26 Jun
The Ecstatic Silence: 50

He moved from empty table to empty table, swooping in before the waitress removed the leftovers. Then he caught the waitresses’ eye and she stared at him with scornful distaste. Johnny looked away and then scurried sidewise as if makeshift. He felt entangled in improvised difficulty. He wanted to stand in a certain relation to the waitress – maybe go right up to her fearlessly, look her straight in the eye and say something like:

‘Look here, you and I, we know what this situation is. It’s not that I’m stealing anything. These cakes and left-overs would only be thrown away. What difference does it make? I'm hungry. They would be thrown away. You see the situation don't you? So we are both in a way bound up together. You shouldn’t be ashamed of me, no, not at all, much less, disapproving. I am like you. In fact, I have credentials I could show you proving that I am educated. I have certain responsibilities. I might end up making something of myself. You’d not be surprised if I did if you knew me. You see? We are not at all on different sides of the divide. In fact, we are close to each other. There is something between us that makes all this hostility ridiculous. You must see it. Of course you must. The utter stupidity of people.’ 

He might have continued::

‘ We might launch on the infinite process of finding a relation between us and go on doing so forever, as it were. Let's see. If relations are facts that exist between facts, then what we need is an account of whatever comes between the relations and these other facts. But have no fear… I have seen what it takes to do that. I was standing in the empty structures and saw everything as emptiness. It is and isn’t an object. It explains the unity of everything. The cathedral in fact…. ’

It ended with him having to quit the place quickly, feeling the eyes of everyone now watching him with offensive indignation. It was as if they accused him of some obvious devious infringement. It was no use trying to explain anything to these damned fools. That would be seen as a deliberate avoidance of incomprehensible strangeness. It would be reckoned as being somehow to the detriment of their own honour. They were all behaving as if they were wanting to show the firmness of their own characters. They were straightforward characters finding theselves in circumstances that had been deliberately intended to insult them. What they did was a necessary consequence of circumstances that bound them. It was a stormy scene where they acted with disdain, rudeness and indecency. But what else could they have done? No one is free to rise above the force of circumstances. This was what Johnny felt about the whole sad incident. Only misunderstandings stood between them and him at the present time.

At once he felt a stubborn desire to stay and force his way into their circle. He was within his rights was what he thought. He stopped once as if rooted to the spot. He then leapt forward without looking back and feeling no fatigue – the first time in days – set off.

‘There it goes again,’ he quietly muttered to himself, as if gripped by an untoward defeatism.