Abbie runs to the washroom. The private one, in the back office, the one that Etienne does not share with anyone, except the artists, not even the board members know of this washroom, it’s under the stairs, looks like it’s been built for a hobbit, it the secret lair of a man who was once a woman and who has travelled the world to construct his own. Abbie closes the door and sits on the toilet, not because he has to use it, but because he has to sit, he has to sit here away from the crowd outside and take this in, accept what is happening, he has to finally decide whether or not this is what he wants, forever, if this is his path, if this is the start of a long road to what he doesn’t know, it’s not that uncertainty is new, it’s that this is a different kind of uncertainty, the kind that results from a choice, and every choice, suddenly, feels important, full of direction. Full of purpose.
Maybe I should take a shit, he thinks, and he does, he tries to imagine this, and he finds the idea oddly transgressive, as if nature abhors evacuation, which it doesn’t, it lives on it, crapping is life, it’s life and death, the circle, rejection and the opposite of rejection, and then he stands up and stares at himself in the mirror, he wants to do something dramatic like slap himself and watch his cheek glow with pain, or punch the mirror and maybe cut his knuckles, but both ideas are silly, he realizes this, he’s being silly, he’s thought this all through, this is good, this is great, life begins now, think of all the people who helped put you here, he feels like a boxer about to get in the ring, he remembers watching Rocky with his father, another movie he loved, his father had told him he travelled to Philadelphia just to run up those steps at the museum, just to do what Rocky did, and then he discovered cheese steak sandwiches.
OK, he thinks, OK, let’s do this. And then he leans his head on the mirror, and closes his eyes, and worries about the reaction, he worries about seeing his name in the newspaper and someone saying his work is garbage, it’s not art, why are they showing this idiot’s photos of chimneys and fruit, Man Ray didn’t do what he did for just so Abbie Jones could take photos of smokestacks and post them online.
The door opens behind him. He opens his eyes and sees Etienne, smiling like a man who has just found out that the Nigerian prince is real and he is about to become a multi millionaire. “Oh, crippling self-doubt!” he says.