Someway they began to exchange conversation, half words and thoughts that tried themselves out like confessions that were only prepared to go out half way and could be withdrawn or disguised at the first sign of trouble but in the end went further as if something finer and better than they had thought at first revealed itself.
What did she see there? A large uncle figure, or bishop, or father even? There were intervening images flashing by that caught her attention as she smiled and watched out. There are better systems of prisons, was one of them. Clichés buried suns at midnight: the bottom line came. Inevitably the end of the day followed like a Home Secretary. He talked about an unhappy few months but was careful to let her know he had had some successes that were like archipelagos of mystical romance, wood thrushes calling through fog, that kind, verbal beautiful stuff. He indeed wrote poetry and studied – taught – philosophy without succumbing to either beyond the usual temptations.
Something in his cold looks was attractive, but there were other things that began to annoy her as they continued to talk. Increasingly the conversation was a kind of him fumbling at her soul in degrees straight and others warping off. And as she finished talking about her interest and work – she had been struggling to complete a particularly tough task of what increasingly was complicated and complex – he had seemed to say something that was as intrusive and dominating as a hand inside your shirt. Like some slow impossible process of stunning a creature by fondling and being flirtatious. She felt the coldness of anyone who finds there’s a play being made for what is precious and not for sale and surely needs no one else to possess it.
She turned her head away but more importantly she turned everything about her away, just a little, and started wondering about the deception that he was playing out, and the subtlety of its performance, and its quiet insolence and put down that he probably wouldn’t have noticed as anything other than the right kind of sensuous interest between the sexes from his experience, his groping life. His tired looking eyes seemed like pouches of old-time intensity maybe, and perhaps that’s what he saw when he stood and combed his thinning grey hair and reminded himself to push back his shoulders and resist the slouching fall of his patriarchal forcefield, something he knew was right there, taking place on his crust and deeper, where there were no healing virtues to be found, like a line of love-lyrics that were now more versions of his vigorous monosyllabics and casual harm. He didn’t think of himself as an implicit hammer. He didn’t feel his own violence that was still a hard and clean trapdoor his voice would open and hope she’d fall in. His visionary force was hunger and wakefulness.
She didn’t want to feel irritated but she was. Like when some pages fail to open and then none of them do. It’s as if some part of the universe decided or felt obliged or couldn’t help it but just didn’t want to express itself anymore. She often found things like that in odd asides and looks from people – where the usual current suddenly wasn’t available and the voices she felt sure were inside were turned off. She could make a stand and repeat some more. Or see how he might be different this time round, on account of his grey hair and his wrinkled up face that looked like bleached ferns had been laid out by the eyes and the notches round the chin, the leathery quality that contrasted more now than before with the slow waves on the waves on the water whiter and whiter and whiter whilst he held his coffee in the sun and rising wind which, god knows, was cool but not frosty so he really shouldn’t be shivering like he was.
He had shivered and she didn’t say anything about it. She looked away to a couple sitting just down from them with doughnuts and soda biscuits . It would be different if these two women – young and animated as they talked and took their breakfast in the sunlight by this gleam of water - if they had somehow been able to join them. Because then, being who they were, they’d have understood her own complaint. Saved her.
What goes on in households of men? Was there a part of a deep running river that got pooled there, and stopped flowing on to the continuum? Did the water circle and bury down in a huge vortex of dark with buried axe handles and animal bones holed at the pit of this? Everything in his voice reverberated like a hokey bow and arrow. Every moment is a lyric intense moment asking that this bleak torrid depth be circumnavigated.
At which thought she felt a little mad and laughed gently to herself, chiding herself for being what her mum would say 'all melodramatic.' That was a kind of alkaline, a chemical word she’d use. Her mum would never admit to brief pregnant seconds, no periods like that at all in fact. And yet although she at first seemed limited and narrow she wasn’t, not at all. She was a fury really, riding across the drudgery of hard stubborn days married to someone she treated like he’d camped on her land.
Read 47094 from the beginning here.
Read the complete novel 'The Ecstatic Silence' here.