• Vol. 01
  • Chapter 06
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Deification blues

It had occurred to him the week before last that his demand – no, his desire; no, his expectation – that he be idolised was getting nowhere, in a manner that particularly and cruelly mocked him, the whisper ‘no one will worship you’ drifting away into the scheming blue, while he remained steadfastly earthbound, and no closer to deification.

What made it worse was the fact that it wasn’t the sort of ambition you could discuss with anyone; it certainly wasn’t something you could bring up on a second date – the last time he’d tried that, the rattle of ice in the empty glass had, to his ears, sounded like a crack appearing in the previously unyielding land outside.

He blamed his father; of course, that’s what all the men round here did, for having the temerity to think that their sons might want to tame the wilderness, abjure the comforts and pleasures of urban living in order to prove something, the hypothesis never being made clear beyond some sort of abstraction that focused on ‘a man’ needing ‘space’ to ‘grow into’, to ‘fully realise’ who they might be – the implication being that said ‘man’ could only find this ‘space’ in an actual canyon, rather than the canyons of a city.

In his memory – and what else counted out here? – his father had only ever said one thing that was worth holding on to, delivered on a birthday instead of a present. “If you want to play at being a god, start your own religion. If you want to play at being God, become an architect.” Fortune cookie deep, sure, but it stuck.

He hammered the taped-up planks into the ground, put the can on top, and declined to think about which of his father’s truths he was now confirming.