‘I Don’t Know’

Some all too familiar-feeling/sounding/smelling/tasting/living/etc. excerpts from Percival Everett’s The Water Cure. Falling more and more in love with more ‘experimental’ fiction, which started with Everett’s Erasure.

* * *

There was no good explanation. I should say that there was no good explanation that was true. I at times even tried to create a story, my artistic capacities sadly failing me, and perhaps that should have depressed me (but it didn’t, as I had other dispiriting and dreary fish to fry), that might satisfy Charlotte’s reasonable need to understand just what the fuck had happened to me.

I imagined myself telling her that there was another woman, and I went so far as to try and find another woman, but finally it wasn’t another woman, only me and my pathetic depression about maybe work, perhaps my life, but more just feeling day in and day out like I didn’t want to continue. I no longer entertained suicidal thoughts, and that was ironically depressing as I could have used one right about then.

Charlotte would look at me, as angry as she could be, rightly, and demand to know where I had gone, and I would look stupidly back at here, sincere and true stupidity, however aggravating for her, and say,  “I don’t know.” I became sick of saying I don’t know. I hated hearing the words from my side of this face, but that was all I had. “Why aren’t you happy?” I don’t know. “Is it us?” I don’t know. “Do you want to leave?” I don’t know.

Finally, without knowing anything, only that I was remarkably unhappy, I did leave, so clumsily and so awkwardly, at once thinking that a better person would have done it, well, better and that of course there was no “better”, or even a good way to break a kind person’s heart.

. . .

I left saying the most unsatisfying and stupid and cruel and sadly true thing, which was “I still love you.” It’s funny how such well-meaning, selfish utterances often feel benevolent. At any rate, my words were taken badly, an understatement, and I’m still unsure whether it was the “still” or the “love” that was so upsetting.

. . .

All of that rings and rang then like feeble and rueful vanity, as if I really in fact had the consequential power to cause pain, as if it were my choice to activate such a relationship.

One thought on “‘I Don’t Know’”

  1. Thanks for giving me that reading list! I’m currently reading Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman by Haruki Murakami, a collection of short stories, and I think you would find it interesting and useful, as you continue writing fiction. I love the excerpt from Everett’s novel, and will have to see about picking it up somehow. (His stuff will be hard to come by here in Korea, I’m sure.)

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