Odyssey by Walter Mosley

Book: Odyssey by Walter Mosley Read Free Book Online
Authors: Walter Mosley
ended with a pistol shoved up his nose and fired. The doctor said that the bullet exploded against the inside of the old man’s skull. Solar asked Sovereign why he didn’t tell somebody about the gun.…
    In his sleep Sovereign realized that his father blamed him for Eagle’s death—Sovereign blamed himself.
    The phone was still ringing.
    A light shone somewhere inside of Sovereign’s mind and he was suddenly aware of the darkness that blindness had rung down on him. He was so good at keeping secrets that his grandfather had died and his own father never knew his bastardy; Sovereign had harmed one and protected the other. The dream thoughts told him that it should have been the other way around.
    The phone stopped ringing.
    Light was more than sight, he thought. Vision was always partial, unrevealing at the last.
    Why couldn’t he dream about sex or Drum-Eddie? Why were these ideas rumbling around his head like bad meat in a starving man’s gut?
    The phone started ringing again.
    Sovereign stumbled up out of bed and blundered through the rooms to reach out for it, almost desperately.
    “It’s Zenith, Sovereign.”
    “What time is it?”
    “A little past midnight in New York. Don’t hang up.”
    “What do you want, Zenith?”
    “I spoke to Thomas about our talk on the phone. He told me that it wasn’t right to say that you were making it up. He said that all I had to do was to think of what I’d say if one of our children had something like that.”
    “You mean if you were related to the person suffering the ailment.”
    “I know you’re my brother, Sovereign.”
    “No, you don’t.”
    “Yes, I do.”
    “Grandpa Eagle told me that he was made impotent by that wound he suffered in World War One.”
    “But …”
    “But that means he wasn’t our grandfather. Maybe I’m only your half brother. Maybe they found me in a hole somewhere and we’re not related at all.”
    “Don’t be crazy, Sovereign.”
    “You already think I’m crazy. Why not act like it?”
    “I’m calling to apologize.”
    “You’re calling because Thomas told you to, Zenith.”
    “You used to call me Z.”
    “That was a long time ago—when I could see and I still hoped that my sister would love me.”
    “Maybe I should call back later.”
    Sovereign wondered why blindness made him so sensitive to silence. It was like the senses were somehow blended together, making a third, undefined form of perception.
    “We haven’t talked for a long time, Sovereign. And maybe I was … I don’t know … maybe I was distant when I was a child. I thought you and Eddie were just little boys, that you didn’t understand things. I treated you like kids, and I didn’t like kids very much. But that’s all. You are still my brother and I do love you.”
    Sovereign exhaled and then waited for the breath to come back in. He thought about his
stinky sister
and playing hide-and-seek with Drum-Eddie, about the ribbon of blood flowing out from Eagle’s nostril and the image of a bullet exploding in his brain; the ribbon of blood was the tie.
    Maybe he
been thinking about suicide.
    Either fathering a child or dying—that was the choice.
    “Yes, Zenith?”
    “Do you need me to come out there?”
    “No, baby, no. I got it covered.”
    “I read up on hysterical blindness. Most cases recover.”
    “Yeah, but do they ever get over it?”

    Five weeks passed.
    Sovereign and Toni didn’t talk about Lemuel or her part in his attack. Seth Offeran kept asking to meet the girl, but Sovereign would not bring her into the room. He’d tantalize the doctor, telling him that she was only a few steps away, but there she’d stay.
    Toni and the blind man did their shopping, ate their lunches, and attended popular movies and poetry readings, plays, and speeches. She talked more and more about her mother and half sisters and half brothers, a man who might have been her father, and the grandmother who

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