Tuesday, 21 July 2009
Extract from Mary Gaitskill, Veronica:
I walked down a hallway crowded with gorgeous people. Lush arms, gold skin, fantastic flashing eyes, lips made up so big and full, they seemed mute - made not to talk but only to sense and receive. So much beauty, like bursts of violent color hitting your eye together and mixing until they were mud. I passed a bathroom and heard the sound of puking quickly covered by the music on the stereo. Rich, dreamy mud of sound. A girl met my eye and I was amazed to see her face emerge with such clarity. For a second, I was startled to think I knew her from childhood. Then I realized she was a movie star. I had watched her on TV with my family. She was looking at me curiously. I smiled and walked past. My father had loved her on TV. If he could see this, he would reach up and scratch his ear, not knowing what to say. Jean-Paul had scratched his ear just before he leaned in to kiss me. His kiss had been surprisingly sweet. I ducked into a bathroom to call my father and tell him about the movie star. I closed the door and sat with the phone cord wound against my chest, listening to the phone ringing in the dingy kitchen in New Jersey, my call hurtling through the night, over the cold ocean to land in that dingy phone.
I was going to show myself to my father, living big and bold. Mostly when I called him, I was stilted and hidden. Now I would show him something. I didn't know what. But I would show him. Jean-Paul had fucked me shallowly a long time before finally sticking it in. I was still drunk with feeling between my legs. The room blurred and swam in my eyes. I heard myself murmur, "I love you, Daddy." But when he answered the phone, I couldn't speak. His voice was a mild voice, tired and kind. There was nothing big in it. I didn't know how to speak to it. I was abashed before it. "Hello?" said the voice. "Hello?" Darkness spread around me, and in it I was tiny. "Hello?" Across the ocean, my father sighed. "Hello?" He hung up. Comforted, I went back to the party.