Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Spring Snow

He threw himself down at once on the dry brown grass warmed by the heat of the sun, and lay there, face up, knowing that he was completely alone, secure from every eye. Then as he sensed the numb chill that came from rowing in the fingers that cradled his head, he was suddenly overwhelmed by a wild rush of misery that he had been able to fend off while he was in the presence of other people. “This year was mine—and now it’s gone,” he cried out to himself. “It’s gone! Just like a cloud dissolving.” The words poured out of him, cruel and unrestrained, lashing him, intensifying his agony. Never before had he given way to such wildness. “Everything has turned sour, I’ll never be carried away with joy again. There’s a terrible clarity dominating everything. As though the world were made of crystal so that you only have to flick part of it with your fingernail for a tiny shudder to run through it all. . . . And then the loneliness—it’s something that burns. Like hot thick soup you can’t bear inside your mouth unless you blow on it again and again. And there it is, always in front of me. In its heavy white bowl of thick china, dirty and dull as an old pillow. Who is it that keeps forcing it on me? “I’ve been left all alone. I’m burning with desire. I hate what’s happened to me. I’m lost and I don’t know where I’m going. What my heart wants it can’t have . . . my little private joys, rationalizations, self-deceptions—all gone! All I have left is a flame of longing for times gone by, for what I’ve lost. Growing old for nothing. I’m left with a terrible emptiness. What can life offer me but bitterness? Alone in my room . . . alone all through the nights . . . cut off from the world and from everyone in it by my own despair. And if I cry out, who is there to hear me? And all the while my public self is as graceful as ever. A hollow nobility—that’s what’s left of me.”

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