Billy stopped, shook his head. "You go on," he said.
"You guys go on without me. I'm all right."
"Jesus--I'd hate to see somebody sick," said Weary, through five layers of humid scarf from home. Billy had never seen Weary's face. He had tried to imagine it one time, had imagined a toad in a fishbowl.
Weary kicked and shoved Billy for a quarter of a mile. The scouts were waiting between the banks of a frozen creek. They had heard the dog. They had heard men calling back and forth, too--calling like hunters who had a pretty good idea of where their quarry was.
The banks of the creek were high enough to allow the scouts to stand without being seen. Billy staggered down the bank ridiculously. After him came Weary, clanking and clinking and tinkling and hot.
Billy and Weary, behind enemy lines again. Weary thinks that he is saving Billy's life. He's not. Billy's life has drastically changed. He has a Tralfamadorian perspective now--each moment just one little fractal in the universe. Billy's become bigger and smaller than himself all at the same time.
It has been quite a day. Nothing earth-shattering, just long and a little exhausting. I'm a part of a poetry reading on February 28, because I was a finalist for the Poet Laureate of the U. P. The reading is going to be a celebration of the work of as many of the nominees as possible. And, of course, the new Poet Laureate, whoever she or he may be.
This whole experience, being a nominee, getting people to vote for me, jumping into the social media pool, has been a little surreal. Believe it or not, I'm a fairly introverted person. When I give readings or perform at events, I am always a little uncomfortable, worried that someone is going to see through me, call me a fraud. Call it what you want. Stage fright. Low self-esteem. Whatever. Those thoughts are always with me, when I step up in front of a group of people.
I have a Roland Weary part of myself. It sort of grabs me by the shirt and pulls me along. Forces me into social situations. That's a good thing. Then there's the Billy Pilgrim part of me that just wants to be left alone to write poetry and read. I need that part, too. It's all part of who I am. A Poet Laureate nominee. Maybe the next Poet Laureate.
Saint Marty is thankful tonight for some quiet, before the craziness of the upcoming weeks.