This version of me needed a new hat.
I had left behind a short top hat that defined the circus of burner life. I had switched from a black bowler to her in the last few years. The ringmaster who found me in the spotlight more than a few times. I, whose voice unamplified could silence and rally a crowd.
Wicked glitter had sprinkled it, booze induced marking of territory from the aging dowager whose power couple status had dissolved when her #metoo mate doted aggressively on new meat. Among the glitter three mascots: Bowie, Steve Zissou, and Steampunk Mickey Ears.
Bowie had departed first, lost in a cab ride sometime last summer. He was never one to be pinned down no matter how good the company. God, I loved the star man situated near the black and white feathers. Human+, a mantra in six letters.
Things took a seafaring note under the red beanie, choppy waves that sometimes settled into docked placidity. Never the precision or funding of Alistair Hennessey. Still, the Belafonte had its magic, ragtag and persistent. In the end, the quest was more important than the glory. Lessons you only find aboard a submersible.
The steampunk gem was lost four days after two years of missing Matt. I kick myself for being so stupid in my rushed packing that I left that artifact. The firecracker, however, remains with me. If anything our time was a reminder of how temporal it all is, how easy it is to lose what you love. Mostly, how quickly it could have been me instead.
The hat had lost its magic for me. I no longer wanted the responsibility of limelights and wrangling. I tried to slip out with the tech crew and forget there ever was a stage. Tents go up with a circle of nails driven into the ground by strength, but they collapse with the untying of lines. Placed in a box, it's fate uncertain.
This new hat is appropriately named Beverly Corleone. She's asymmetrical and feminine. Moxie with a taste of danger that Corleone brings. She reminds me of reporters who follow their truths in words no matter what dark alley. Nothing pierces her band for adornment cutters the core of her. This hat feels right for this moment; a writers fedora touched with the glamor of Hollywood and a taste for our neon desert.
My first paycheck purchased her company. A symbol that moving on can be elegant and passionate. That the work that has driven me forward should be carried out with aplomb. I savor days of investigation and research. As the captain of my ship. At the center, it was and always has been me.