When I got home Thursday evening, I paged through the newly arrived New Yorker and found a short piece by Roger Angell, which I immediately read. In it, Angell writes movingly about his late wife Carol, in ways I can’t intelligently capture except by quoting. And even then I would do Angell a disservice, as the piece should be read in full.
Alas, the online version is behind the New Yorker’s paywall, so the link to it won’t get you very far unless you’re a subscriber. If you are, read it. If not, though I have misgivings about quoting fragments, here’s a taste:
What the dead don’t know piles up, though we don’t notice it at first. They don’t know how we’re getting along without them, of course, dealing with the hours and days that now accrue so quickly, and, unless they divined this somehow in advance, they don’t know that we don’t want this inexorable onslaught of breakfasts and phone calls and going to the bank, all this stepping along, because we don’t want anything extraneous to get in the way of what we feel about them or the ways we want to hold them in mind. But they’re in a hurry too, or so it seems. Because nothing is happening with them, they are flying away, over that wall, while we are still chained and handcuffed to the weather and the iPhone, to the hurricane and the election and to the couple that’s recently moved in downstairs, in Apartment 2-S, with a young daughter and a new baby girl, and we’re flying off in the opposite direction at a million miles an hour. It would take many days now, just to fill Carol in.
What Carol doesn’t know now is shocking, let’s face it, and I think even her best friends must find themselves thinking about her with a certain new softness or sweetness, as if she were a bit backward. Carol, try to keep up a little, can’t you?