William Fitzgerald Finds His Way

You are short and straight as a kitchen knife. You have been, at one time, keen and deadly, but these days you are comfortably dull, nicked with long use and experience.

So you mythologize yourself.

You paint a liar’s face in the mirror, hangdog honest as inveterate liars always are. You remember — it was a day like this, sunny and dry like they all are — when the scales washed away from your eyes and you found yourself standing on the weedy steps of your office, ankledeep in cigarette ends and fallen leaves, the key already in your hand and in the lock, with no clear memory of walking there or leaving the apartment.

You have always been home again.

The key still works. The stairs are just as you remember them, though perhaps just that much narrower. The late afternoon light is the color of weak beer pouring in through your windows. Even the picture of the angel over the safe is still just the same, the same ball of fire and eyes and wings against a windswept and overcast moor.

You sigh happily and settle into your chair, lungs full of the nearly-forgotten tang of charred coffee. There’s still a half-bottle of cheap Midwestern scotch in the bottom desk drawer. The weak-beer light reflects from chimneys, airducts, high-rise windows from downtown, the bright metal of the cars in the street. You spread your arms wide, in ownership. Your city. Yours.