The Cost of Living

Deborah Levy

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3 Fragments (saved in 2018)

Chaos is supposed to be what we most fear but I have come to believe it might be what we most want. If we don't believe in the future we are planning, the house we are mortgaged to, the person who sleeps by our side, it is possible that a tempest might bring us closer to how we want to be in the world. Life falls apart. We try to get a grip and hold it together. And then we realize we don't want to hold it together.

Everything was calm. The sun was shining. I was swimming in the deep. And then, when I surfaced 20 years later, I discovered there was a storm, a whirlpool, a blasting gale lifting waves over my head. At first I wasn’t sure I’d make it back to the boat and then I realized I didn’t want to make it back to the boat. My marriage was the boat and I knew that if I swam back to it, I would drown. It is also the ghost that will always haunt my life. I will never stop grieving for my long-held wish for enduring love that does not reduce its major players to something less than they are. I am not sure I have often witnessed love that achieves all of these things, so perhaps this ideal is fated to be a phantom.

The night is softer than the day, quieter, sadder, calmer, the sound of the wind tapping windows, the hissing of pipes, the entropy that makes floorboards creak, the ghostly night bus that comes and goes — and always in cities, a far-off distant sound that resembles the sea, yet is just life, more life.