‘What you never say. That's what I hear. What you never say are all the things we do. You hush up,’ he said. She nodded back and agreed, again, with the slow consequence that he wondered if any of this was coherent and whether he wasn’t the kind of man who just wouldn’t see the view of a female, which he felt sure was not the truth about himself. Nevertheless, were it to be shown that it was, he would have been mortified and have felt sorely unfitted for this business and drained of energy and some if not all of his unspoken heroic strength. You can't make too many allowances for the darkness. He wanted to see everything. But what he saw in his mirror was never the truth but something smaller and just glass.
'Well yes. But I prefer prayer meetings to mass meetings. And in saying that I’m not saying anything about the existence of God or whether I'm religious. But I don’t like crowds nor ideas that insist I hold hands and take a walk. Nevertheless, there’s certain to be something in all of us that got all lit up by the nature of the death,’ she said as if giving him a psychological reason. But it wasn’t. It was just that she was fed up with his rigid stance and the comforts his delusions gave him. Which accounted for the fact that she didn’t try and touch him, not even pat him on his head or shoulders. And neither did he even though there was as usual a peculiar erotic pull that was like a wide wrinkle over his stumped mind, as if there was some attractive indecency at the heart of her objections, like a nostalgia for electric chairs.
Love begins with a quotation, which is inevitably a warning about what we care to remember and our sources. He wanted to leave with something to add, having more to say, to leave her with more than a sketch but he was painfully aware, or nearly so, that even his sketch was hardly that, because what he sketched was whatever came before sketching . And she dreamed better than he did and only needed to be heeded by those in her dreams. It was as if what he yearned for was something unknown, finally, and this breakfast was not love but a way of cutting short those questions asked when we're unable to face the situation and have to express a drama that isn't there really, but is just imagined and metaphorical. The heaviness and persecution he applied to his relationships suddenly seemed light and ethereal. This was something he often experienced when sex, not love, took everything in a trivial way through its torrid little death scenes. He frowned a sturdy, masculine frown that sank and sank as if seeking to touch the bottom of his soul. She smiled a genuine smile because she knew he was young and didn’t know who he was nor who he wanted to be. A manky pigeon hopped up from one of the garden chairs into the great chain of shining air, wings for a minute beating frantically, going into the blue sky which would darken all the way out to Pluto.
She had met him before. Not him personally. But boys like him. Young men with sorrow and bitterness converted into a need for sympathy in a woman’s hut. They required her to protect their tuned self-awareness, to see past their heavy beautiful faces, bodies and their dreamy refusals. She had her own dead to please though, just like everyone has. That was what they never understood. Their sorrows were not rare. They were always too young to be washed out. They couldn’t cope with storytellers – genuine storytellers who could just as well pick anothers’ story as theirs. The stories people tell are best when out of control. But for the oppressed and blessed alike, that sort of thing usurps their spirits. For them, alternatives are unwieldy. Some stories come from the hunters who kill just to have a bloody tale. They preferred prepared meanings and the certain purity that only clung to themselves.
It may have seemed a little incredible to think of denying the obvious – obvious to her anyhow – that everyone can be reached, and challenged. She brought about changes through the opposite of fear and punishment, by intelligent good will in the throes of a forlorn global trauma. She saw ramifications so vast and frightening that numb disbelief spread out everywhere. She felt it forged and completed as destiny. But for him, he’d lost his innocence as a way of losing his virginity and was now paying for it. She was sick of pretending eternal youth and belying her own intelligence, willpower, junk, aloneness, speed, flex, force, glory, hunger, probity, wiles and so on for dedication to his self-importance and having to be a female impersonator sacrificing her achievements to her beauty and her sadness to the bloody consumer society all down the line.
He’d be restless to go and maybe he’d want to come back. Now she was sure that she was less and less interested in supporting these roaming lover types who always had more than one place to go to but who were just distributing the same old same but on a wider curve than before, with thinner meaning and a breakdown in communication just as horrible as the narrow marriage version it was supposed to replace, pussy power or cajolery notwithstanding.
Her black cat roamed the room. He meanwhile stared at its sleepwalking performance and wondered if cats believed in ghosts. And in his desolation he wondered, almost aloud, whether in fact the cat was really alive after all. Or was there some insane psychological absence being manifested, a kind of odd robotic waxwork that prompted and unsettled him, filled him with both dread and something larger than thought.
‘ A roaring boy,’ he repeated with a grin now spreading from what could have been a catastrophe. Yet he felt uneasy. He felt that somehow she was now not appreciating the full importance of his being. Perhaps he had drunk too much the night before to notice her disdainful laxness . Or maybe she had changed her mind. He suddenly felt alone, as if an axe had fallen. It wasn’t a failure of an individual kind that was upsetting him but rather something more generalised. He thought there was something in her look, her casual and rather absentminded grasp of him that committed, somehow, in an odd and indefinite manner, a kind of injustice. The lips of his hope shut tight. His suffering produced hybrids and a kind of labial eye to prevent what? Tears? Ideas? A dog was barking way off.
His childhood hand painted over the past. The thought seized him at that very moment. The terrifying mortality of his father during his pubity was accompanied by memories of a nightmare, of some warning that he could never remember when awake. Bad men, he thought to himself, bad men always collect. The girl, as strange now as an unwelcome visitor, seemed oblivious to what was becoming a crisis. Everything seemed to be taking place, as it were, far away from the surface. Right behind his eyes, it seemed, coals were pouring down, and blood splashing, and there was a part of what he couldn’t remember walking about, or at least stirring, some presence that shifted from haunch to haunch like a gigantic bird with something trapped in its curved beak. There was an urgent cry in him. He wanted to know about the cat, and the designs on the rug which seemed maybe Moroccan, and although she was looking at him as if an afterthought, he maintained his cool, even though it was clear to him that nothing in the room was really alive. But that moment passed and he realised almost immediately that there was no need to say a thing to anyone.
Read 47094 from the beginning here.
Read the complete novel 'The Ecstatic Silence' here.