Sunday, December 9, 2018

the last book I ever read (Domenico Starnone's Trick, excerpt five)

from Trick by Domenico Starnone (Translated from the Italian by Jhumpa Lahiri):

What stupid lack of foresight, I only cared about the inessential. I was still crouched against the glass, I was afraid even to stand. I was like those people who hate flying and spend the whole time never going to the bathroom, never even crossing their legs, terrified that if they simply leave their spot the plane will tilt, wobble, flip over, and plummet to a crash. On the other hand I had to come up with something, shout, seek—let’s see—to attract the attention of neighbors, of passersby. But how? I was on the sixth floor, peripheral to all that was happening on the street, overwhelmed by the noise. Never mind the fact that, if no one noticed the screaming voices from the cartoons, who would register my own cries, choked by the cold? I sighed, I was cooking up excuses and I knew it. What really prevented me from waving my arms and calling out for help was shame. I’d wanted to be more than the place I’d grown up in, I’d sought out the world’s approval. And now that I was at the end of my life and taking stock of it, I couldn’t bear looking like a hysterical little man who screamed for help from the balcony of the old house in which he’d been a young boy, the one he’d fled from, full of ambition. I was ashamed of being locked outside, I was ashamed that I hadn’t known how to avoid it, I was ashamed that I hadn’t known how to avoid it, I was ashamed to find myself lacking the controlled haughtiness that had always prevented me from asking anyone for help, I was ashamed of being an old man imprisoned by a child.

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