The most beautifully written Inman I have read (so far). I need some recovery time before writing my thoughts...as right now I am speechless (and drowning in tears).
He pulled open the left-hand drawer beside the sink and stared at the loaded revolver that had been lying there for three months now, half-ass hidden beneath a stack of washcloths. Gordon stared at the gun for about twenty seconds, then he sucked in a long, shuddering breath and slammed the drawer closed. Not today, he thought.
Just as he did every morning.
Gordon is an ass and a slut...but man...he may just break my heart.
Even here, where the people were barely surviving on a day-to-day basis, there was a caste system. The dregs of the population, Gordon had quickly come to realize, have their elite tier and their bottom rung, just like decent people. The downtrodden masses are comprised of both the kind and the cruel, the givers and the takers, the good and the bad. And yes, even here, in the anus of civilization, the saints were at the mercy of the shitheels. Just as they were everywhere else.
“You need a haircut. You look like a hippie.”
Gordon chuckled. “Sorry, Mother, but the last of the hippies are now sitting in nursing homes sipping Metamucil and praying for a decent dump and an LSD flashback to brighten their day.”
Death was always there—waiting. Just waiting. To jerk you out of existence or to ruin the existence you had. If not your death, then someone else’s. Someone close to you. Or maybe a total stranger.
“I know you,” Gordon said as the young man in the oversized trench coat and the ragged tennis shoes with the longish blond hair straggling over his coat collar stared sadly back. “You’re the guy from the soup kitchen. The guy those three jerks were picking on. They called you Squirt.”
The tiniest smile twisted Squirt’s mouth. A tear slid into the corner of it, and Gordon watched in fascination as Squirt licked it away. “You fed me,” he said. “You treated me like I was real.”
Gordon was confused by the words. He thought perhaps he had misunderstood. Before he could think of a reply, Squirt spoke again.
"Are you?” he asked.
Gordon was more confused than ever. “Am I what?”
Oh my heart.
“Maybe I did find God,” Gordon said. “Or the next best thing.”
Mama Davis tilted her head, her own eyes misting up now. "What’s the next best thing to God, honey? Tell me. I wanna know.”
"A friend,” Gordon said. “The next best thing to God is a friend.”
“Ain’t love grand, honey? Ain’t it just grander than shit?”
And all the time they laughed, Squirt clung to Gordon’s thumb, just like one of those party balloons, afraid to drift away, afraid to catch the currents and rise higher and higher until he disappeared in the distance where he would never see Gordon again.
Oh my. ❤️❤️
“Good-bye,” Gordon whispered. And turning from that tiny patch of pale grass on the hillside where his soul was also buried, Gordon headed back to his car on wobbly legs.
I don't believe there are enough kleenex in my possession for this book.