The family keeps itself as a pet
The family is small like a fast food restaurant at the train station
– Elfriede Jelienek
She howls herself out from stillness. A sudden violent movement to get out of the chair. “I’m leaving and I’m never coming back,” she says. The hubris is a way out of lethargy.
But he says nothing. He gets down on his knees, into prayer. She gets homesick. They both suddenly want to comfort him. She’s the bad one, but it’s only her thinking that. He can’t see her guilt. She’s alone in it.
Shall we do something nice instead? He says. We can go and buy meat for your stew.
It’s sunny outside, they get pho on the way. The butcher’s hands are bloody and they get a heavy bag of meat. Now they are homesick.
She babbles: “I’ll tell you what I love. I love you, I love to sleep, I love wine, I love the day when I have slept ”. She wakes up in the night because it smells like bones, thinks of bones that crumble, how to strain the broth later, what to do with the leftovers. Strain and discard the fat. She thinks it’s good that he can help her with that.
She felt like an adult when he took her to a seminar where the lecturer said that nobody today is anybody’s first choice. That there’s always been someone before. She thought it could not hurt to think like that, about love. As part of a slightly larger pattern. A system where a relationship is liberation.
In Jon Fosses’ Dog Manuscripts, the dog Webster escapes from home. He is ashamed of his relationship with his owner, old Oline with her bubbling and gurgling stomach, hugging him in bed. When he returns, he’s cold, tired and hungry. Suddenly the big stomach has changed meaning: become a metonym for love, warmth and security. Love, love, love.
The hypothesis that sex draws nourishment from defilement. In order to be defiled, you must be clean to begin with. Have good posture perhaps. Is the family the right place to nurture that? They found each other resting, in that it was easy. That actions (posture, tone of voice, gaze) did not impose any implications.
To manifest my longing for the light, I say to the one I know best: I’m leaving and I’m never coming back. So that my actions can acquire implications. The assumption that you can change how you are towards the world but not how you are with the people at your kitchen table. Can’t you look at me creatively, like I were a movie or an acquaintance, he asks. Is that a loving look? I reply.
I cried a cry I had cried before, flowing through already torn up rivers. Sometimes you cry redemptively, when a new insight separates the old, but not today.
Stiff as a family. Sticky papier maché that has solidified. My grimacing face covers the memories.
Outside, I got the feeling that there was something I have not understood about life. Life is not as I describe above. It is a worthy place for a soul.
Text: Fredrika Flinta
Image: Lisa Vanderpumps Rose by Fredrika Flinta