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2007-06-30 09:05:54|  分类: 默认分类 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Life Stories

Why the hunger for these? If it is a hunger.Maybe it’s more like bossiness. Maybe we just want to be in charge, ofthe life, no matter who lived it.

It helps if there are photos.No more choices for the people in them — pick this one, dump that one.The livers of the lives in question had their chances, most of whichthey blew. They should have spotted the photographer in the bushes,they ­shouldn’t have chewed with their mouths open, they ­shouldn’thave worn the strapless top, they ­shouldn’t have yawned, they­shouldn’t have laughed: so unattractive, the candid denture. So that’s what she looked like, we say, connecting the snapshot to the year of the torrid affair. Facelike a half-­eaten pizza, and is that him, gaping down her front? Whatdid he see in her, besides cheap lunch? He was already going bald. Whatwas all the fuss about?

I’m working on my own life story. I­don’t mean I’m putting it together; no, I’m taking it apart. It’smostly a question of editing. If you’d wanted the narrative line youshould have asked earlier, when I still knew everything and was morethan willing to tell. That was before I discovered the virtues ofscissors, the virtues of matches.

I was born
, I wouldhave begun, once. But snip, snip, away go mother and father, whiteribbons of paper blown by the wind, with grandparents tossed out forgood measure. I spent my childhood. Enough of that as well.Goodbye dirty little dresses, goodbye scuffed shoes that caused me suchanguish, goodbye well-­thumbed tears and scabby knees, and sadness wornat the edges.

Adolescence can be discarded too, with its saltytanned skin, its fecklessness and bad romance and leakages of seasonalblood. What was it like to breathe so heavily, as if drugged, whilerubbing up against strange leather coats in alleyways? I ­can’tremember.

Once you get started it’s fun. So much free space opens up. Rip, crumple, up in flames, out the window. I was born, I grew up, I studied, I loved, I married, I procreated, I said, I wrote, all gone now. I went, I saw, I did.Farewell crumbling turrets of historic interest, farewell icebergs andwar monuments, all those young stone men with eyes upturned, and riskyvoyages teeming with germs, and dubious hotels, and doorways openingboth in and out. Farewell friends and lovers, you’ve slipped from view,erased, defaced: I know you once had hairdos and told jokes, but I­can’t recall them. Into the ground with you, my tender fur-­brainedcats and dogs, and horses and mice as well: I adored you, dozens ofyou, but what were your names?

I’m getting somewhere now, I’mfeeling lighter. I’m coming unstuck from scrapbooks, from albums, fromdiaries and journals, from space, from time. Only a paragraph left,only a sentence or two, only a whisper.

I was born.
I was.
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