Thursday, March 12, 2009

Walking Emily

Camus and Sartre are the names of his saints: their torments were in his behalf, and his are in theirs. The only thing he believes in, he said, is the blackness. It's the only thing he's afraid of.

She said that the spark, the thing that made him uniquely himself, would go on. He didn't answer that. We sat in the dark and watched the lights wink on the far shore of the Columbia.

I left her side to sit in front of his chair and rub his feet, feeling an immense and helpless pity. He feared annihilation so much, and he believed in it so desperately.

Later, when I came out from washing up, he had gone to walk Emily. Somewhere out in the wide empty night, a big, shambly, loving dog, walking with her suffering master.

Little enough that words can do even in the right season. I could have said that my nihilism was more extreme than his: he thought the thing that made him uniquely himself would be blown out like a candle, but I thought it was never there at all.

We're not the candles, we're the wind, I might have said. Nothing ever blows out the wind. But Emily would probably say it better.

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