One of the only good things about Scout going deaf is that he can’t hear me sneak out when I’ve had enough. Like tonight: For two days he’s been buzzing around the periphery, hugging the walls inside the house, counting off the perimeter of the lawn on the out, panting his ass off, no matter how much water he drinks, and looking particularly glassy-eyed and sharp-snouted. So I left, and drove the twenty minutes to Love Lane on a back road, with my Reggie and my reading glasses and my mind on a glass of wine.
By the time I pulled into Mattituck, it was still light, but the moon, nearly full (and huge), was taking up the sky, being quietly beautiful and bright. There was no one around—just me and the moon and the streetlight down a ways, shining against the dusk. This is my favorite time, the way everything light gets bright, and you can feel the edge of the night brushing up against you.
It was dark after a glass of wine, and I glided back up that country road wanting to go twenty in a fifty-mile-an-hour zone, the warm wind, the warm night, the warm wine, the lightening silently, pinkly flashing behind the clouds—even that yodelling clown Chris Isaak didn’t ruin it, the soft drive home.
Scoutie and I went out for a long walk down to the water after, and his feet slipped through a grate right outside of a restaurant with a plaque outside saying it was the oldest single-family owned restaurant in the country. Inside was an overall hefty older woman with a tattoo where sailors like to put their anchors. Poor Kooks. He doesn’t even register pain, just rights himself and keeps buzzing, his tongue dripping spit and his eyes like mirrors.
Anyway, the thing I meant to say was that I realized something about renunciation while I was driving: This world with its moons hanging heavy like pears, and it’s silken nights, and it’s fruit-flavored sedatives, it’s not what we need to give up. All that stays—we can keep it. Kooks stays and the fat, tattooed woman stays and you stay and even I stay, for now. I could feel it, though, what was extra, on that happy ride home.