Thursday, 7 September 2017

...of that underneath

On hot July days, the wall opposite cast a brilliant, harsh light into the damp little courtyard.
Underneath this heat there was a great void, silence, everything seemed in suspense: the only thing to be heard, aggressive, strident, was the creaking of a chair being dragged across the tiles, the slamming of a door. In this heat, in this silence, it was a sudden coldness, a rending.
And she remained motionless on the edge of her bed, occupying the least possible space, tense, as though waiting for something to burst, to crash down upon her in the threatening silence.
At times the shrill notes of locusts in a meadow petrified by the sun and as though dead, induce this sensation of cold, of solitude, of abandonment in a hostile universe in which something anguishing is impending.
In the silence, penetrating the length of the old blue-striped wallpaper in the hall, the length of the dingy paint, she heard the little click of the key in the front door. She heard the study door close.
She remained there hunched up, waiting, doing nothing.
The slightest act, such as going to the bathroom to wash her hands, letting the water run from the tap, seemed like a provocation, a sudden leap into the void, an extremely daring action. In the suspended silence, the sudden sound of water would be like a signal, like an appeal directed towards them; it would be like some horrible contact, like touching a jellyfish with the end of a stick and then waiting with loathing for it suddenly to shudder, rise up and fall back down again.

[Tropisms, Sarraute, N.]

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