes it, too, because he gives me a smile that I might almost call relieved before putting the Camus back on the shelf. "C'mon, let's watch the movies," he says, gesturing with his head toward the television.

"Don't want to see the rest?" I ask, a little surprised.

"'Nother night," he replies with a sly smile. "You're not getting rid of me that easily. But we've got the movies to watch and you know we aren't getting another night this week to get a double feature in. Forces of evil just aren't that cooperative."

Can't argue the logic, so I go back to the VCR. "Which one first?"

"Surprise me," Jack says, still lingering by the bookcase, head tilted so that he can see the titles. I grab one of the boxes - they're identical and I don't check to see which one it is - and deposit its contents into the machine. It starts to play automatically and as I stand up I can see Jack reaching for the lamp to turn it off. The chandelier's switch is by the door and I go to flip it as Jack sits down, gracefully but bonelessly, on the loveseat. I don't have a couch, just the loveseat and a Princess Anne chair, and, despite my desire to do otherwise, I'm going to sit in the latter when Jack makes a noise of disapproval.

"I don't have cooties," he tells me with a frown, his face illuminated by the green screen of the FBI warning.

Half-sitting, I push myself back up with my arms and cross in front of Jack to sit on the other side of the loveseat. It's a comfortable fit, not too close to be awkward, and Jack nods once in satisfaction. I hand him the remote control and he guns the fast-forward button past the warnings and previews and advertisements for new video releases.

It's striking me how odd this is - sitting around and just doing nothing of import with someone it's too early to even call a friend. Jack and I have known each other for a little more than a week, even if we had known about each other for considerably longer. And most of that time had been spent outracing Mordru and rescuing the baby who would be Hector. Jack and I hadn't had much time to talk at all and yet here we were, sitting around for a black and white double feature.

When the opening credits begin - it is indeed 'The Big Sleep' - he puts the remote down and leans back and looks at me. I feel a little embarrassed to have been caught watching him, but Jack just smiles and turns back to where the orchestra is just beginning to play.

***

We sit in silence, watching Bogey do his thing, unsure about how the other would take any attempts at conversation - some people just like to watch movies in quiet. But while we both love 'The Big Sleep', we've also both seen it a handful of times, so when Marlowe goes to Geiger's house and you can see the mailbox numbers, we both almost simultaneously point out the continuity error that will happen later on, when Marlowe gives Bernie a different address for the same house. After that, the seal is broken and we feel free to comment. Jack asks me a few questions about period authenticity and I answer them as best as I am able - I was still a kid then - and I try to remember what had the strongest impression the first time I saw it.

Even though there are only the two of us in the room, each time we have something to say, we lean over toward the other and speak in quiet tones. By the end of the movie, we are practically touching at the shoulder after a half-dozen times of not leaning all the way back after cracking wise. When the credits finish rolling and the screen has turned black, I feel the loss of warmth as Jack finally sits up to hit 'stop' on the remote and I ruefully remind myself not to try to curl up against him when he leans back with a sigh so satisfied-sounding that I can't help but chuckle.

"Leave me alone," Jack chides me with a relaxed smile. "I'm basking."

His eyes are closed as he revels in this little moment of contentedness and I feel at liberty to watch him closely. In the dim light of the television, the shadows are deep across his face. Jack's enthusiasm for pop culture is boyish and it makes him seem younger than he is, but as close as I am,  I can see the wear around his eyes. And I can't help but frown - both at the marring of his aspect and at my own self-absorbment that has kept me from seeing it sooner. For it is not new, this tiredness. He'd been back from space for only a couple of days by the time of Wes's funeral and we've been going pretty much nonstop since then. And in between, Jack's been booking it home to Opal City because things are heating up there as well.

There's the difference between us, though I'm loath to point it out. I'm supposed to be the super-dedicated one, putting my money where my mouth is, accepting the responsibility and the bounty that is part of the hero life I've been part of since I was a child. Jack's supposed to be the dilettante, the accidental hero. And he's the one fighting off exhaustion to watch a movie and I'm the one who has spent the afternoon wallowing in self-pity. Regardless of how things are supposed to be, I'm still figuring out who and what I am, but Jack has a role and has his place in life. He may act like he's still Prince Hal, but he's put Falstaff aside and he knows it even if he never says a word. He's Starman. He's got a city to defend, obligations. He's got so much more than the JSA counting on him and he's still here.

The VCR makes a rude noise as it finishes rewinding the movie and I shift my gaze away from Jack's face before his eyes open. At least I hope I do. I don't want to get caught staring; one of us would be uncomfortable. Probably me.

