Of course, the names were changed to protect the innocent--they became Darcy and Lucy. The diary begins in 1999, about 13 years before the death of the twins. I am not sure if this will go anywhere, but it is my very loosely organized plan that their writing will change as the years go by. At first it will be somewhat stilted and have almost a performance quality about it. Then it becomes more introspective and eventually perhaps disjointed from some sort of dementia which is their common enemy. Or perhaps their minds and writing will become so entangled that it is as though one person is writing toward the end. I might even employ some form of intertextuality which could blur the boundaries even more. The title was inspired by a quote which is often attributed to Crazy Horse, a holy man of the Lakota.
Here is example of an entry. This one in the voice of Lucy.
A GOOD DAY TO DIE
January 11th, 1999 (Lucy) A MESSAGE FROM HEADQUARTERS
When I got up this morning, the sun had already painted a faint white hole in the sky. Darcy was walking up and down the mile-long dirt road leading to our house. As I watched her out the window, it occured to me that she has been walking so long that her steps have taken on a robotic rhythm, thoughtless iambs, heel to toe, repeated and repeated and repeated, always turning back at the bridge to start another recursive line.
A walk sounded like a good idea, and I would have joined her, but I know how much she values that time alone. Besides, some of the items on my to-do list had begun to orbit relentlessly through my mind. Go to the bank. Buy the groceries. Remember to stick religiously to a low fat diet this week. Pick up the dog’s heartworm capsules from the vet. Take the dog to the groomer.
With a mental sigh, I watched from the porch as Darcy turned from the path and began climbing the slope of our driveway to the frame house on Tyner Hill where we had moved 40 years ago. As she rounded the bend in the drive, I saw Jason’s small frame crouched at the base of the twin oaks. Silhouetted as he was against the overexposed sky, our neighbor’s son had a halo of golden light wavering around him, making him seem otherworldly, somehow protected. At eight years old he was at the zenith of his childhood.
“Hey, Jace! Whatcha doin’?” I heard Darcy call out.
At first I thought he hadn’t heard her, so intently focused he was on the mound of objects at his feet. But then he raised his face toward her as she approached. Scattered around him in the dry grass was an army of small plastic soldiers. Designed on a scale of one inch to one yard, the tiny men were set up purposefully around a mature ant hill.
“What’s all this?” Darcy asked.
“I’m making a story,” the boy reported matter-of-factly. “These are the good guys and they are being attacked by the robot ants,” he elaborated as he made minor adjustments to a couple of the brave figures who had fallen over.
“Well… it isn’t looking so good for my men right now. But help is on the way. We just have to hold out until the courier gets back from town,” Jason said as he pointed to a lone horseman surrounded by towering petunias.
“I hope he makes it back in the next fifteen minutes or you might miss your bus."
Jason’s face scrunched up briefly to show his disapproval for adult plans, but just as suddenly he was drawn back to the imagined standoff. Knowing she might as well let him play out the scene, Darcy trudged toward the kitchen to wash the breakfast dishes. Behind her, Jason watched the messenger soldier intently. I could almost imagine him forgetting for a moment that it was indeed left up to his own human control to move the man closer to the action if he wanted to save the trapped troops. Ultimately their fate lay in his hands.
Later that afternoon, as I pushed the wheelbarrow, half-filled with potting soil, over to the flower bed by the curb, being especially careful not to crush the heroic potential of any of the boy’s plastic people. I picked up a peripheral movement in the skies to the west. High above the fences, river and trees, like a dark, unraveling vine, a circling hawk spiraled just above the treetops, riding the currents down, sketching fleeting shadows on the ground as though repeating again and again a dark prediction.