Amidst the fire

A man with an umbrella stands alone, blackly silhouetted, against fire-glowing trees lit by the streetlamps. Casting dark blue shadows on the rain-slicked pavement.
2020.10.11, by Ansel

“If there’s a reason to get into politics… It’s you.”

He was getting into his dress, when I said this to him. A blue and white cheongsam that we had tailored [altered] to hug his contours. He was upset about… I don’t know, the dress? But he had an outburst:

“I have to get into a good dress, for my husband!”

I looked at him. He had that same fire in his eyes as he had for his father.
“I have to fight, for you!”

I’ve been listening to the “Building Mode 5” from the first Sims. After the fire… It’s a game that holds a lot of memories for us, but I’ve been thinking, again. About the kind of life that I want to build with Tolly. About what kind of life is possible for him. We’ve fought countless times over that—over my ambition to build a life for us, and his ambition to build a life in politics. He could drop me without a second thought, and he did, three times, to uphold and maintain his principles. Now with that same fire in his eyes I see him defiantly putting on a dress, “for me”, because, this is the life that he wants, this is the husband he wants and the life he’s going to build for that man.

Financially, things aren’t looking good. We’re keeping our heads above water. Our credit score will… bounce back in a couple of months. We’re not homeless, in fact, we’re looking forward to purchasing new furniture. A good-quality office chair that was 52% off, a ‘blue glow’ agave plant in a pot outside… He was so cute, the manager of the nursery gave him the gold and pink succulent for free. Things aren’t looking good, but… I’ve hammered out our budget so that we won’t starve through the winter, and a game plan for new household acquisitions for the next eight months. It’s tight, but dammit, that kid is getting a magnetic knife rack in December.

I’m worried about him. He’s taking extra shifts and all the holidays to make sure we have some extra cash in the bank to cushion.

I have my own problems to deal with but I think they’re secondary to his. Gotta make sure he’s safe first… No more crying. No more despair, stress. We made more bananas foster, and yesterday we also had chicken teriyaki with honey peanut sauce (delicious) and fried rice with egg scrambled in, cooked in the teriyaki chicken grease and also mixed with the peanut sauce (best fried rice we’ve ever had). We’re going to bake more brussels sprouts, and roast yams to serve up with ghee. Later on we’ll make a fresh bowl with azuki beans. Bought 180(!) eggs for under $25, freezing 120 of those suckers. (Not gonna have to buy eggs for a while…) Things are going to be fine.


“You may not be interested in politics, but politics is interested in you.”

Well, Trotsky said “war”, but it’s the same thing, isn’t it? War is “simply the continuation of politics by other means.” [von Clausewitz.] I look at these months I’ve written down: November, December, January, February, March, April, May, June, July. Numbers of dollars and household items next to them. Pillow covers + tax $43 in February, a double light switch cover $22 in March. It’s surreal. I feel like I’m playing The Sims, but with my life, while the world literally and metaphorically burns down around me. Trump is gonna have his coup or die trying.

One of these goddamn fascists could blow up a freeway with an IED and I’ll be ordering a tablecloth.

I don’t know what to do. Continue until things break, that it? I know what Tolly would say. “You should be more interested in politics…” By interested he means involved. But for him, they’re one and the same. If you’re interested in something you’ll of course involve yourself in it. If you aren’t involving yourself, then obviously you aren’t interested… That’s his train of thought, his simple, naively straightforward train of thought. Hahh. I don’t know him, how he can exist like that. In this kind of world. He’s gotten burned like that… thinking too straightforwardly. No one else can think that way, it seems. No one else but me… and, his treasured few companions, “whose weight can be measured in gold thrice over.”


At least he’ll be able to use the poinsettia tablecloth as a red banner.

Will Wright was inspired to make The Sims after losing his home in the 1991 Oakland firestorm.