The news of the riots was everywhere. Everyone she knew was involved in some way. There was excitement and feverish activity too late to get off on. She didn’t want to apply herself to all this. But she had to help out where she could. Crowds swelled and dissipated across the park nearby. She felt morbid. She liked the ordinary helpful people.
Alone in her flat she fed her cats and worried at a stain on a shirt with a strong sense of indignation. Her feet moved easily under the table. She watered the plants in the pots out back. The red flowers hung like underlips. She spread her papers out on the round garden table and a gull held itself above, as if a suspended light beam. She read for a while and couldn’t help feeling confused, as if the book was a deliberate test. Dazed, she sat back and waited for her reaction.
'I don’t know,' she thought , 'I don’t know what any of this means. It’s as if the author is deliberately trying to withhold his convictions. Yes, that’s it, it’s a joke that he’s playing on the reader. What’s the good of belief? Why would anyone want that? Is it a way of getting people mixed up with someone else? Was there actually a line of coherence in it?'
She was trying to figure it out. It was an exhausting book. It was a gadget of destruction was what she felt after a while.
' I feel I’m a beginner. I took a gamble without belief and look at me. What was I wanting? Africa? Jouissance? A miracle?'
She believed that might be right. Once, after hearing good advice, perhaps faith was a decent motivation, wanting to have that.
From the carnival of the street she could hear music playing and if she closed her eyes she imagined tiny figures walking along in file. Were they really strong enough to refute cynicism? She rolled a spliff and tried to pick up new patterns. She felt far from the world of the coal, wood, oil, metal, soil men with their billions to squander and a world to burn. She felt her heart-rate rise and then fall back as if in parenthesis. She went beyond her own force. What she had was an ounce of soul. It was enough. It occurred to her at that very moment that the world could smile too. It was a benevolent magician, capable of bets and hedges.
She leaned so that her strong body gathered a trance from the flowers, the rare peculiar angles of the day and the expanding clouds overhead. Everything mattered. Few people knew enough to know that. Her nails, almost claws, comforted her. She felt like a bird soaring way above her blue, astonishing eggs. She returned her thoughts to the pages she’d just read. Was the author a lunatic? Or was it an angel’s mouth speaking in prose. A glass of water hovered on the brink. The writing was like a dark tunnel, disfigured and fragmenting. How many languages might there be? She felt a blaze of love for everything she could see and feel. The music from the street rose and she heard the crowds like blessings. How many people did she speak to that day? Well, let’s just say by the end she was tired and writing a blog entry into the heavens of the night without inhibition. Everything seemed a rush of well-being, of loving kindness. She felt as if the world was awake.
Certain devotions can be wrong. Which means some anxieties are justified.
‘We can cover our losses.’
‘Get out now? No doing?’
‘It’s bound to come tumbling down.’
‘No. This is a visionary sphere we’ve entered. You don’t quit.’
Matter of fact she agreed. When she listened in to this exchange she knew nature knows one thing and it's this. Everything had been set up in a certain way and there was no way to detour and explain it away as something other than what it was. Stay. You have to stay to the end. The day had been a squallish one at the start. Grey clouds had hung low over the roof tops and green threads of rain fell in unwilling packages. Everything's giddy corduroy.
Read the complete novel 'The Ecstatic Silence' here.