It was a pleasure to burn. - Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451
'Cause Sadie moved like water poured
The shapes she shaped had angels floored
She knew her walk turned wind to fire
A wink from Sadie turned brains to mire" -Tim Seibles, The Ballad of Sadie LaBabe
Sunday, May 07, 2006
a love story, part four
I awoke, however, quite differently. My brother was crying, sitting at the foot of the couch. At first I wanted to ask what was the cause of such hysterical crying, but then I remembered. Our parents are dead.
Instead of having a normal conversation about the funeral that was to take place in six hours, I rose, dressed, and left the house. It was selfish of me, but I couldn't do that. Not now.
The weather was pleasant and I walked the streets of my small hometown, confident that no one would place me after so many years. I was wrong. In less than a half hour, I was spotted and forced to have awkward chit-chat with four different people. It was all the same.
Friendly neighbor says, Oh my, it's good to see you! It's been so long. I wasn't sure you were coming back [with an uncomfortable look and pause]. It's been too long. Then I say, Yes, it has [trying to get over the remark]. FN says, I'm so sorry…
Then their voice trails off and the head bows. I am then put in a position to say something uplifting as though it was their pain. The weather's nice today is something along the lines of my response. Man, it was to be a long day.
I did manage to speak with my brother before we left for the church. He cried. I cried. We confessed our sorrow for the way it ended. We asked the hypothetical; How could she do that? and Why? to empty air.
The Sneetches by Dr. Seuss. This is one of my absolute favorite stories. Focusing on prejudice, it demonstrates the silliness of segregating people based on categories (race, religion, gender, etc). The story's strength is that it shows just how arbitrary these categories are.
The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. In this classic story, a new mother suffering from what we might today call 'post-partum depression,' sinks into a still-deeper depression invisible to her husband, who believes he knows what is best for her. Alone in the yellow-wallpapered nursery of a rented house, she descends into madness.
"Where shall I begin, please your Majesty?" He asked.
"Begin at the beginning," the King said, very gravely, "and go on till you come to the end: then stop."
"But I don't want to go among mad people," Alice remarked.
"Oh, you can't help that," said the Cat: "we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad."
"How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice.
"You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn't have come here."
(both quotes from Lewis Carroll's "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland," available in full-text here.)