Sunday, February 19, 2012
The Books: A Sport and A Pastime by James Salter 3
"As for Anne-Marie, she lives in Troyes now, or did. She is married, I suppose there are children. They walk together on Sundays, the sunlight falling upon them. They visit friends, talk, go home in the evenings, deep in the life we all agree is so greatly to be desired."
Yes. This is it. Not how it is done, the positions, the fact that she is taken from behind, the anal sex, the descriptions of fucking. None of that matters when it is all eclipsed by the final line. Her marriage is a kind of defeat when placed here like a quickly scrawled shopping list. All that has gone before is now lost and we feel the regret of its passing.
Holly, my holly has this in her future if we are to believe the stories of great loves. Cinderella, Romeo and Juliet, Mr Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet. All destined for some compromise that involves day after day of what is called love. How can I be so cynical? Sometimes it is ok. Sometimes it is the best of things. I lie every night in the same bed on the same side and, in that moment before sleep, I stretch my hand out and touch skin that it is so familiar that it might be my own. In that nightly touch I hold all my fears of loss, memories of night terrors, memories of sex and sensuality and love. So much in just one stroke of a finger, but most times it is enough. I do agree that this life is desired. I don't take it for granted. Still I struggle to find the flight across france, the night after night of new adventures, the love that drowns us both. That is a more short term proposition, that kind of relentless passion. It is another side of my life, a challenge that I can rise to if I am cut loose. In that nightly caress I carry my regret as well as my gratefulness. I carry all of the Salter, the middle and the ending. I am at the end I suppose. Which is why, perhaps, I am always so sad.