I HAVE AN ETERNITY AHEAD OF ME
(Intermittent Waves Recorded from the Heart of a Transformed Woman)
AUNTIE YONNY: Alpha Male, A New Identity?
Hal followed Miriam into the dining room where they were quickly served with a wholesome and satisfying meal. Miriam asked Hal if he had slept well and inquired about the morning’s events and interview with her aunt. Reluctant to tell all, in fear of Miriam deciding that he was a threat to Tanya’s longevity, Hal decided to keep his conversation and responses short and general.
“You got up early this morning. I’m usually the first one in to see my aunt. Didn’t you sleep well or was there a particular reason why you were anxious to speak with her? Was there something you felt couldn’t wait?
Looking down at his coffee cup, Hal grabbed some cream, poured it into his coffee and began to swirl it around creating different patterns.
“No, matter of fact, I slept extremely well. So, soundly that it enabled me to be an early riser. So, I thought I’d make good use of the time.”
“Well, I thought I might have disturbed you and kept you up. I was up late last night. I had company.”
Miriam watched Hal carefully, trying to note his reactions and any change in body language or actions. Hal could feel her eyes upon him and continued to use his coffee as an artistic canvas while measuring his words carefully to respond.
“You could have driven wild horses or stampeded elephants through my room last night. I was completely out. Dead to the world! It was the first good sleep I’d had in a few days. Thank God!”
Realizing the lie he had just told and how he had even used God to validate his story, Hal felt a knot in the pit of his stomach. He wanted to excuse himself and go back to his room, but, Miriam was his boss, now. He thought about that. He had just lied to his boss.
He assessed his current feelings, which were weighing heavily upon his heart. It seemed that he was developing a new pattern of behavior, which included being evasive, covering up, and lying. Hal searched his soul. Had lying been easy for him before this? If so, had he been aware of it? Was he a hypocrite? He emphasized telling the truth when reporting and writing his column, but, did he have the same ethics when it came to his life? Was he as guilty as those people he accused of being dishonest?
Trying to hide his true emotions, Hal changed the subject.
“Oh! I met Arturo last night, when I came in! Boy, he’s a character, but a really nice guy! I mean, he’s got a very pleasant disposition and tries to be so helpful! He really seems to enjoy his job. Don’t you think so?”
Miriam looked away, uninterested and agreed halfheartedly.
“Yes. Tell me did you read the paper this morning?”
“Matter of fact, I did. Can you believe it, somebody hacked Steven Wong’s campaign computers! What a story! It’s all over the news! I wish I was in on the reporting!
But, I didn’t think that was still possible–you know–hacking. They must be using ancient software, computers, or something!”
Hal intentionally laughed and went back to nursing his cup of coffee.
“Did you and Auntie Yonny discuss it?”
“No, I thought about it, but, I didn’t bring it up. I had too many more pressing questions to ask her. And, I figured somebody would tell her, anyway.”
“More pressing questions?”
“Well, I mean, things concerning her past that we’ve been talking about and…well…considering her condition…you know…”
“Yes, I understand, she’s dying and you can’t waste time.”
Miriam seemed to be satisfied with his answer, but, Hal became increasingly more uncomfortable with his behavior and needed to think.
“This isn’t living, it’s…it’s…pretending and acting,” he thought to himself. “Am I becoming one of those people I loathe, who have a million excuses to defend their behavior and actions while they scrutinize and criticize the behavior and actions of others? IS there a justifiable reason for my present course of action or am I just rationalizing? Are my methods headed for a positive outcome or is it indeterminable? And will the outcome ultimately change me in a negative or positive way?”
Hal tried to shrug it off as being overly analytical and shifted his mind back to Miriam and the current problem at hand, wondering, “What is she up to?” He decided to ask.
“Miriam, what are your short-term and long-term plans for me?”
Miriam looked at him inquisitively for a moment.
“Well, if you’d like to get our foundation and media organization off the ground today, you can get in on the excitement and go over to Wong’s campaign headquarters and find out who they’re blaming for the hacking. Then, sometime today contact the Madhatter’s… oh, I sound like Auntie Yonny, I mean, Tex Tiledeler’s great granddaughter to set up a meeting.
I have a staffing agency working on getting you a secretary, photographer and an assistant, but until then, you’ll have to wing it alone. And long-term goals? Well, that’s up to you, Hal. Is this what you want? Can you run an empire? Is this who you are or want to become? Can you maintain your integrity and your identity?
I told you what we’re offering you. You have the opportunity to help mold the minds and change the lives of billions of people, ultimately, changing the world! Do you see yourself as an innovator and revolutionary, or, are you a writer who is all talk and no action?”
Staring into Miriam’s eyes, Hal knew this was no prepared speech. Perhaps there was a chance for him to make a real and substantially huge contribution to humanity, but, what would be the price he had to pay? Nothing was ever free, free of adversity or, inconsequential. He decided to take their candid conversation a little further.
“I’d like to try to make a difference Miriam, but, a lot depends on you being completely honest and open with me. I don’t like being used, thought of as a patsy, or in the dark about something I’m involved in and accountable for. I need to be in on decisions from the bottom up, including concerning hiring those people who will work for me or against me. I want to be in on any and all meetings concerning me and our projects, until I have adequate, trustworthy representatives.”
And from somewhere deep inside of him, Hal added…
“And that means ALL meetings, no matter how late they are.”
Miriam’s face drained of color and she stared blankly at Hal.
“So, you were listening in?”
“Yes, and now that you know my capabilities, I hope you’ll end this charade and reveal yours. Who was your visitor? What is the extent of danger that I am in and with whom?
Also, if I have bodyguards, I want to know who they are so that I don’t think they’re hostile, call the police on them, or worse yet, injure or kill one of them.”
“Oh, my, that thought never occurred to me!”
“Yes, I’m sure there are many things concerning my life that you never thought of or didn’t care about, Miriam.”
“Wait Hal, that’s not true. I just needed to take precautions…”
“Precautions?! And MY life doesn’t figure into your precautions?!”
“No, Hal…I mean, OF COURSE, HAL!”
“Then, tell me about these precautions and EVERYTHING ELSE that took precedence over MY life!”
“J-j-just calm down, Hal. Let’s go someplace more private and…and…I will.”
Hal didn’t like having to talk to Miriam so forcefully and bluntly, but, he knew that these people lived by a different code of ethics, where their needs, desires, self-interests and self-preservation came first. If he was going to have a chance at surviving this game, he had to become the alpha-male calling the shots and making the rules. But, as Miriam had put it, could he maintain his integrity and identity? Could he intermingle within this political jungle, without becoming intertwined? He wasn’t sure.
He needed something or someone to keep him focused and balanced. Rachel…Rachel, how was she doing? Did she miss him? There was no one he trusted more than Rachel. But, could he involve her without endangering her life or jeopardizing her career? Again, he was without certainty. Nothing seemed certain anymore, except that there was no place else he would rather be at this very moment, than, with Rachel, holding her in his arms.