Finding Becky

Becky once said — or so I’ve been told — that my scars are a sign of my achievements. That was such a cutting thing to say.

You see: the barkeep in this little, lakeside village tells me that he serves the best drinks this side of the water. My landlady tells me that I’ll find no better room in the village, nor no better landlady — that comes, of course, at a price. The muleteer has the hardest working mules, the pie-maker the richest gravy, the puffiest crust. They want something, all of them. There is an uncontrolled need in them, a hunger, a greed.

You see: these people are like my scars. They remind me of a past I’m glad to have outgrown, of my “achievements”, which are only the outcomes of a dubious, immature intent.

And so instead of looking for my sister I drink cheap wine and remember what I once was — I imagine what I want to be. What would Becky think if I went searching for her at her doorstep? Would she talk to me? Should I leave her to find me instead? I remind myself that I am capable of acting, and sometimes we need to act even though the consequences are unclear.

Her family home is empty. Someone sits at the pier’s end, cigarette in hand, facing out towards the water. I don’t recognise her, but it’s been so long.

I haven’t come to prove anything. I hope she no longer wants me dead.

Becky doesn’t turn as I walk up behind her, but surely she can hear me. I say, through my mask, “Becky?”

4 thoughts on “Finding Becky”

  1. This is the story of a broken man returning to see a lost companion. He sits in a bar considering his past mistakes (although others see them as achievements) and life. Eventually he decides to go visit his friend.

    I’m going to miss Gabriel I think. Love this ending to the series and the closure of the first story. Enjoyed the interpretation of Vainglory.

    A few issues for me: ‘That was such a cutting thing to say.’ the cutting in association with the scars (which Becky cut into him) is too much the pun,not sure if you intended it but it jarred me.

    ‘nor no better landlady’: seems to be double negative to me which would have been okay if it was a literal landlady quote but worried me.

    Also like the symmetry of him wondering if she still wants to kill him, just as she wonders if he has come to kill her.

    1. Thanks. I’m glad you liked the whole story arc. Was fun to write! The pun thing was intentional, and perhaps a bit too OTT. Oh well. Will be interesting to see what others think.

  2. Ah, I do not like Gabriel! Was he always going to be this petulant or is it his bad luck that his reunion with Becky hit the Vainglorious theme?

    Given the grandeur and the mysticism of all the stories about him, I was hoping he would be less pedestrian, less moany and unsure of himself. I find myself disliking him but also wanting to tell Becky he’s not worth fleeing from, agonising about.

    If this is what you intended, well done, but it undercuts my enjoyment of the myth!

    I found the “these people are like my scars” metaphor unconvincing. It touched the theme but I did not feel it made a lot of sense in terms of what the scars mean. Maybe I am missing the point!

    I did like the “That was such a cutting thing to say” I thought is was appropriately sarcastic and worked for the character!

    1. Petulant! Oh noes! That was really not what I was going for. Oh well. Am glad that the “cutting thing to say” bit worked for you, though. I did always imagine that the stories about Gabriel painted him, in a way, bigger than he was — but only because they also leave out his pedestrian parts. I personally picture him as being all those things: what he is in this story, and the person that people speak about in the other stories.

      I wonder if we’ll ever find out exactly what a Pariah is, though.

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