Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The Widow

The world was full of happy widows. He had seen them go mad with grief at the sight of their husband's corpse, pleading to be buried alive in the same coffin so they would not have to face the future without him, but as they grew reconciled to the reality of their new condition he had seen them rise up from the ashes with renewed vitality. They began by living like parasites of gloom in their big empty houses, they became the confidantes of their servants, lovers of their pillows, with nothing to do after so many years of sterile captivity. They wasted their overabundant hours doing what they had not had time for before, sewing the buttons on the dead man's clothes, ironing and reironing the shirts with stiff collar and cuffs so that they would always be in perfect condition. They continued to put his soap in the bathroom, his monogrammed pillowcase on the bed; his place was always set at the table, in case he returned from the dead without warning, as he tended to do in life. But in those solitary Masses they began to be aware that once again they were mistresses of their fate, after having renounced not only their family name but their own identity in exchange for a security that was no more than another of a bride's many illusions.

In the restorative idleness of solitude, on the other hand, the widows discovered that the honorable way to live was at the body's bidding, eating only when one was hungry, loving without lies, sleeping without having to feign sleep in order to escape the indecency of official love, possessed at last of the right to an entire bed to themselves, where no one fought them for half of the sheet, half of the air they breathed, half of their night, until their bodies were satisfied with dreaming their own dreams, and they woke alone.

~Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Love in the Time of Cholera

24 comments:

The Fool said...

Such a master. Beautiful passage choice...and the photo complements it well. Thank you for the reflection this morning.

Guilty Secret said...

Beautiful. I read Chronicle of a Death Foretold for Spanish A-level but I haven't read any of his others... yet :)

Carla said...

Fool, I absolutely love this man's writing. He has such a way.

Guilty, You must pick up some of his other stuff. He tells such fascinating stories.

Steffi said...

That´s a beautiful story,Carla.I enjoyed really to read!Thank you!

VE said...

Well that was beautiful Carla. But I have to wonder if Michael Jackson's skin is the same exact coloring at the statue...leave it to me to be utterly random.

Carla said...

Steffi, I'm glad you enjoyed the read.

VE, It's gotta be pretty close...hmm...would make for an interesting photo shoot.

Fede said...

Yes Carla, I enjoyed reading it. Isn't it intense? I find he is able to drag the reader right into the story. I honestly feel attracted and compelled to continue reading. Definitely a book that I should read, and they also made a movie...if I am not wrong. Going to sleep now.
Good night and good luck.

Mone said...

I heve never heard of him, but after reading this I'll have to go and check him out! Thanks for sharing :)

Carla said...

Fede, I wasn't aware that this was made into a movie. This book is so intense with language, that I really don't know how a cinematographer could do it justice, mo matter what his imagination.

Mone, You are most welcome. He is definitely always an interesting read.

scottishwriter said...

Amazingly beautiful and thought provoking - only enhanced by your delightful picture.

Carla said...

Peter, So nice to see you back. I was wondering where you'd gotten off to.

Simon Sterwin said...

This is a wonderful text. Along with so much else, for me it captures how unbelievable, how unreal the death of a loved one can be. The grieving process can take so long to even begin...

"...[H]is place was always set at the table, in case he returned from the dead without warning..."

jillie said...

That is so beautiful but haunting at the same time.

I agree with fool. That photo fits it very well.

Have a good wknd Carla ;o)

Annie Wicking and Loman Austen said...

Thank you for sharing this with us, Carla.

My very best wishes to you,

Annie

Carla said...

Simon, I think you are so right. When someone is so full of life and so much with you, the moment they are gone, it's hard to imagine that you will never again be touched by his/her laughter. For a long time, you can almost feel their presence. Thanks for stopping by.

Carla said...

Jillie, It is somewhat haunting, isn't it? Have a lovely, lovely weekend.

Annie, And my very best wishes to you as well. I hope all is well in your direction.

sirdar said...

That is really deep. I personally don't know what I would do or what it would be like without Dawn. When you have been with someone for so long, it seems odd without them being around. One thing that we have said to each other is that if something were to happen, we should find love again. Life is too short to have to go through life without happiness and love.

Carla said...

Sirdar, Hopefully Dawn will be with you and you with her for a good number more years. Good to see you back.

dawn said...

A great depiction of the way life changes for a widow. It may be the same now for some who lose their husband, but for some it would be very different.

TK Kerouac said...

What a beautiful passage...
and true to the day, women still can lose their identities to a man if they are not careful!

Carla said...

Dawn, Very true. Hard to predict how an individual would experience such an event until it happens.

Carla said...

Tracey, It happens much easier than I would like to admit. I think that thought was one of the first that crossed my mind as well.

Pamela said...

Horrible yet wonderful.

Carla said...

Pamela, Just like life often is.