“And you tried to change, didn’t you? Closed your mouth more. Tried to be softer, prettier, less volatile, less awake… You can’t make homes out of human beings. Someone should have already told you that. And if he wants to leave, then let him leave. You are terrifying, and strange, and beautiful. Something not everyone knows how to love.”
“I’m not trying to make this a downer, understand. I mean, I really do think that love is the best thing in the world, next to cough drops. But I also have to say, for the umpty-umpth time, that life isn’t fair. It’s just fairer than death, that’s all.”
“Milkman stared off into the sky for inspiration, and while glancing toward the rooftops of the used-car places, he saw a white peacock poised on the roof of a long low building that served as headquarters for Nelson Buick. He was about to accept the presence of the bird as one of those waking dreams he was subject to whenever indecisiveness was confronted with reality, when Guitar opened his eyes and said,
“Goddam! Where’d that come from?”
Milkman was relieved. “Must of come from the zoo.”
“That raggedy-ass zoo? Ain’t nothing in there but two tired monkeys and some snakes.”
“Well, where then?”
“Look-she’s flying down.” Milkman felt again his unrestrained joy at anything that could fly. “Some jive flying, but look at her strut.”
“He. That’s a he. The male is the only one got that tail full of jewelry. Son of a bitch. Look at that.” The peacock opened its tail wide. “Let’s catch it. Come on, Milk,” and Guitar started to run toward the fence.
“What for?” asked Milkman, running behind him. “What we gonna do if we catch him?”
“Eat him!” Guitar shouted. He swung easily over the double pipes that bordered the lot and began to circle the bird at a distance, holding his head a little to the side to fool the peacock, which was strutting around a powder-blue Buick. It closed its tail and let the tips trail in the gravel. The two men stood still, watching.
“How come it can’t fly no better than a chicken?” Milkman asked.
“Too much tail. All that jewelry weighs it down. Like vanity. Can’t nobody fly with all that shit. Wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.”
“Perhaps, the problem is not the intensity of your love, but the quality of the people you are loving.”
Soldier sings Stay x Rihanna.