Monday, August 15, 2011

Things I Wish I Had Said

Wasn't it true, had he read it somewhere, more people in hospitals die at 3 a.m. than any other time...?
Stop! he cried silently.
"Charlie?" his wife said in her sleep.
Slowly he took off the other shoe.
His wife smiled in her sleep.
She's immortal. She has a son.
Your son, too!
But what father ever really believes it? He carries no burden, he feels no pain. What man, like woman, lies down in darkness and gets up with child? The gentle, smiling ones own the good secret. Oh, what strange wonderful clocks women are. They nest in Time. They make the flesh that holds fast and binds eternity. They live inside the gift, know power, accept, and need not mention it. Why speak of Time when you are Time, and shape the universal moments as they pass, into warmth and action? How men envy and often hate these warm clocks, these wives, who know they will live forever. So what do we do? We men turn terribly mean because we can't hold to the world or ourselves or anything. We are blind to continuity, all breaks down, falls, melts, stops, rots, or runs away. So since we cannot shape Time, where does that leave men? Sleepless. Staring.
Three a.m. That's our reward. Three in the morn. The soul's midnight. The tide goes out, the soul ebbs. And a train arrives at an hour of despair....Why?
His wife's hand moved to his.
"You ...all right... Charlie?"
She drowsed.
He did not answer.
He could not tell her how he was.

- Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury