Wednesday, June 26, 2013

excerpts from Great House, Nicole Krauss

Our kiss was anticlimactic. It wasn't that the kiss was bad, but it was just a note of punctuation in our long conversation, a parenthetical remark made in order to assure each other of a deeply felt agreement, a mutual offer of companionship, which is so much more rare than sexual passion or even love.

There is a fallacy that the powerful emotion of youth mellows with time. Not true. One learns to control and suppress it. But it doesn't lessen. It simply hides and concentrates itself in more discreet places. When one accidentally stumbles into one of these abysses, the pain is spectacular. I find these little abysses everywhere now. 


Do children die? you asked. I felt a pain open in my chest. Sometimes, I said. Perhaps I should have chosen other words. Never, or simply, No. But I didn't lie to you. At least you can say that of me. Then, turning your little face to me, without flinching, you asked, Will I die? And as you said the words horror filled me as it had never before, tears burned my eyes, and instead of saying what I should have said, Not for a long, long time, or Not you my child, you alone will live forever, I said, simply, Yes. And because, not matter how you suffered, deep inside you were still an animal like any other who wants to live, feel the sun, and be free, you said, But I don't want to die. The terrible injustice of it filled you. And you looked at me as if I were responsible. 

 ~ Great House, Nicole Krauss

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