Wednesday, January 13, 2016

too tired to sleep

--------------------------- [excerpt -- Gone Girl, a novel written by Gillian Flynn, 2012] ----------------


The Day Of


My eyes flipped open at exactly six A.M.  This was no avian fluttering of the lashes, no gentle blink toward consciousness.  The awakening was mechanical.  A spooky ventriloquist-dummy click of the lids:  the world is black and then, showtime! 

6-0-0 the clock said -- in my face, first thing I saw.  6-0-0.  It felt different.  I rarely woke at such a rounded time.  I was a man of jagged risings:  8:43, 11:51, 9:26.  My life was alarmless.

At that exact moment, 6-0-0, the sun climbed over the skyline of oaks, revealing its full summer angry-god self.  Its reflection flared across the river toward our house, a long, blaring finger aimed at me through our frail bedroom curtains.  Accusing:  You have been seen.  You will be seen.

I wallowed in bed, which was our New York bed in our new house, which we still called the new house, even though we'd been back here for two years. 

It's a rented house right along the Mississippi River, a house that screams Suburban Nouveau Riche, the kind of place I aspired to as a kid from my split-level, shag-carpet side of town. 

The kind of house that is immediately familiar:  a generically grand, unchallenging, new, new, new house that my wife would -- and did -- detest.

"Should I remove my soul before I come inside?"  Her first line upon arrival.  It had been a compromise:  Amy demanded we rent, not buy, in my little Missouri hometown, in her firm hope that we wouldn't be stuck here long. 

But the only houses for rent were clustered in this failed development:  a miniature ghost town of bank-owned, recession-busted, price-reduced mansions, a neighborhood that closed before it ever opened.

...Do not blame me for this particular grievance, Amy.  The Missouri Grievance.  Blame the economy....

I had a job for eleven years and then I didn't, it was that fast.  All around the country, magazines began shuttering, succumbing to a sudden infection brought on by the busted economy. ...Three weeks after I got cut loose, Amy lost her job, such as it was.

...that is what I didn't take long enough to consider.  I simply assumed I would bundle up my New York wife with her New York interests, her New York pride... -- leave the frantic, thrilling futureland of Manhattan behind -- and transplant her to a little town on the river in Missouri, and all would be fine.

...I changed the subject in my mind.  Today was not a day for second-guessing or regret, it was a day for doing. 

Downstairs, I could hear the return of a long-lost sound:  Amy making breakfast.  Banging wooden cupboards...shuffling and sorting a collection of metal pots and iron pans (ruzz-shuzz!).  A culinary orchestra tuning up, clattering vigorously toward the finale, a cake pan drumrolling along the floor.... 

Something impressive was being created, probably a crepe, because crepes are special, and today Amy would want to cook something special. 

It was our five-year anniversary. 

I walked barefoot to the edge of the steps and stood listening, working my toes into the plush wall-to-wall carpet Amy detested on principle, as I tried to decide whether I was ready to join my wife. 

Amy was in the kitchen, oblivious to my hesitation.  She was humming something melancholy and familiar.  I strained to make it out -- a folk song?  A lullabye? -- and then realized it was the theme to M*A*S*H.  "Suicide is painless."  I went downstairs.


[excerpt 2]


July 21, 2011


...He pauses, and I know he is about to lie. 

The worst feeling:  when you just have to wait and prepare yourself for the lie. 

Nick is old-fashioned, he needs his freedom, he doesn't like to explain himself.  He'll know he has plans with the guys for a week, and he'll still wait until an hour before the poker game to tell me nonchalantly, "Hey, so I thought I'd join the guys for poker tonight, if that's okay with you," and leave me to be the bad guy if I've made other plans. 

You don't ever want to be the wife who keeps her husband from playing poker -- you don't want to be the shrew with the hair curlers and the rolling pin.  So you swallow your disappointment and say okay. 

I don't think he does this to be mean, it's just how he was raised.  His dad did his own thing, always, and his mom put up with it.  Until she divorced him.

He begins his lie.  I don't even listen.

[end of Chapter] ------------------ [end, Excerpt 2] ------------


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