s y s a f r a n s k y ’ s n o t e b o o k I’m here agaIn wIth nothIng to say. I guess
judgments — solid citizens on their way to work. It’s amazing the day needs to start this way. No gas for the car, no ticket for the train, and I don’t have George W. Bush to blame. I haven’t written in more than a week. Forgive me, O Muse, for being what a couple of lovebIrds norma and I are
absent without leave. Maybe it’s the Prozac. Maybe it’s the rain. these days, relishing this season of relative tranquility. At this Maybe it’s because I’m too damn vain. Can’t I put down simple age we can’t fool ourselves into thinking it will go on forever words and send them out the door? Does it matter how they’re — the tranquility, that is; the love, I can’t say. At the door to that dressed? Does it matter if they’re poor? mystery, stronger men than I sit weeping.
of course the door Is locked. of course I
I learn to undress her, but not wIth my hands,
need to knock. What did I expect: a uniformed doorman roll- ing out a red carpet and announcing, “So good to see you this morning, Mr. Safransky”? Did I expect the God of Writing to In bed thIs mornIng, norma seemed more Inter-
invite me up to his penthouse suite, sweep all the crap off his ested in petting our cat Zooey than in hugging me. So I felt hurt, and resentful, and made a racket in the kitchen when I knew she was meditating upstairs. How little it takes to start a war.
I’m sIttIng In my easy chaIr, revolvIng around
the sun at sixty-seven thousand miles an hour. There’s noth- thIs Is the kInd of mornIng I’d dIvorce myself
ing I can do about that, no way to slow it down, and no way if I could. But what would I do then? Probably run out and find to change the fact that with each complete orbit, I’m a year someone else with the same irritating habits, the same unfath- older. Still, here in the First World cabin, there’s plenty to eat, plenty to drink, and innumerable drugs, both legal and illegal, to distract me from the nature of the journey.
she watered the plants. I posted a feedIng
I have no problem acknowledgIng that
there was an eternity of not-me before I was born. Why is it so how do I, just another drownIng man, remem-
hard to imagine an eternity of not-me after I die? ber every moment the nature of the shipwreck? How do I cling to the woman I love without pulling her down? How do I cling If a word could only be true enough. If a
to this life I call “mine” without pulling myself down? surrender means surrender, not a dress
even on thIs sunny day, a dark cloud. even
though my wife loves me, and my daughters are healthy, and Barack Obama is president. The Prozac helped; it really did. I last nIght I told norma I dIdn’t want to
was happier, less anxious, more productive. But after a while I make love, then dreamt that I was chasing her all around Paris, missed my old self: his intact libido, his salty tears, even some unable to keep my hands off her, begging her to come back to of his convoluted fears. Now he’s back, and I wonder how far our hotel room. She had places to go, she said, things to do. I, away my Happiness is today. Even on foot, she can cover quite too, had places to go, I told her, and all the streets were named a distance, sauntering down a country road or winking at a Norma, and they all led back to her. Later, I tried to undo the driver and hitching a ride. Maybe she asked to be dropped tiny buttons on the stylish new dress she’d bought. Ten but- off at the airport, where she cashed in some of her frequent- tons. Twenty buttons. Button after button from her neck to her smiler miles and, at this very moment, is relaxing in first-class, ankles. How many buttons were there? I wondered. She laughed the distance between us growing vaster by the minute, as my Happiness flies away from me, drinking champagne and eat- and stIll there’s nothIng I’d rather do than
wrap my arms around her and lose myself inside her: lose the In the crowded streets of my mInd I see
tickets and the passport and my name and date of birth; lose plenty of familiar faces, but how busy and preoccupied they the body I’ve never learned to love; lose the words I love too seem: all my cherished beliefs and ironclad opinions and stern January 2011 The Sun


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