Monday, May 30, 2016

Simone Weil 33

Belief in the existence of other human beings as such is love. The sentence is tyrannical, though its content is not. Once upon a time, we moved eagerly toward the goodness of the full stop, believing in its fiction, content to rest there like a family on vacation. It's our happy place, he writes; the photos of sand and beach umbrellas testify to his confidence. “She's in her happy place,” a caregiver said of my mother, long past clauses nested between commas. The sentence stays with us, like a mother at the side of her sick child in a bathtub, bringing her a pail. But what happens when we leave it is mystery. We must love what is not there, Weil tells us. The voiceless person flickers between here and not-here like a sentence whose tenses suddenly shift. Present-past, Alzheimer's grammatical form. It's ok if you let go, I said once on leaving her, as if she or we had volition. Five years ago her body had begun to close down. When I got there, the caregivers said talk to her, but there was nothing left to say.

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