Unhitched chapter notes …
Isn’t that a nice mood board? So many wonderful memories: the beach, Le Petit Prince, Darwin, their new house on Lake Erie …
I hope I didn’t hurt anyone.
That’s not true. I was trying to gut you, but I have no idea how invested you guys are with Hopper’s past. It means a lot to me, but you all probably don’t care that much.
There is a video of the song Hopper imagines his mother singing at the bottom if you really want to break your heart. I also linked to it in my chapter notes on AO3.
For the structure/feeling of this chapter, I tried to mimic something from the show. Apéritif opens with Will’s walking through the crime scene at the Marlow house. I don’t think he’s ever actually been in the house since he communicates with no one except the off-screen man who hands him the security report suspiciously fast.
He’s actually in his lecture hall speaking about it, having studied the crime scene photos, but we are all lead to believe he’s been dropped into the house. I’ve always loved that scene because it feels weirdly forced. The extras don’t look at Will, Dancy’s acting is pushed because he doesn’t actually want to be doing the walkthrough, and the viewer is left sort of confused but intrigued by this strange scene. It’s very voyeuristic like we aren’t supposed to be in Will’s head with him.
That was the feeling I tried to convey.
Hopefully, you all knew Hopper’s mother died in childbirth. Hopper mentions it in Luck is not the Hand of God:
“Mama wants you to fly and wifey wants you to die,” he snickers.
Such a clever little shit. “I never knew my mother; she was dead before I’d opened my eyes, and my ex-wife can go fuck herself for all I care.”
And then again in A Bunch of Fives:
“… My father was never that smart, and as far as I know, he’s still stuck in the shack we both grew up in.”
He nods and stares out at the road. “And the mother?”
Sorry pal, you can kiss my ass. “Gone,” I snap, and that’s all I’m going to say about her. “Little Cowboy was on his own, much like big Cowboy, and there isn’t a lot to tell.”
I particularly liked this conversation because Sin asks, “And the mother?” not“And your mother?” Saying “the mother” is often how people refer to animals when talking about breeding.
And then in Sowing Dragon’s Teeth:
“Then tell me about one through four.”
I guess I was wrong. There are some things that bother me – secrets I’m still not ready to share. “One was my mother, and I’ll leave it at that.”
He leans back in his seat, a little perturbed by my enigmatic answer, considering he already knew about my mother, but he’ll have to get over it.
I was kind of blunt there.
So upon seeing his father at the end of Sowing Dragon’s Teeth, Hopper is left in shock. He’s trying to make sense of the horror. The first place he can think of to go is this dreamlike state, imagining the last thoughts his father would’ve had before taking his own life. He empathizes with his dad and recreates in his head the life they could’ve had if he hadn’t killed his own mother and caused them both such immense pain. It’s detailed because this is the scenario he’s meditated on his whole life. This world is presented from a perspective that’s almost child-like in its innocence.
Animated sketch from Le Petit Prince.
There are bits and pieces of this recreation that I’ve already mentioned or will mention when you learn about Hopper’s actual childhood in the next few chapters – the shells, the word “copper” he says twice because he’s staring at his father’s bloody body, he mentions a redhead that will come up later (no not Freddie), teacups and antique spoon [*waves at Jen!*], and the boa constrictor and the sunrise in France are parts of the book, Le Petit Prince.
So keep all this in mind when you continue reading. You will figure out where all this came from as Hopper explores his past. But don’t worry, it will meander back to sex and stabbing soon enough.
I made this chapter feel somewhat idyllic but still realistic because Hopper wouldn’t imagine a life full of bliss and wonder with no pain; that would be unrealistic. There are still negatives (feeling sick, not getting what he wants, his parent’s fight), but with a lot of warm fuzzies, too. After all, he’s looking through his own childhood filter where things are slightly skewed.
Hopefully, you forgot for a few brief moments that his mother is actually dead, perhaps thinking you read it incorrectly. If you didn’t forget, I hope you got swept up in the peace or were left anxiety-ridden due to the inconsistencies, because all of those feelings are appropriate to have during this chapter.
I wanted it to go downhill fast, first affirming that his mother is, in fact, dead and that this was all just an elaborate fantasy, and then I toss out the reason behind the visualization, seeing his father’s dead body in the shed.
This is a breaking point for Hopper. He wants to move past his old life and has taken many steps to do so: he got a divorce, he left his home to his ex, he bought a truck, he let Butcher sell that truck, he’s killed and started eating people in accordance with Butcher’s moral code, and the final act he needed to accomplish was to relinquish the pain he’s carried since childhood by forgiving and moving beyond his father. And now he can’t. He hit a wall where he has caused one more death.
But it’s not that simple because it’s never that simple – not with me anyway. And you will find out exactly how not simple it is (maybe) next week.
This next update will probably be a little late. It’s creeping up on 12k words. Possibly more; it’s not entirely written yet, so bear with me. But it’s cool and interactive, so subscribe to the fic on AO3 to stay up to date. And don’t forget to comment because that’s what keeps me goin’!
And for your listening pleasure, this is Parlez-Moi D’Amour, what Hopper imagines his mother singing in the kitchen. It is one of my all-time favorite songs, performed by Lucienne Boyer. I fell in love with it while watching the 1998 film The Imposters.
The French lyrics translated into English:
Speak to me of love
And say what I’m longing to hear
Tender words of love
Repeat them again
I implore you speak to me of love
Whisper these words to me, dear
I adore you. I want to hear,
to hear those words that are so dear
I want to hear you say I love you
By all the little stars above you
Your voice is like a fun caress
It thrills me till I must confess
I long to hear the voice that brings me
Such thrilling love and happiness