Monday, February 14, 2005

Happy Valentine's Day

She had driven all night until the sun came up behind her and she felt calm and clearheaded as you do at such times. She went into a cafe and ordered coffee and fried eggs. She sat at the counter looking at the usual things there are behind cafe counters -- the coffee-pots and the bright, probably stale pieces of lemon and raspberry pie, the thick glass dishes they put ice-cream or jello in. It was these dishes that told her of her changed state. She could not have said she found them shapely, or eloquent, without misstating the case. All she could have said was that she saw them in a way that wouldn't be possible to a person in any state of love. She felt their solidity with a convalescent gratitude whose weight settled comfortably into her brains and feet. She realized then that she had come into this cafe without the least far-fetched idea of Simon, so it seemed the world had stopped being a stage where she might meet him, and gone back to being itself. During that bountifully clear half-hour before her breakfast made her so sleepy she had to get to a motel, where she fell asleep with her clothes on and the curtains open to the sun, she thought how love removes the world for you, and just as surely when it's going well as when it's going badly. This shouldn't have been, and wasn't, a surprise to her; the surprise was that she so much wanted, required, everything to be there for her, thick and plain as ice-cream dishes, so that it seemed to her that it might not be the disappointment, the losses, the dissolution, she had been running from, any more than the opposite of those things; the celebration and shock of love, the dazzling alteration. Even if that was safe, she couldn't accept it. Either way you were robbed of something -- a private balance spring, a little dry kernel of probity. So she thought.

-- Alice Munro, from Who Do You Think You Are?


Anonymous Ward said...


5:13 a.m., February 19, 2005  

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