It was around that summer that the willing began to read Proust.
Ignorant to the succinctness of it being read during that particular season,
she picked it up on what seemed a whim after the accomplice
had loaned it to her months earlier. She had in fact tired to read the book
then, had read the first hundred pages, but put it down
for what seemed more appropriate at the time Love in the Time of Cholera,
it being winter then, when the coldness of memory isolates stubborn
desires and does not unroll in stop motion blooms
or fragrant scented childhoods. Foolish as usual, the willing had not contemplated
any of this and took up Swann’s Way in the late light one summer evening.
To her surprise, she found some markings in the book highlighting certain
passages of text. This puzzled her because through her relationship
with the accomplice she never knew him to leave any markings behind,
for fear of potential future embarrassment upon realizing the overstated importance
he placed on aphorismatic platitudes, which seemed all too ripe at the time.
The willing though, a marker by nature, is territorial in her underlining of statements
she identifies with, as if claiming them as her own, even though she did not create
the arrangement of words on the page she convinced herself that she was the one
that could live them out, a midst the clutter in the basement of her heart.
But these marking in Proust surprised her because they are not hers—
in her signature blue Papermate, which strikes through the text and does not exist below.
The markings made in black fountain pen first appear on page x: “It is plain
that the truth I am seeking lies not in the cup but in myself”. There was no sense
of recollection at all for this passage. For all the willing knew these lines
could have been contemplated years ago by some strange hand before the book
ended up among other dusty paper backs on the $1.00 shelf. “Always try
to keep a patch of sky above your life, little boy, you have a soul in you of rare quality, an artist’s nature: never let it starve for what it needs.”
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