Jan. 11, 2008

excerpts from wallets

i. from jeanette winterson, oranges are not the only fruit: (and one other thing)

I think I read this Winterson book around the end of 2006 or at the beginning of 2007. I used to keep blank 3×5 index cards as bookmarks. I was cleaning out my wallet early this afternoon, and look what I found.

In the library I felt better, words you could trust and look at till you understood them, they couldn’t change halfway through a sentence like people, so it was easier to spot a lie.

Funny how the words that seem to jump right out of the page seem to describe the status quo as well. Like this:

Very often, history is a means of denying the past.

So guess who used to have some difficulty fitting into someone else’s history. Been there, done that, over that most definitely. But for the sake of sharing these book notes hastily scrawled on a blank index card, we have:

People have never had a problem disposing of the past when it gets too difficult. Flesh will burn, and memory, what is that? The imperfect ramblings of fools who will not see the need to forget. And if we can’t dispose of it, we can alter it.

And then we have this question:

What is it about intimacy that makes it so very disturbing?

I need an answer for that one. The next line I jotted down was this:

She was my most uncomplicated love affair and I loved her because of it.

No comment. (Or, this should read: Staying out of that cycle for good now.)

I have a theory that every time you make an important choice, the part of you left behind continues the other life you could have had… There’s a chance that I’m not here at all, that all the parts of me, running along all the choices I did and did not make, for a moment brush against each other… Perhaps for a while these two selves have become confused. I have not gone forward or back in time, but across in time, to something I might have been, playing itself out.

I think I know someone who’d be interested in that premise. Anyway. And this was my favorite passage:

As it is, I can’t settle, I want someone who is fierce and will love me until death and know that love is strong as death and be on my side forever and ever. I want someone who will destroy and be destroyed by me.

O di ba violent, a little, pero I think I know what she means, and I think I have found it.

On other news, beside that index card I found a letter:

Pero when I think of our times together, everything’s a whirl. I find it so hard to put logic and chronology to it. But I never forget. I’ve never forgotten. We’ve been through a lot… it was a whirl na halos wala na talagang logic. But… we’ve been through hell and back, but [something] always tied the loose ends together. Na after everything, heto pa rin tayo. Still inseparable.

Ironically, the letter was from a couple of years ago. It bore my 22nd birthday’s date. It isn’t signed, and it referred to me only as an anonymous “you” but then that’s how things had always been anyway. And now it’s over; we haven’t talked for months and looking at it I’m actually wondering why I had kept this letter again. I must have forgotten having stashed it somewhere here.

Funny actually, how in previous paragraphs she was mentioning the things she remembered about our on-again, off-again affair (haha hindi na relationship ang tawag, ganun) and how now, a few years later, I could barely remember the details here. Which is not to say I don’t remember certain things in detail, because I do remember certain details — I guess just not these details.

So perhaps it’s possible that moments could be made up of entirely different sets of details for the two people who share them no. Is that supposed to be sad?

And so I end aptly with this winterson quote from the same book:

She said she hoped I hadn’t kept any letters, silly to hang on to things that had no meaning. As though letters and photos made it more real, more dangerous. I told her I didn’t need her letters to remember what had happened.