A Many-Splendored Thing

A Many-Splendored Thing

A Many-Splendored Thing

A Many-Splendored Thing

Excerpt

April 1950

WILL YOU WRITE A BOOK ABOUT ME?" ASKED MARK. It was the hour after love. We lay in the long grass of the hill slope, in the abundant sun. Above us the sky stretched widely to an undefended horizon. Around us was granite rock, grass, bracken and small myrtle. Below the hill lay the wrinkled blue sea, all alone without a sail in the endless spring afternoon. We spoke quietly, detached from ourselves; careful, deliberate words. We spoke of things which at that moment no longer hurt to think about. Lucidly, we speculated on absence, separation from each other, and the splitting of our worlds into ever more irreconcilable fragments. Our voices were disembodied and calm, voices which we only achieved in the hour after love.

"I may write something about you," I replied. "But not now. Now I am too full of joy to do anything but to live, with the ever-present knowledge of you within me, filling me with gladness. Perhaps if you leave me, and I grieve, or for some other good reason, I may write a book about you."

"What other good reason would you have?" asked Mark.

"Food. I'd sell my love for food any day. The rice bowl is to me the most valid reason in the world for doing anything. A piece of one's soul to the multitudes in return for rice and wine does not seem to me a sacrilege."

"If you wish to sell red-hot passion, dear one," said Mark, running his . . .

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