A State of Readiness

Submitted by Chris Webster on Fri, 2006/08/18 - 03:47
The Age of Reason

He had waited so long: his latter years had been no more than a stand-to. Oppressed with countless little daily cares, he had waited: of course he had run after girls all that time, he had travelled, and naturally he had had to earn his living. But through all that, his sole care had been to hold himself in readiness. For an act. A free, considered act; that should pledge his whole life, and stand at the beginning of a new existence. He had never been able to engage himself completely in any love-affair, or any pleasure, he had never been really unhappy: he always felt as though he were somewhere else, that he was not yet wholly born. He waited. And during all that time, gently, stealthily, the years had come, they had grasped him from behind: thirty-four of them. He ought to have taken his decision at twenty-five … but at that age one doesn’t decide with proper motivation. One is liable to be fooled: and he didn’t want to act in that way. He thought of going to Russia, of dropping his studies, of learning a manual trade. But what had restrained him each time on the brink of such a violent break, was that he had no ‘reasons’ for acting thus. Without reasons, such acts would have been impulses. And so he continued to wait …

… And he thought: ‘I’m no longer waiting … I’ve cleared myself out, sterilised myself into a being that can do nothing but wait. I am now empty, it is true, but I am waiting for nothing.’

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