A Single Man


(page 1)
„Waking up begins with saying am and now. That which has awaken then lies for a while staring up at the ceiling and down into itself until it has recognised I, and therefrom deduced I am, I am now. Here comes next, and it is at least negatively reassuring; because here, this morning, is where it has expected to find itself; what’s called at home.
But now isn’t simply now. Now is also a cold reminder; one whole day later than yesterday, one year later than last year. Every now is labelled with a date, rendering all past nows obsolete, until – later or sooner – perhaps – no, not perhaps – quite certainly: it will come. […] And now, over the entire communication system, is issued the first general order of the day: UP. […] Obediently the body levers itself out of bed – […] then to the mirror. What it sees there isn’t so much a face as the expression of a predicament. […] Staring and staring into the mirror, it sees many faces within its face – the face of a child, the boy, the young man, the not-so-young man – all present still, preserved like fossils on superimposed layers, and, like fossils, dead. Their message to the live dying creature is: look at us – we have died – what is there to be afraid of?
[…] Obediently, it washes, shaves, brushes its hair, for it accepts its responsibilities to the others. It is even glad that it has its place among them. It knows what is expected of it.
It knows its name. It is called George.”

Just get through the God damn day!

(page 152)
„For a few minutes, maybe, life lingers in the tissues of some outlying regions of the body. Then, one by one, the lights go out and there is total blackness. And if some part of the non-entity we called George has indeed been absent at this moment of terminal shock, away out there on the deep waters, then it will return to find itself homeless. For it can associated no longer with what lies here, unsnoring, on the bed. This is now cousin to the garbage in the container on the back porch. Both will have to be carted away and disposed of, before too long.”

from Christopher Isherwood’s A Single Man, Vintage Books, London, 2010 (republished)

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