“Love isn’t just a matter of looking at someone, I think now, but also of looking with them, of facing what they face.”
– Garth Greenwell, What Belongs to You
The pain is stronger than ever. I've seen bit of lost Paradises and I know I'll be hopelessly tryng to return even if it hurts. The deeper I swing into the regions of nothingness the further I'm thrown back into myself, each time more and more frightening depths below me, until my very being becomes dizzy. There are brief glimpses of clear sky, like falling out of a tree, so I have some idea where I'm going, but there is still too much clarity and straight order of things, I am getting always the same number somehow. So I vomit out broken bits of words and sintaxes of the countries I've passed through, broken limbs, slaughtered houses, geographies. My heart is poisoned, my brain left in shreds of horror and sadness. I've never let you down, world, but you did lousy things to me. This feeling of going nowhere, of being stuck, the feeling of Dante's first strophe, as if afraid of the next step, next stage. As long as I don't sum up myself, stay on the surface, I don't have to move forwards, I don't have to make painful and terrible decisions, choices, where to go and how. Because deeper there are terrible decisions to make, terrible steps to take. It's at forty that we die, those who did not die at twenty. It is at forty that we betray ourselves, our bodies, our souls, by either staying on the surface or by going further but through the easiest decisions, retarding, throwing our souls back by thousands of incarnations. But I have come close to the end now, it's the question will I make it or will I not. My life has become too painful and I keep asking myself, what am I doing to get out of where I am. what am I doing with my life.
It took me long to realize that it's love that distinguishes man from stones, trees, rain, and that we can lose our love and that love grows through loving, yes, I've been so completely lost, so truly lost. There were times I wanted to change the world, I wanted to take a gun and shoot my way through the Western Civilization. Now I want to leave others alone, they have their terrible fates to go. Now I want to shoot my own way through myself, into the thick night of myself. Thus I change my course, going inwards, thus I am jumping into my own darkness. There must be something, somehow, I feel, very soon, something that should give me some sign to move one or another direction. I must be very open and watchful now, completely open. I know it's coming. I am walking like a somnambulist waiting for a secret signal, ready to go one or another way, listening into this huge white silence for the weakest signal or call.
And I sit here alone and far from you and it's night and I'm reflecting on everything all around me and I am thinking of you.
I saw it in your eyes, in your love, you too are swinging towards the depths of your own being in longer and longer circles. I saw happiness and pain in your eyes and reflection of the Paradises lost and regained and lost again, that terrible loneliness and happiness, yes, and I reflect upon this and I think about you, like two lonely space pilots in outer cold space, as I sit here this late night alone and I think about all this.
I had learned to find equal meaning in the repeated rituals of domestic life. Setting the table. Lighting the candles. Building the fire. Cooking. All those soufflés, all that crème caramel, all those daubes and albóndigas and gumbos. Clean sheets, stacks of clean towels, hurricane lamps for storms, enough water and food to see us through whatever geological event came our way. These fragments I have shored against my ruins, were the words that came to mind then. These fragments mattered to me. I believed in them.
these fragments ∆ Joan Didion, from "The Year of Magical Thinking"