Is using the Roman numeral more pretentious than using “2”? I ask because I really hope it is. If you’ve read Part I (is there a Greek character or a Latin numeral I can use to really enhance the pretension?) you know that I come from the Edgar Allen Poe school of writing which dictates, “why use two syllables when you can use 348?” If you haven’t read Part Un, I recommend you check that out, but where we left off is that a narrator is in the middle of writing a letter to his at-the-time fetal twin daughters because he presumes that due to his own actions they will never meet him, he thinks his chosen profession is based on deception but thinks the mother of his children believes in him, but probably doesn’t after whatever happens that leads him to think he won’t know his daughters. Boom, succinct. Read Part Viens (that’s Latvian for one, in case you are unlearned…There, is that pretentious enough!?!). Let’s get back in because I’m wondering where this is going too:
To My Unborn Daughters, Part II
Your mother and I were comfortable in our meager means, her with her blown glass necklace charm and woven bracelet business as the scourge of art walks and farmers markets within a 60 mile radius, and me with my talent and predilection for bullshit. Your mother thought I was a true talent at the time. I was able to take her belief in my ability to weave a coherent, spiritual narrative from wholesale nonsense and whittle it down into what I hope, in these intervening years, is a pointed knowledge that none can speak to the deceased.
Your mother and I met when she paid me to lie to her about her deceased father. The reason I write this and desperately hope you will read this is that there are none, in my estimation, more susceptible to lies and emotional extortion than the directionless daughters of mythicized fathers. While I was content using simple parlor tricks with my wife to convince clients that their loved ones were reaching beyond the grave to provide comfort, or taking the words our clients said and assuaging their insecurities, your mother wanted more.
Before your mother I prematurely married the precursor to your mother, the placeholder youth tricked me into believing was my chaperon to happiness, who further deceived me into my career path toward ruins. The allure of chicanery rather than societally-legitimized vocations was irresistible to me and I was immediately entrenched in the life of a psychic and medium. The Precursor and I combined our efforts–my natural empathy and her natural theatrics–to create a business outside of the mainstream that we despised.
Three years later, your mother entered our seaside shop before she could even drive seeking an understanding or justification for the random traffic incident–or so we thought–which robbed her of her father at such a young age and converted her mother from Catholicism to Alcoholism. Your mother had an undeniable radiance that emanated from her optimism which I fear I may have stolen from her and the world.
After our initial “reading”–which included my “guessing” her father’s name (I went through a number of letters of the spirit’s first/last name before hitting on the one that made her cry), his mode of death (I used clues she gave me and broad vagaries to gain her confidence to entice her into offering more information) and some general words of encouragement (whatever the mark needs to hear)–your mother left with an expression I remember as having gone from trepidatiously enthusiastic to jubilantly euphoric.
I should have known right then, at the point the cosmos showed me I stole innocence, that I was on a path to ruin.
Three years later she would return after your grandmother died. While I wish I could delude you two with the idea that I had pined for her, thought about her, fantasized about her, or even empathized with your mother beyond that initial interaction, hearing her name again was like being punched with mystery. In contrast, The Precursor to your mother did remember your mother and tried to build a mythology based on half-remembrances of lies we told years ago.
Your mother was too savvy, seeing through our deception. In the middle of our table-rattling presentation, your mother insisted we “cut the shit”, which we did. I revealed The Precursor lurking under the table and told your mother the full truth. Your mother was incredulous, insisting that the last time I told her incontrovertible truths and offered unknowable insights. Not wanting to lose a paycheck, your father–me, I–continued the ruse which stole your mother’s optimism and trust.
Hopefully, you understand that despite what may appear to be justice for my willful deception of people by exploiting their grief for my own financial gains, my intentions were never malicious.
~End Part II~
So, we learned more about our narrator but what happened to prompt him to write this letter? No, really, please let me know as I’m not sure how this is going to end. This is a first draft and I haven’t thought any of this through. Hopefully, that doesn’t show as much as my insecurities. Thanks for reading.