As in all parties, festivals, gatherings and the like there are detours, flares like big arrows pointing elsewhere over the ruts of whatever had been happening before, and they create lurches in the whole momentum and can kill its engine or at least bore left and right when either is a mistake.
She felt something happening at the far end of the room and it was true that there was a rush and sense of urgency in the crowd as they slowly looped like a new convulsion. Everyone was looking beyond the French window doors which were opened to the rolling lights and great laughter as if a crank was at work, lifting the atmosphere to another level. Someone was talking loud and was guiding enormous merriment from across there to where she was and she frowned and realised that the interruption had swayed away any vagueness in the situation with the guy listening because Yves was sympathetically smiling, as if he had heard the joke from over there even though there was no way he had, and trying to touch her hair which in the smoky red light trilled and fell down a little by her ears and forehead, and there was no interest at all in albatrosses and their wild environs and mobile prey, his interest pure landfill.
But if it had been a joke the mood shifted abruptly and voices rose and the argument that ensued was one where there seemed no way you were going to get any protection for one’s back, it was purely an instrument in hand, a consciousness of struggle where common interests and ideas were dissolved by renunciation, which seemed endlessly stupid and futile and contradictory to meaning. It was of course the Rapture Event, the framework for all talk these days, the whole thing indestructible and indelible. And Gowry was the tall thin looker who was saying, calmly, removing his spectacles so that his eyes shone into the sleepless lights,
‘ It’s as if we have two truths, one of knowledge and one of life, one active, one static, one separating itself from evil, the other all good, the first one is real, the second intuitive, the first a fleeting moment, the second an eternity…’ he said.
Lena stretched a little and then tapped her head. ‘So you’re saying…?’
‘The Rapture is the first. It’s what everyone has fleetingly felt, it’s a moment of reality carried to the extreme limit. It’s why we need to struggle,’ said Gower.
Some nodded and others held their thoughts to themselves. It wasn’t just inertia, illwill or awkwardness that saw faces and concentration drift, nor was it humilty of the sort that draws people together but there was something else, perhaps an awareness that all we’re going to be able to know is deception, the sort of deception that if discovered mustn’t be turned to for fear of annihilation, pillars of salt and all that dense and religious hokem, up there with adam’s rib and women, the tendency of life to conceal its ongoing roar, like confusing thunder with lightening, or gunshot with a method. Some events are such that they are a port of departure rather than a destination, and can’t be created because they’re part of a series that’s already been started.
‘And why we struggle against the evil we all saw. The evil that it revealed to us,’ Gower added.
‘ But that makes us soldiers,’ reflected Lena, scowling at the blazing fire in the bowl.
‘Pilgrims. We’re pilgrims. And in the old religions they were kind of God’s footmen. God’s soldiers. Don’t forget…’ said Gower on guard against insinuations but well able to take care of them too when pressed, which is what he thought Lena was doing.
There is a sadness which is about something either beginning or ending, but isn’t the actual start or finish but just the emotion attached, and as such another barrier between any way someone might try and grasp or represent the situation truly. Gower felt as if whatever they said, the justification would be a kind of retrospection, and as such, would already have gone on past whatever they had hoped to grasp, and this awakened in him a kind of hungry longing, and made him feel haughty and refined, like an elder making tallies and wondering how high in estimates he’d reach, when set against the ones who came out of history, Da Vinci, say, and his maturing sombreness, his impatience with painting , Mona Lisa and St Anne and Two Others outstripping his own age even though his drawings of lower extremities such as feet were rubbish clumsy blunders, where right swapped with left and libidinal repressions and countless causes never get in, like Hamlet seeking his mother’s smile in the Giocondo or something. Like everything's different. Think Goethe, Nietzsche or Shakespeare.
Whereas Lena saw him as a child never pausing long enough to learn, and his fidgeting was scratched into God, Ego, Orpheus and all the rest the Rapture got pleased to be called. His mind was surely in throes, but wasn't so great a mind as he supposed it to be, and really, he should mind his own business rather than make out he could see the total with so many missing parts clearly obvious, to a certain degree at least. She held herself to herself, and simply wanted to have another drink and a dance without having to suffer him anymore, which was violently extreme and personal but there it was, all else promising a dreary road and along the way just puny exploits at best.
But Gower also saw that by pressing at him she was making him look idealistic and that wasn’t so bad a thing given the mellowness of the situation and the stage everyone seemed to be in, one where there was always a threat of weariness, insufficiency, constriction, self-contempt – these things were inevitable when every day was about eternity and seemed too narrow, and the need for further travels was always aroused, but only so long as it could be alien to oneself, this is what he thought, only so long as the influence of each day was raising one to a higher level, where the alien world being created remained alien, for fear of refuting yourself.
Read 47094 from the beginning here.
Read the complete novel 'The Ecstatic Silence' here.