Your Face Tomorrow

April 15, 2010

posted by Caroline Picard

I started reading Your Face Tomorrow, by Javier Murias and the opening paragraph just blew me away–consider what the narrator reveals about himself, how he inadvertently presents a world view, a tone and tempo to his perspective, how defensive he is and yet, in writing, doing precisely what he say he’ll never do.

One should never tell anything or give information or pass on stories or make people remember being who have never existed or trodden the earth or traversed the world, or who, having done so, are no almost safe in uncertain, one-eyed oblivion. Telling is almost always done as a gift, even when the story contains and inject some poison, it is also a bond, a granting of trust, and rare is the trust or confidence that is not sooner or later betrayed, rare is the close bond that does not grow twisted or knotted and, in the end, become so tanlged that a razor or knife is needed to cut it. How many of my confidences remain intact, of all those I have offered up, I, who have always laid such store by my own instinct and yet have still sometimes failed to listen to it, I whoe have been ingenuous for far too long? (Less so now, less, but these things are very slow to fade.) The confidences I shared wtih two friends remain preserved and intact, unlike those granted to another ten who lost or destroyed them; the meagre confidences shared with my father, and the chaste ones vouchsafed to my mother, which were very similar, if not the same, altoughh those granted to her did not last very long, and she can no longer break them or, at lest, only posthumously, if, one day, I were to make some unfortunate discovery, and something that was hidden ceased to be hidden; gone are the confidences given to sister, girlfriend, lover or wife, past, present or imagiary (the sister is usually the first wife, the child wife), for in such relationships it seems almost obligatory that one should, in the end, use what one knows or has seen against the beloved or the spouse–or the person who turns out to have been on only momentary warmth and flesh–against whoever it was who proffered revelations and allowed a witness to their weakness and sorrows and was ready to confide, or against the person who absent-mindedly reminisced out loud on the pillow not even aware of the dangers, of the arbitrary eye always watching of the selective, biased ear always listening (often it’s nothing very serious, for domestic use only, when concerned or on the defensive, to prove a point if caught in a tight dialectical spot during a prolonged discussion, then it has a purely argumentative application).

The violation of a confidence is also this: not just being indiscreet and thereby causing harm or ruin, not just resorting to that illicit weapon when the wind changes and the tide turns on the person who did the telling and the revealing–and who now regrets having done so and denies it and grows confused and sombre, wishing he could wipe the slate clean, and who now says nothing–it is also profiting from the knowledge obtained through another’s weakness or carelessness or generosity, and not respecting or remembering the route by which we came to know the information that we are no manipulating or twisting–sometimes it’s enough just to say something out loud for the air to grasp and distort it: be it the confession of a night of love or of one desperate day, or of a guilty evening or a desolate awakening, or the drunken loquacity of an insomniac: a night or a day when the person talking talked as if there were no future beyond that night or that day and as if their loose tongue would die with them, not knowing that there is always more to come, that there is always a little more, one minute, the spear, one second, fever, another second, sleep and dreams–spear, fever, my pain, words, sleep and dreams–and then, of course, there is interminable time that does not ever pause or slow its pace after our final end, but continues to make additions and to speak, to murmur, to ask questions and to tell tales, even though we can no longer hear and have fallen silent. To fall silent, yes, silent, is the great ambition that no one achieves not even after death, and I least of all, for I have often told tales and even written reports, more than that, I look and I listen, although no I almost never ask questions. No, I should not tell or hear anything, because I will never be able to prevent it from being repeated or used against me, to ruin me or–worse still–from being repeated and used against those I love, to condemn them.


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