Not far out of town we all fall quiet, which is unexpected but welcome. I am seated in the rear half of the van, with the window against me on my left and a sleepy Alaia on my right, her head resting on my shoulder.
It’s a strange, grand fortune to have shone worldwide with an almost supernatural glow of glamour, beauty and power for just a brief time—for those two extraordinary broadcasts only—and then to return to the realm of normal humanity, quite certain never to shine as brightly again for the rest of my life and yet also knowing nothing can take away what was achieved nor cause the world to forget it.
Moreover, what Alaia and I emitted survives in perfect high-end recordings, which Marc will spare none of his prodigious powers in marketing and selling as globally as possible, and from which Alaia and I shall receive large shares in line with the agreements just hashed out between Bedford and the GN. Such has been the fantastic impact of Sound & Vision and Big Bang in just this first week, according to Marc, that I can see this pair of broadcasts will rage and thunder on without relent into the future, towering unstoppable and huge through the years with their own self-generating fuel and a being and volition quite their own, independent of Alaia and me altogether. From now on, she and I will in some respects be no closer to her sound and my vision, as sealed and perfected there, than any of the viewers who will watch them for generations to come.
I spot something else too, which makes me smile: that default-level personality of mine, peeping out like a mischievous rabbit from the place it was hiding in while those greater abilities were overshadowing it. And wouldn’t you know—it’s just me. Perhaps the reason I felt I’d mislaid it, once I started looking into other people’s personalities, was that my own personality had thereby been revealed as just a habitual set of ways of seeing, rather than its own objective beast. No matter: I greet my set of ways of seeing, like a long-lost bunny, in warm affection.
How randomly chosen personalities are, for the people who find themselves acting as their custodians, I reflect. I frown, noticing that just above the flat horizon there’s a pale cloud resembling a tornado… I peer at it, fascinated; then I realise it’s half the white of one of my eyes reflected on the surface of the glass beside me, the tornado’s inside curve being formed by the outer edge of the iris.
I feel Alaia’s breath on my neck as she sleeps. I turn my head to the right, to look at her from close up. Beginning at her eyes, I move my adoring gaze slowly downward, in a deliberate and leisurely trip along the line of her profile.
I turn my head quickly to face forward again, and lean my head back against the head-rest.
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