Saturday, July 2, 2016

the last book I ever read (The Visiting Privilege: New and Collected Stories by Joy Williams, excerpt eight)

from The Visiting Privilege: New and Collected Stories by Joy Williams:

We went to New York City once. To this day I don’t know why she insisted on it. “Why don’t we go to the Grand Canyon?” I said, but she wanted to do something different. We’d seen the Grand Canyon. She wanted to go to that restaurant, Windows on the World, was it? And she wanted to take in some musical theater. That’s exactly how she put it, “I want to take in some musical theater.” She’s had a job for years with P & R, working with heavy machinery, loppers and saws and stuff, and first thing at LaGuardia she falls on the stairs and sprains her ankle. It’s all she can do to hobble from bed to bathroom in the crummy little hotel room we have. So I’m supposed to be showing the boy New York City. He was around nine. We had just emerged from a subway, the boy and I, totally disoriented, and this Mexican guy passes by and grunts at me and lifts his chin at this woman standing beside us waiting for the light to change and she’s blind with dark glasses and a cane, clearly blind, and the guy’s saying, without speaking—Do your duty, man, I’m going the other way.

The blind don’t grab on to you like you’d think or clutch your hand. She just put her finger on my jacket with the lightest touch.

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