. P L A I N G I R L .
‘From this stories compression may be drawn a lesson’
To Candice with much love and admiration from Keith – Christmas 1996
R called me from Liverpool Street, and waxed lyrical about a wonderful little book he had picked up freely from the Wivenhoe Station book exchange shelf, and had just read in completion upon his hour-long journey. This shelf is where you are free to donate a book and free to take another book in exchange, to read on your way to your destination.
[After writing this post I decided to relay back to R my understanding of his perception of the novel – on doing so he said ‘That is not what I said, – what I said was’ ‘The book was filled with many little insights whereby Arthur Miller in the most wonderfully short but clever sentences had revealed effectively and accurately exactly what he wanted to convey and reveal, where as other authors would have taken whole chapters to have done so’.]
The book he insinuated was filled with many little insights, that in the most wonderfully short but clever sentences revealed startling truths. He shared a little of his delightful find, which intrigued me to want to rush out and read it. R had said something (which I can’t quite recall in its precision) along the lines of – I must read it for its great insight, but he insinuated that after reading it (possibly based on my reaction to it) maybe the future – our futures, would take different paths. His open invitation at my expense made me feel uncertain of his motives ?
I often have the feeling that even though R constantly plays the devoted ‘husband’ that underneath there are other feelings going on, to which outwardly he keeps hidden – else remains in denial, but for his outbursts. His reaction to the novel and his revelatory recognition with the character of Sam absolutely has me slightly bemused or rather amused, and slightly ‘O k – where to next?’ But never the less I enjoyed his honesty and authentic admittance where before there has only ever been refusal and denial of his contradictory but true feelings towards me, and possibly to himself about our ‘reality’.
I was slightly intrigued and slightly irritated that in his mini revelatory experience, he of course had associated me with Janice, for I have never been plain, neither have I been in the situations that Janice has. However upon reading the front slip, the nuanced parable beyond, read poignantly.
I read it twice in two days.
The Novel itself was not a revelation to me, but the revelation was in seeing R’s response to it.
The book came with the above inscription perfectly inscribed in pencil.
How any one could abandon such a perfectly inscribed beautiful little hardback gift (which happened to be the perfect size, and by Arthur Miller so exquisitely written; in just 51 pages) I shall never know.
I once met Arthur Miller in 1987, the year of the launch of his autobiography. He was at the Young Vic Theatre directing one of his plays, and I asked him for his autograph (which I still have to this day). Awesome, deeply thoughtful, intellectual man. Of course I wanted to read this little novel straight away, after all this story had the power to shift something in R’s thinking. And bizarrely R’s mood has been somewhat lighter and happier, as if unburdened and freed by what the book had revealed to him.
I never received any Christmas gift from him this year, that alone spoke in a thousand decibels, and apart from my hurting, it revealed an unspoken truth that I knew one day, because of our situation, would be imminent. Upon collecting his 30-year-old adopted daughter, from his first marriage, (whose car had broken down) just after Christmas, he also got a ‘planned chance’ meeting again with his first wife. Maybe this also had something to do with his new outlook.
New hope maybe.
I hoped I may have sold my beach hut this week, though it still hasn’t happened as of yet. A bizarrely coincidental but fun meeting with someone whose mother is St Padre Pio’s cousin. We had a great very Catholic conversation :0) He coincidentally had the same birthday as me too. God or Odd was his saying. I was very honest with him about the reasons for selling it. He told me to take it to prayer. And then I invited him to Mass, he and his new wife are new to the area. – He came to Mass too.
If the beach hut were to sell, then I could buy my own car, which couldn’t be taken away from me as my current vehicle has been at times (in the climax when things get overheated here!) because it’s still under R’s finance. Then the more expensive larger vehicle could be sold off relieving R of that finance. The house was valued too, because the estate agent called on the off-chance ‘with a potential buyer’ – post Christmas business cold calling. I got it valued just out of curiosity – just in case.
‘Oh Death, Oh Death, she said almost aloud, waiting on the corner for the light to change, and wondering at her fortune having lived into beauty.’
Still waiting having . . .
I have a feeling in my heart that the new bishop will be announced next weekend – else very soon.