She liked to go to see films in afternoons when the audiences were sparse. She liked to sit near to the screen with no one to disturb her. She never ate whilst in the cinema because she felt eating in such a situation would be to place trust in the wrong thing at the wrong time. She lived in the shadow of these thoughts. When the trouble came and everyone was organising she found that some of the things people were saying provoked her ire. She had to bite her tongue because she knew that these were difficult times. Emotions were high and everyone was very clear that the situation had gone too far and that now was the time for action of some kind. This was the prevailing thought and she shrugged and knew that to say anything else would be for a different time and place. Nevertheless, the repeated phrases did grate a little which was the opposite of what they were attempting for sure. Everyone seemed very angry and at the same time, underneath perhaps, calm, as if they were possessing a truth that would soon explain everything and make everything right again. There was a prestige attached to righteousness, she noted. And it turned history into a feud. It was odd how they seemed satisfied that they could now, finally, identify their enemies and name them without ambiguity and vagueness. As if finally God had woken up and talked to each one of them in turn and let them know what was what.
There was a resolute absoluteness about the whole situation that froze her. She had always thought that nothing should be interpreted too literally. That had been something that she had accepted and thought it was something everyone else understood too. But it seemed she had been mistaken. People were speaking directly with God or else believed that the times had taken such a ferocious tilt that now, from its new angle, everything was transparent and without any grey areas. Indeed people were telling her eagerly and excitedly that it was just a matter of time now. That everything was out in the open and even if there’s a multitude of souls ultimately there’s just one. It was the kind of soul which would be obvious to everyone, and that once revealed, then there would be a seizure, as if the whole world would fall back and shake and understand. As if they were all now certain of feelings that must shoot outwards into everyone: ‘If thou cans't not love, what art thou?’ This was the key to all the people around the world who were on the streets day and night raising hell in the name of this loving soulfulness.
It was true. People who felt that they had been wronged beyond the limit of the world and history itself were forever suddenly busy. What themes. What grandeur. What complaints. What compassion. What rightness. What breadths and depths. Out of hashtags and so on a few self-proclaimed leaders emerged with the same ticking clock. Toads run in sunlight when there’s a cat. Everything removes everything else except strength in these circumstances. There had to be a show of strength that would astonish. Who knew that what love really wanted was to be thanked by everyone who wasn’t loving. And for the unloved to kill their children to prove their thankfulness. And then for them to go on and kill themselves as further proof. It was a strange and sickening joke that always drew a smile, like a fly always follows the corpse. Those who fell into line just to show that they were on message never saw the hatred nor the organic quality of the voices that failed to recognise themselves and so deafened themselves and destroyed themselves. Nor did they see how these leaders despised themselves and hated them too, as if by bringing down destruction on the unloved they would kill themselves in righteousness. In such a night it was clear that no one should ever call them by their name or else they’d hear and get you. How strange it all became at such times. She would nurse in her arms these fabulous boys and girls and could feel their universal charlatanism like poisonous mushrooms just below their skin, growing a false erudition out of what was really, to be honest, just common-and-garden narcissism. Their morbid dropsy was tiresome. She preferred to incubate a different sort of realm, one cooler, more conflicted, more belated and less infatuated. But let’s be clear. In such a time to do so was risky, in fact, damn near impossible. It was always better to wait for things to die away.
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Read the complete novel 'The Ecstatic Silence' here.