"Met her in '48," he said. "I was twenty-two, on the GI Bill at NYU, the navy behind me, and she was eighteen and only a few months in New York. Had some kind of job there and was going to college, too, but at night. Independent girl from Minnesota. Sure-of-herself girl, or seemed so. Danish on one side, Icelandic on the other. Quick. Smart. Pretty. Tall. Marvelously tall. That statuesque recumbency. Never forgotten it. With her for two years. Used to call her Voluptas. Psyche's daughter. The personification to the Romans of sensual pleasure."
Now he put down his cards, picked up the envelope from where he'd dropped it beside the discard pile, and pulled out the letter. A typewritten letter a couple of pages long. "We'd run into each other. I was in from Adelphi, in the city for the day, and there was Steena, about twenty-four, twenty-five by then. We stopped and spoke, and I told her my wife was pregnant, and she told me what she was doing, and then we kissed goodbye, and that was it. About a week later this letter came to me care of the college. It's dated. She dated it. Here—'August 18, 1954.' 'Dear Coleman,' she says, 'I was very happy to see you in New York. Brief as our meeting was, after I saw you I felt an autumnal sadness, perhaps because the six years since we first met make it wrenchingly obvious how many days of my life are "over." You look very good, and I'm glad you're happy. You were also very gentlemanly. You didn't swoop. Which is the one thing you did (or seemed to do) when I first met you and you rented the basement room on Sullivan Street. Do you remember yourself? You were incredibly good at swooping, almost like birds do when they fly over land or sea and spy something moving, something bursting with life, and dive down—or zero in—and seize upon it. I was astonished, when we met, by your flying energy. I remember being in your room the first time and, when I arrived, I sat in a chair, and you were walking around the room from place to place, occasionally stopping to perch on a stool or the couch. You had a ratty Salvation Army couch where you slept before we chipped in for The Mattress. You offered me a drink, which you handed to me while scrutinizing me with an air of incredible wonder and curiosity, as if it were some kind of miracle that I had hands and could hold a glass, or that I had a mouth which might drink from it, or that I had even materialized at all, in your room, a day after we'd met on the subway. You were talking, asking questions, sometimes answering questions, in a deadly serious and yet hilarious way, and I was trying very hard to talk also but conversation was not coming as easily to me. So there I was staring back at you, absorbing and understanding far more than I expected to understand. But I couldn't find words to speak to fill the space created by the fact that you seemed attracted to me and that I was attracted to you. I kept thinking, "I'm not ready. I just arrived in this city. Not now. But I will be, with a little more time, a few more exchanged notes of conversation, if I can think what I wish to say." ("Ready" for what, I don't know. Not just making love. Ready to be.) But then you "swooped," Coleman, nearly halfway across the room, to where I was sitting, and I was flabbergasted but delighted. It was too soon, but it wasn't.'"
quinta-feira, 26 de março de 2009
Philip Roth, The Human Stain
Publicada por rosé mari às 18:37