14 July 2013

You both smile, you both know


                                                     by Karl O. Knausgaard

. . . . . .
            Did she suddenly begin to cry out?
          Yes, suddenly she began to cry out. They must have thought they were so far away from people that they needn't exercise any restraint. Appalled and ashamed, Cain turned away, finished as fast as he could buttoned his fly, and tried to think about something else as he walked back, but the picture of them stayed with him, all the time he could see her flapping breasts and her swelling rump, his quick thrusts, and he thought almost with fury that that wasn't how it ought to be, not like that. It should be as it was in the dance below, where the different worlds barely touched one another, and the one glimpsed just enough of the other to want to learn more about it. The boys' world happy and arrogant or silent and determined, the girls' shy or impish, sensitive or strapping, with secretive minds and a laughter you could let yourself be completely filled with, and then dream about: their faces then! These sudden flashes of a girl's lovely features that come while working or before going to sleep, the lightness you're suffused with, the happiness that doesn't stop there, at the frontiers of the face, but goes on spreading, and at last envelopes everything there is. A pair of worn clogs standing on the doorstep, the rain that begins to fall on them, this is her, both the shoes and the rain are her, and you hurry over, pick up the shoes with sudden tenderness, put them in the hall, and run out into the rain, face turned up to the sky, for she is falling on you, and on the grass and the trees, and on the river and the hills. The green caterpillar crawling over the stone wall that isn't even aware of your finger, but crawls up it, makes you happy because it reminds you that she exists, just as smoke from a chimney that's whipped by the wind and dissolves in the gray air reminds you that she exists, and the brown water in the ruts of a cart track when the sun shines on it, and the green grass beside it, and the squirrel that each day hops along the same branches of the same trees at the same time of day, this, too, reminds you she exists, as it runs across the road with its bushy tail in the air, climbs a tree on the other side, and is gone. Everything reminds you of her, everything makes you happy, and the only thing you really want is to see her again. Perhaps she'll come walking along the road at dusk? Perhaps you'll push your plate aside, walk into the hall, put on your boots, and go out to meet her there? If so, it will be with a trembling heart. And perhaps the sun will shine on the pine barren on the other side of the river, while the sky above the meadow is gray and the air filled with soft rain, and perhaps she'll stop when she catches sign of you, because maybe she feels the same, maybe she's been thinking of you during these days and weeks, too. So it won't really matter if you haven't anything to say to each other, because you'll both be feeling the same and wanting the same: silently you'll walk side by side down the road, the grass making your shoes wet, she glancing at you now and then, you glancing at her now and then, you both smile, you both know, this is you.
          It should be like this and only like this, thought Cain, and halted at the top of the meadow.
. . . . . .

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