man walks into a room

In west on 05/19/2014 at 11:08 am

And yet what else does it mean to be loved, Samson wondered, than to be understood?  What else but to be profoundly touched by another?  He thought about who he had been before the tumor, telling the story of his old life like a sad tale.  Once there had been a woman he loved whose body he had taken into his own hands, maybe amazed that such touching left no impression.  Turning on the bedside lamp, he had found her unmarked.  Her name was a sound you could go through, coming out the other side onto an identical place, Anna, a mirror image, a double echo in which there was nothing to grasp onto.  Maybe he had loved her too much, feeling he was unable to get her close enough; that so long as she remained a separate person, he could get to know her only so well.  And because the core of her would always remain elusive threatening to slip away, he’d switched course and faded away to protect himself from the loss, his voice breaking up, over and out, like a pilot’s adrift in space.

Once there was a woman he loved.  That was how it had begun.  But from there the story might have unfolded any number of ways. Only the end was the same: he had emptied himself of the ballast of memory and lunged weightless into the future.  Alone and astonished, attempting to take with him not even a trace.  In the end he had betrayed the woman he loved, and who was there who would not judge him for that?

Anna, backward or forward, the name a ghost of itself.  If he called her, if he could reach her now, what would there be to say?
Nicole Krauss


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