59: Monarchy

I take up my cup alone at a table in the corner, a chance to avoid the tedium. My servants have brought in some quiet music behind a curtain and provided something to eat. I am worried. If I were the magician my people expected, I would be eager to prepare my next trick, but where would it come from? Where is the royalty in this brow, in the way I wipe my brow, in the despair I feel and can’t express? I take another sip, which clears my head for thoughts of father and mother— croquet one summer afternoon, archery lessons with father— her beauty and kindness—to let me win, the leather and rough smell of father’s skin. Now I am the whole; it rests on me uneasily, as though the age of kings were gone, but I remember about a thing worth doing— if the job were well circumscribed let the chancellor take care of it; or hire a general, an artist, a merchant. But when a problem is intractable— no one else knows any better, or better not think so. Over time, by trial and error if not divine inspiration, I can get the hang of it, or better think I had.

Fishing float