Marv often seemed to be admitting to his flaws (which is a rhetorical habit I have copied much of my adult life), but that didn’t mean he was sorry. Even at my current age, I don’t think I can entirely fathom what his perspective may have been on his actions – in short, how he slept with himself. His code of gallantry included infidelity in stupefying proportions; his tenderness rarely kept company with mercy.
For a time, when we were very little, Marv would occasionally tuck us in, and in the dark, play us a story on his guitar. Cinderella is the one I remember best: the hypnotic sound of his voice as he sprinkled her magical dress with sparkles, the hollow tap of the guitar as the mice tried to escape the fairy godmothers’ wand, and said, “Shit!” when they found themselves footman. It seemed so real.
I honestly don’t know where he reached in himself, this grown kid whose childhood was, as far as I know, a string of truancy and poverty and feral self-sufficiency, to find the ingredients to cast this spell on his four year old, middle class daughters. But I do think he was searching for enchantment, and that it wasn’t just us who wanted to find the glass slipper.