Thursday, November 24, 2022

the last book I ever read (Liberation Day: Stories by George Saunders, excerpt eleven)

from Liberation Day: Stories by George Saunders:

Then came a change. Because she was in love, or fancied herself to be, with Randy, and because, I expect, she could feel that not only did he not feel the same way, he didn’t feel much about her at all (and why would he, given that she was, as mentioned, expecienced by most people as a slightly puzzling blankness), she started, perhaps, to panic a little, to sense, maybe for the first time in her life, that her natural way of being was not interesting enough to get the attention of (much less delight or captivate) someone like, even, Randy, who, I should say, was no font of originality himself but at least had a big truck he loved and would wash with pleasure every Friday after his shift and sometimes would at least make a dirty joke or pick up a strange-looking damaged orange and do the funny voice in which he imagined such an orange might speak, and was, for example, a passionate advocate for, and defender of, his mother, a mean old thing who lived a few houses down from the store, a strongly self-certain lightning bolt of constant opining who presented as a fierce pair of black men’s glasses moving around on a tanned, agitated face.

But Randy, as they say, thought his mother hung the moon, and this was because she thought he hung it. It was a kind of mutual admiration society. He got along nicely with her. And she got along nicely with him. Which was, I thought, we all thought, part of the reason he’d never married, perhaps.

It was a small town, and we did a good deal of talking about such things.

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