The End of Part I – Water

I am done with the first section of this novel.  I’ll post here a short passage that is toward the end, so as not to give the end away.   Part I – Water nearly ends… something like this:

Perhaps, the twin thinks, Arthur should have done more and sooner, made more and bigger revolution, taken more lovers and been more faithful to those that he had loved, furiously faithful.  She wishes that they had eaten more fruit together, drunk more wine, that they had prayed more and danced later into the night.  She is thinking that his body was burned with what was left of his love, that even now they should dance because there is still fire.  Let them dance, she thinks, and those who are dead, let them race over fields, seeking their lovers and their foes, covering the mountain with their footsteps, with their coats.  Those left behind envy their enemies who receive this passion, but it is the love that confounds them.   She has crawled into the lap of one such as she is in desire, as the sun beat down on them, then gives itself over to the moon, as the sea ebbs in and out between and around them, and they neither burn nor drown.

This mighty stillness tonight; don’t mistake it for peace.  There is a restlessness as wild rapids, as the sun’s surface and no man is large enough now to be an object of its rage.  This rage is huge.  It can accomplish great things.  It can rest for years and rise again, refreshed and vigorous.  It can change everything.  But she has no need for eyes if eyes are to see this.  And the truth, what is that to the dead but that which is buried in consequences, in circumstances that change in life, but not in death.

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According to one theory of revolution, the revolutionaries cannot go on losing forever

We left of with this thought that led into a discourse on impermanence, from the novel:  “Monuments were built for the revolution and the metal may now be melted down as scrap.  Books will be written about the heroes, but eventually the books will be lost…”

According to one theory of revolution, the revolutionaries cannot go on losing forever; just now they cannot win.  But they had something here, an era of heroes.  Nothing will be forgotten.  The poets describe the era of heroes, an era when the sun rises as if it’s singing a new song every day, when women come out on the road humming the song, when animals give birth easily and fruit ripens and birds do not bother the crops.  Wise people recall an era like this in times of huge sorrow, so that the era is twice blessed, once in itself and once again in memory.  Standing in among ruins, when war has been waged and the heroes are dead, people are comforted by memory, the memory of an age that achieved justice and peace, however brief, or at least strived to achieve it, however briefly.  Wise people know whatever they can remember is still possible.  Wise people can recall that time, the time the heroes made and the time that made them, an era of astonishing hopefulness.  Listen to this:  even their accountants entertained hopefulness, and what the leaders lacked in wisdom they made up for with courage, but they couldn’t survive long without both.  With two legs of unequal length they limped along.  Then the era ends.  Everything dies.  Not just heroes’ bodies but ideas, perhaps even the truth.  Look, what heroes do can look foolish to the unconvinced, particularly to a hero’s own mother, yet to their enemies they make no apologies and to their own people they feel they never need apologize.  And now there is no reason to make any protest, to say anything, dead as the revolution is, a total failure.  What is happening is that it is still raining just as it did before, during, and now after the revolution.  The rain is not confounded by political and scientific methods.  Vida is waiting for the rain to stop.

What is known about Vida?  A string of small details.  Vida is still young, meaning she is not altogether settled, meaning simply that she doesn’t know what to do next, meaning anything is possible.  Vida’s life consists of complicated details that intersect and diverge.  She keeps her kids clean.  Her eight-year-old daughter knows how to read and make a decent cake.  Her son, who is also Arthur’s son, is never left long alone. 

More than once, actually, Vida did something to distinguish herself, that made her a hero.  She organized the women who disarmed the police at the station, right then at the very beginning of the revolution. And then later that night she went home to bath both children and to sing to them their good-night prayers.  Meaning simply that she may be listed, she may be listed as wanted.  No one who knew Vida and knew what she had done would suggest that Vida did not feel anything, no pride. It is just that no one knows how she felt, and perhaps she herself doesn’t know now, and in any case she’s not the kind of woman to go on about it.  That’s all.

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