What I've learned is it takes time to build a new life. You leave your old self behind and for a while, what are you? You're a pile of hide on the workbench. And nothing's going to happen if you don't put in the work and the time. You've gotta take those molds and lay those wires and go through this whole process that is such a long way from the end goal, but that's what it takes. One step after the other. And then one day the pieces come together, and there you go, it's a new life. Or some kind of new life, anyway.
I got a job at the museum, helping with the exhibits. Turns out taxidermy is valuable to them, and it's more stable and pays better than the theater. I get to work with artists and scientists and historians. And I still do theater prop and set work, just on the side, for fun and friends. My girlfriend is in IT, not in any of this stuff at all.
Daddy is coming to visit. He likes coming now. I think he's proud of me being at the museum and all; it made it easier for him to let go.
Charlie and I are friends again; the community is too small not to be.
We saw Kenny recently coming out of the Starbucks on Guadalupe with a girl—we both shouted, "Hey, Kenny!" and gave him the finger without even thinking or planning.
I go home sometimes. Dad has an assistant, a young kid who was having some kind of trouble at school and at home, who needed something he could learn to be good at, and on whom Dad could focus his energies. He's good for Dad. And whenever I go back, we all sit in the store together, in silence, gently sculpting the hides of those good, sweet animals into a second kind of life.