Monday, February 26, 2024

the last book I ever read (Lost in the City: Stories by Edward P. Jones, excerpt eight)

from Lost in the City: Stories by Edward P. Jones:

Madeleine said nothing more to Arnisa, and she and Samuel drove silently back to Washington. At her apartment, she got out without a word and did not hear Samuel say he was sorry. She opened the building’s front door and made sure it locked behind her. When she was back in her apartment, she looked out the window and found that the car had died on him once again. The car was parked in a space near the entrance to the parking lot with its hood up and Samuel was leaning into the car, a man being swallowed up. She lived on the second floor, facing the parking lot, and she could hear him and what he was doing. White people passed and paid no attention to him.

He worked late into the afternoon, now and again stopping to try to start the car or to step back and stare at it as if some solution might rise up from the roof and announce itself. The day was completely ruined for Madeleine, and throughout the afternoon as her father worked she sat angry in the chair with its back to the window. That morning she had looked forward to going to the deli down the street where she and Curtis sometimes bought sandwiches and pastries. But she knew she could not go out with Samuel blocking the path to the deli and the deli would soon be closed. There were few cars or people passing, and most of the world was quiet. The loudest sounds were those of her father’s muttering and of his tools against the car’s metal, all of it reminding her, first before anything else, that the day was forever wearing itself away.

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