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"How often since then has she wondered what might have happened if she'd tried to remain with him; if she'd returned Richard's kiss on the corner of Bleecker and MacDougal, gone off somewhere (where?) with him, never bought the packet of incense or the alpaca coat with the rose-shaped buttons. Couldn't they have discovered something...larger and stranger than what they've got? It is impossible not to imagine that other future, that rejected future, as taking place in Italy or France, among big sunny rooms and gardens; as being full of infidelities and great battles; as a vast and enduring romance laid over a friendship so searing and profound it would accompany them to the grave and possibly even beyond. She could, she thinks, have entered another world. SHe could have had a life as potent and dangerous as literature itself.

Or then again maybe not, Clarissa tells herself. That's who I was. That's who I am---a decent woman with a good apartment, with a stable and affectionate marriage, giving a party. Venture too far for love, she tells herself, and you renounce citizenship in the country you've made for yourself. You end up just sailing from port to port.

Still, there is this sense of missed opportunity. Maybe there is nothing, ever, that can equal the recollection of having been young together. Maybe it's as simple as that. Richard was the person Clarissa loved at her most optimistic moment. Richard had stood beside her at a pond's edge at dusk, wearing cut-off jeans and rubber sandals. Richard had called her Mrs. Dalloway, and they had kissed. His mouth had opened into hers; his tongue (exciting and utterly familiar, she'd never forget it) had worked its way shyly inside until she met it with her own. They'd kissed, and walked around the pond together. In another hour they'd have dinner, and considerable quantities or wine. Clarissa's copy of The Golden Notebook lay on the chipped white nightstand of the attic bedroom where she still slept alone; where Richard had not yet begun to spend alternate nights.

It had seemed like the beginning of happiness, and Clarissa is still sometimes shocked, more than thirty years later, to realize that it was happiness; that the entire experience lay in a kiss and a walk, the anticipation of dinner and a book. The dinner is by now forgotten; Lessing has been long overshadowed by other writers; and even the sex, once she and Richard reached that point, was ardent but awkward, unsatisfying, more kindly than passionate. What lives undimmed in Clarissa's mind more than three decades later is a kiss at dusk on a patch of dead grass, and a walk around a pond as mosquitoes droned in the darkening air. There is still that singular perfection, and it's perfect in part because it seemed, at the time, so clearly to promise more. Now she knows: That was the moment, right then. There has been no other."

from The Hours, Michael Cunningham

Date: 2007-09-03 02:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rrreverb.livejournal.com
LIZZO

two things :
01. beautiful quote. beautiful quote !!!!
02. my cell phone is broken because i accidentally set it in a bamboo plant while i was driving, because the plant was sitting in the cup-holder next to my seat and i wasn't looking because of course I was watching the road... so i can't call you right now -- but i'm home and probably going to sleep soon but can i see you tomorrow pleaaaaaaase ? call my house !

Date: 2007-09-03 03:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] iamwearingpants.livejournal.com
2. I WANT TO SEE YOU SO BAD. I will be out of town in the afternoon, but I will call your house the second I get back, if I don't just drive straight there.

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