Thomas met a woman. She is like his mother. There aren’t many women like her. She’s more beautiful than most. She has delicate hands and a delicate nose. She has the most innocent eyes and yet she is deeply aware, perhaps too trusting of him.
He can’t say that he knows his mother’s eyes as such. This woman is thin, tall enough, and exotically beautiful and oddly, as she says, pure French.
She has my mother’s small skull, her sweet naiveté, and the unknowingness of her beauty.
She’d just broken with her man. She was broken-hearted and so it’s weird that they had just become friends. She knows Thomas is crazy about her; he left a note, which he followed with e-mail she since she had e-mailed him. At which point, she told him she was seeing someone and didn’t want to waste his time if he thought anything more than friendship was possible. The lady, Camille, said that she was in love with her man.
It turned out Thomas had waited on them. Camille said that he had spoken in smooth tones to them. She also said that he gave the best service both of them had and yet they were both French, so she had to explain herself.
Thomas texted to Camille that it was good she was with a friend, that he knew how she felt, that it would take time, and that she should call her brother, who could make her laugh. People loved her, he told her. He’d never been in this position before but he also felt that he was delusional if he thought she would now like him.
Even if she did, Camille wanted to have a baby. He swore that one off long ago, except that when he saw Diane recently and she looked so lovely and so accomplished, he told himself, what was he afraid of? He should have told Diane when they were dating that he was interested in having a child. He actually thought that he loved her too. She ended up getting back together with her husband. She seemed happy, but she wanted lately to have him send her stories about his parents. Diane said he wrote “Well with much vividness and raw emotion.”
What did this mean? Was she testing his potential, was she interested in how he would treat her, her children, and her parents after reading about his?
Thomas was thinking about things Roland Barthes said in his book The Preparation of the Novel. Barthes talked about the solution to work and the world. He said: “Doesn’t the writer somehow manage to mess up his love affairs from the moment they present a real threat to the future of his work?” The solution, Barthes wrote, “In the struggle between you and the world, back the world… The writer is obliged to affirm his ‘singularity…’ [And] conflict with the world is inevitable.” And yet, “Truth resides not in the individual but in the chorus… The world is on the side of truth, because it is the indissoluble unity of the human world –> which means that singularity has got it wrong.” And so the writer sets the world to music, he incorporates it into his work. Dante made his loved one the guiding, initiating spirit of his work The Divine Comedy.
And so Thomas thought of Camille and Diane and he knew in the back of his mind that he was afraid of both of them. They were his be-all, end-all.
Thomas, however, always seemed like a friend to ladies and nothing else. He was a good listener, and yet always he wanted more. He was just like his mother, in that he wanted complete freedom for his capturing the series of thoughts that came to him. He needed to document them. He was a conduit for the muse.
It was Thomas’ job, he thought, to be prepared by reading and studying, so that he would recognize the value of his thoughts as they came. He felt like a vessel for God in this way and he believed in God because God understood the world in terms relative to love.