Friday, April 5, 2024

the last book I ever read (Jernigan: A Novel by David Gates, excerpt eleven)

from Jernigan: A Novel by David Gates:

The stove grumbled: something inside shifting and settling. Me in the Morris chair; Martha, feet tucked under her, in the corner of the couch farthest from me. Each of us sitting still, yet voyaging through deep space, as if aboard the Starship Enterprise, where there was no north or south or even up or down, really. On the one hand, I wanted to see this whole deal blow into a million pieces right now, as in the Big Bang theory, and to get in the car and head for New Hampshire. But on the other hand, I hoped this would be just one more dustup, and over by the time Star Trek came on. Maybe tonight, in tribute to Christmas, they’d have the one about the space people Captain Kirk thinks are sun-worshippers but actually turn out to be space Christians who worshop the capital-S Son (i.e., of God). Though probably, if they were going to run it, they would have run it last night. Martha and I were really out there, boy. This whole thing was making me remember when Judith and I got married. Most of our friends were there (no family except Rick: she had vetoed her mother, forcing me to veto my father as compensation) and the minister had charged them to “support and defend” our marriage. Defend, yet: a minister in touch with his times. What he meant, I imagine, was that when one of us wanted to bag it, once of them was supposed to talk us out of it. Or that Uncle Fred wasn’t supposed to introduce me to women he worked with anymore. But with me and Martha: even the kids had cut us loose as soon as they’d managed to get us together. And of course we didn’t even know each other. I looked out the window. Snow really coming down now, boy.

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