"What say we raid the fridge between features?" Jack suggests, slapping his knees and groaning softly as he sits up. If he knew I had been watching him, he gives no indication. His expression is playful, not smug or curious or disturbed. "You know what they say about Chinese food..."

"I've never understood that one," I admit as I follow him in standing up. "I mean, I get it, but... the Chinese in China don't have to eat every half hour because they're hungry again."

"They also probably don't eat moo shu pork and eggrolls," Jack replies, giving me the look I've already established is the 'You're Being too Serious' expression.

Years ago, once I'd worked off the worst of my suspended-animation rust and convinced folks that I wasn't going to fall prey to any more supervillains looking for a lackey, it had been my idea to travel around Asia. Wes certainly hadn't objected, but contrary to popular belief, it had been my idea. I'd always been fascinated by the exoticness of the cultures there, even though my only exposure had been filtered through the prism of Wes's guidance and knowledge. Martial training, philosophy, cuisine, art, and a different set of social mores that was far different than either the New York socialite scene that little Sandy Hawkins peered down upon from staircases to the nursery or the seamy underside that Sandy the Golden Boy joined in battle against.

As Wes had before me, I went willingly into the thrall of the Orient. I learned languages and cultures, how to make a good tuna roll and how to identify the dynasty of a screen painting, how to find peace through meditation and how to find pleasure in...

"C'mon. Courtney probably left some Cherry Garcia in the fridge," Jack prompts, realizing that my attention had gone elsewhere for the moment. I flush slightly, thankful for the darkness of the room, and catch up to where he is waiting by the open door.

It's not Cherry Garcia but instead Phish Food that Courtney has left behind and I get to glare balefully at Jack as he starts to explain the reference. I may not like Phish - too mellow for my tastes - but I know who they are. He giggles - giggles - at my indignance and is still doing so when Dinah wanders in.

"Don't laugh at Sand," she tells Jack as she comes into the kitchen. She immediately goes to the drawer with the silverware and retrieves a spoon.

Between the three of us, we finish off the ice cream in record time. Dinah goes back to the monitor - she had just smiled around her spoon when I had asked her who was covering while she was in the kitchen and said "the Oracle knows all" when I stared at her long enough for her to withdraw the spoon - and Jack and I were left in companionable silence. The newspaper in on the table and its open to the sports page from when Ted was reading it. Jack's not a sports fan, it turns out, and it's not hockey season yet, so the back pages are covered in news of the Yankees and the football teams. I used to be quite a fan - my father used to take me to the Polo Grounds on warm weekends - but I haven't gotten back into baseball since I woke up a decade ago to find the Giants in California.

Jack finishes his glass of water and stands up, clapping his hands together and rubbing them in anticipation.

"So, you ready to root for Mothra?"

We head back upstairs and this time both return to the couch without any awkwardness. Jack changes the tapes and sits back on the couch with a heavy sigh and I'm about to suggest that maybe we should postpone the movie if he's tired. But then the first strains of the canned music begin and he looks at me with what is suspiciously like a beatific grin that goes straight up to his eyes and I lean back and enjoy the movie and try not to feel embarrassed that I'm content. Because part of me says that I shouldn't be. That I should instead be mourning or something more respectful than watching Godzilla take on Mothra considering that the man I considered to be as a father to me died only days ago. But I simply haven't had time - there was the fiasco the Scarab sent us out into, there was the refounding of the JSA, there was me turning into a puddle of sand and then showing up naked on a beach in California, there have been prophetic nightmares and tests and building contracts and villains and more tests and making contact with the JLA and by the time I had time, the immediacy had passed and I found myself in an entirely different place (in every sense of the word) than I had been when I had gotten that phone call from Speed confirming what I had already known.

And so I am left with the all-encompassing loss and just this vague gnawing that I should be handling this differently. And with Jack, who is spending precious energy on trying to be a friend to me when he is under no obligation to do so. And Godzilla taking on Mothra near downtown Tokyo.

All of this is different, all of this is new. But the options are to change with the times or be buried by them and I've had quite enough of the latter. So I sit back and focus on the movie and try not to think of what I have lost, because I've had quite enough of that, too.

"This is my favorite part," Jack says, gesturing at the screen with a lazy outstretched hand and leaning his head on the back of the loveseat in preparation for mass urban destruction. "'Yesterday only a bug. Today eat Tokyo!'"

We're both louder and quieter than during the first movie - it's not like you'll miss key dialogue by talking during a Godzilla flick, but we're both starting to feel the weight of the week upon our shoulders and our attempts at witty banter come further apart until we just watch in silence but for the occasional giggle or guffaw.

Jack and I are both asleep before Godzilla wanders off into the deep of the sea.

 

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