Wednesday, August 31, 2005


from "Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit"
by Jeanette Winterson

Standing on the side of the hill, just where it slopes into the quarry, it's possible to see where Melanie used to live. I met her by accident, during the second year that I was away from home; she was pushing a pram. If she had been serene to the point of bovine before, she was now almost vegetable. I kept looking at her, and wondering how we ever had a relationship; yet when she first left me, I thought I had blood poisoning. I couldn't forget her. Now she seemed to have forgotten everything. It made me want to shake her, to pull off my clothes in the middle of the street and yell, 'Remember this body?' Time is a great deadener; people forget, get bored, grow old, go away. She said that not much had happened between us anyway, historically speaking. But history is a string full of knots, the best you can do is admire it, and maybe knot it up a bit more. History is a hammock for swinging and a game for playing. A cat's cradle. She said those sort of feelings were dead, the feelings she once had for me. There is a certain seductiveness about dead things. You can ill treat, alter and recolour what's dead. It won't complain. Then she laughed and said we probably saw what had happened very differently anyway.... She laughed again, and said that the way I saw it would make a good story, her version was just the history, the nothing-at-all facts. She said she hoped I hadn't kept any letters, silly to hang on to things that had no meaning. As though letters and photos made it more real, more dangerous. I told her I didn't need her letters to remember what had happened. Then she looked vague and started to discuss the weather and the roadworks and the soaring price of baby food.


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