‘And yet there’s undoubtedly a vast chasm opened up between those twenty two, twenty four, however many you’ve calculated, and ours now. With the world there’s been two holes blasted into its line, ditches so deep and burying that there’s no sense in combining those on one side of the ditch with those on the other. Our contemporaries are Capitalists, Marxists, Fascists and Islamics and that’s more or less the choices we face. Your civilisations are over there, gone. Ten thousand years of brothers and sisters finished. The mistake of the modern world is to think there’s anything but what’s been taken away and lost forever in their histories. Thinking we could live as Plato or the Egyptians or even the Normans is no less a fantasy than reverting to crouching in caves alongside woolly mammoths and distressing Smilodons. They’re never going to be roommates again, none of them, and we aren’t promising trips on their brutality and civil weirdness and menace. Our stage is set up differently, and what you’re doing is flinching and trying for impossible, deserted precincts to live in. Fantasy,’ she said with considerable elements of truth in it she felt but a dire harsh bad-willness too. But he had already gone. She was alone.
What had his body told her? Her inflamed piece of self-distinction, riled and burning up before him, well, she looked as if a more robust person had never existed on that seat sitting before him, where he had smiled as if to himself and his imaginary hat, not missing her derision but neither commanding to be looked upon either, which was, when she looked at it now as she stalked the canal bank, steadfast, unintimidated and honest. What happens when we damn someone who turns out to be elsewhere, and ends up an indulged reflection? They start being real.
Which is when she started to be dead again. Street lights seemed hacked and spiritual and gymnastic. The dogs avoided looking straight over at her and howled out of key whils't the cats didn’t seem to mind at all. But what difference to her was this creeping about doing, even as she wore a Persian lamb coat and astrakhan hat picked up at a local market? The taste of eggs changed from lavish to wild northern, and something about the land seemed to swell and banged about, black, windy, loud, so that at corners she sometimes had to compose herself before finding her orientation again. And there were a few people she really didn’t want to be seeing around at this time and she’d shout at them, saying things like;
‘Listen, stop haunting me. What do you think you ever were or could have been? You mustn’t blame yourself but nevertheless you need to get lost. Take it from me you’ll be indignant about this later, and that’s alright, but I don’t have the time or heart to listen. Really, believe me, I’m selfish as a bitch can be if that makes you feel better, but forget it,’ and so on, her voice wrinkled up and giving the impression that she truly had had enough, no matter how beautiful a morning it was or what tickled her heart on the side.
Read the complete novel 'The Ecstatic Silence' here.