“Do you think we’re brittle?” she’s been known to ask him. Terrific sense of humour is one thing, but brittle is another. “Of course we’re brittle,” he has answered. “We were born brittle! But seek the bright side: you can’t have much taste unless you’re brittle.” He doesn’t add that Jorrie fails to have much taste anyway; less, as time goes on. “Maybe we could have been brilliant psychopathic murderers,” she said once, perhaps a decade ago, when they were barely in their sixties. “We could have committed the perfect crime by killing a total stranger at random. Pushed them off a train.” “Never too late,” Tin replied. “It’s certainly on my bucket list. But I’m waiting till we get cancer. If we’ve got to go, we’ll go in style; take a few with us. De-burden the planet. More toast?” – I just loved Jorrie and Tin’s exchanges, full of sarcasm, but also somehow full of love. It’s almost like ‘you and me against the world, but sometimes I’m really fed up with you’
“Don’t you dare get cancer without me!” “I won’t. Cross my heart and spit. Unless it’s prostate cancer.” “Don’t do that,” said Jorrie. “I’d feel left out.” “If I get prostate cancer,” said Tin, “I pledge to arrange a prostate transplant for you so you can share the experience. I know a lot of guys who wouldn’t mind heaving their prostates out the window about now. They could at least get a good night’s sleep: dispense with the pee parade.” – true sibling’s love 😉 I’m not sure I miss so much being an only chid, but sometimes it would be fun to try being a sibling.
So he avoids confrontation. Languor is a more efficient method of control. – passive agressive usually is, manipulating people to self-control and foresee your wishes.
“How do I look?” says Jorrie, turning before him. “Stupendous,” says Tin. “I love it when you lie for me.” “I’m not lying,” says Tin. Stupendous: causing astonishment or wonder. From the gerund of stupere, to be astounded. That about covers it. After a certain moment, there is only so much a beautifully cut grey outfit can redeem.
There’s only so long you can feel sorry for a person before you come to feel that their affliction is an act of malice committed by them against you. – for me this usually comes sooner rather than later, basically happens every time my Bigger Half has a severe case of manflu. My compassion usually lasts one evening, on the second evening I think he wallows in self-pity, on the third I really think he’s doing it on purpose just to annoy me. I would be a horrible carer in case of serious or long lasting diseases. Possibly me being an only child has something to do with it.
Her teeth are going the way of her high-heeled shoes, and for the same reasons: crumbling and pain. And the expense! It’s like shovelling money into her open mouth. On the bright side, dentistry is far more pleasant than it used to be. Instead of writhing and sweating, Roz puts on dark glasses and earphones and listens to New Age dingle music, borne away on a wave of sedatives and analgesics. – I never thought of doing that at the dentist, music may actually be a good idea. Mind you, I was never afraid of the dentist either, so there was no need to develop calming techniques, but if this can make it nicer, then why not try, what are your dentist tricks?
A raven flies overhead, circles around. Can it tell? Is it waiting? She looks down through its eyes, sees an old woman – because, face it, she is an old woman now – on the verge of murdering an even older man because of an anger already fading into the distance of used-up time. It’s paltry. It’s vicious. It’s normal. It’s what happens in life.
You believed you could transcend the body as you aged, she tells herself. You believed you could rise above it, to a serene, non-physical realm. But it’s only through ecstasy you can do that, and ecstasy is achieved through the body itself. Without the bone and sinew of wings, no flight. Without that ecstasy you can only be dragged further down by the body, into its machinery. Its rusting, creaking, vengeful, brute machinery.
My review of Stone Mattress