Thursday, March 28, 2013

A slap in the face from fate

Elaine, his wife, had never been able to bear this place where everything bore, like a stigma, the mold of deterioration, and this epidermal discharge had doubtless played a part in their separation. One more item in the multitude of faults that had been hurled at him out of the blue one evening the previous September. All the time she was talking, his mind had been filled with the standard image of a house eaten away by termites that suddenly collapses without the least sign of the impending disaster having been visible. The idea of trying to vindicate himself never entered his head, as it doubtless never enters the head of all those who are surprised one day be a slap in the face from fate: can you imagine justifying yourself when faced with an earthquake or an exploding mortar bomb? When his wife, suddenly an unknown woman, had demanded a divorce, Eléazard had submitted, signing everything he was asked to sign, agreeing to all the lawyer's requests, just as people allow themselves to be transported from one refugee camp to another. Their daughter, Moéma, was no problem, since whe was of age and led her own life that is, if one can call her way of shirking all obligations day in, day out, "leading a life."

Eléazard had chosen to remain in Alcântara and it was only recently, six months after Elaine had left to go to Brasilia, that he had started to go through the debris of his love, less to see what could be salvaged than to find the cause of such a mess.

— from Where Tigers Are at Home, by Jean-Marie Blas de Roblès.

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