Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Furnace

"Later that evening, before he went to bed, he said: 'This is symptomatic of my condition: You're my daughter, and I'm proud of you, but I have nothing to say to you.'

"He left to get ready for bed, and then came back into the room wearing dazzling white pajamas. My mother asked me to admire his pajamas, and he stood quietly while I did. Then he said: 'I don't know what I will be like in the morning.'

"After he went to bed, my mother showed me a picture of him forty years before sitting at a seminar table surrounded by students. 'Just look at him there!' she said in distress, as though it were some sort of punishment that he had become what he was now - an old man with a beaked profile like a nutcracker."

Lydia Davis

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