Tuesday, January 09, 2007

she said, "yes"

I just finished The Year of Yes by Maria Dahvana Headley, and I enjoyed it. So, I'm sharing:
According to the literature you're choosing to apply to your current situation (you've carefully forgotten that you ever read Last Exit to Brooklyn), you are supposed to be wearing sequins to breakfast and getting your hand kissed by a heterosexual version of Cole Porter. Incandescently intelligent men are supposed to be toasting you with Dom Periognon. Instead you're sharing a cockroach-ridden outer-borough apartment with two roommates and one dysfunctional cat. You're spending your evenings sitting on your kitchen floor, drinking poisonous red jug wine, and quoting Sartre. Hell is not only other people, it is you, too. You're not getting laid, because even if you were meeting something other than substandard men, you don't have a bedroom to call your own. And instead of the smoldering, soul-baring, Abelard-to-Heloise-sans-castration solicitations you rightfully deserve, you're getting stupefying lines like: "I'm listening to NPR. Do you want to come over and make out?"
That would be a direct quote.

Maybe love was like Godot. You spent the whole play talking about it, but it never actually made it onstage. You waited anyway. Of course you did.

"May you find joy, even in the darkest places," I said, and then felt like an ass. "Not that this is the darkest place," I clarified. "Not that I wish you dark places. Not that I think only bad things happen in the dark. Not that I'm an advocate of bright lights. I like lampshades. I like dimmer switches."

Despite my vows regarding actors, I'd fallen for him. And, despite what I'd thought the night before, despite the long and profound conversation we'd had in the bar, it seemed that he was so far from falling for me that the possibility hadn't even occurred to him. For him, this was casual. For me, this was my previously state-of-the-art heart hissing and smoking, sending off emergency alarums, and finally, wretchedly, breaking down entirely.

"I'm wrapped with guilt. I have to stop thinking about it."
"That's what I said."
I thought sadly about the predicament of the modern man, wrapped in a silky shroud of guilt, comfortably wallowing across guilty sheets.

On paper, it was so easy to search through your old drafts and find that darling you'd killed. You could reinstate the passage, as though you'd never even thought about murder. In life, not so. You'd change a part of yourself – a flawed part, maybe, but a flawed part you might have, secretly, been a little bit in love with. You'd know if was for the best, that you'd only manage to proceed if you revised whatever thing was messing up the overall structure of your existence. But inevitably, at some point, you'd want to go back on the changes. It would be easier to stay the same old rumpled version, the same typos and blotches, the same old severe climactic flaws.


posted by Jennifer at 1/09/2007 01:18:00 PM

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