Thursday, August 7, 2008

How to talk to a widower

Doug Parker has a mantra: "I had a wife. Her name was Hailey. Now she's gone. And so am I." At this point, the pain of losing his wife in a plane accident is the only grounding force in his life; pot and alcohol haze over his days while he struggles to pull together the remnants of a slick suburban life. At the same time, Doug's 16-year old stepson is desperately reaching out for his love. And then there's Doug's twin sister's problems. And Doug's father's senility.

This is raw. It's written well, but it hurts.

p. 77: "But as bad as the house is, I rarely leave it. Because the pain is my last link to her, so as much as it hurts, I wrap it around myself like a blanket, like a teenaged girl cutting jagged lines on her inner thigh with a razor blade, inflicting the hurt on myself just because I need to feel something. I'm not ready for time to heal this wound, but I also know I'm powerless to stop it. And knowing that makes me fight harder than ever to hold on to the pain and anchor myself in this tragedy while it's still freshly tragic. So every so often I pull at my scabs like a dog, desperately trying to draw some fresh blood from my open wound, but even as I do it, I know the day will come when I pull off that scab and there's no blood underneath it, just the soft pink expanse of virgin skin. And when that finally happens, when time has inevitably had its way with me, then I'll know she's gone for good."

1 comment:

Titianlibrarian said...

p. 335: "There has never been any helping Claire. For whatever reason, my beautiful, brilliant sister will always struggle against her own deeply ingrained compulsion to repeatedly slash and burn and rise from the ashes. She will always mistrust her own happiness, will feel compelled to subvert it, and realizing this makes me feel sad and old...and none of it matters because I have no wisdom to impart and Claire is Claire and I'm me and we'll both always be defective to some degree. Maybe it's the price we have to pay for never having had to be whole on our own because we always had each other to fill in the gaps. Whatever it is, I don't like knowing that she'll never be truly happy, but all I can do is hope that maybe becoming a mother will wake something up in her, activate some long-dormant contentment gene."