Powerless by the Book – Part II of excerpts

She held out her hand. What a strange world it is where you can have as much sex as you like but love is taboo. I’m talking about the real thing, the grand passion, which may not allow affection or convenience or happiness. The truth is that love smashes into your life like an ice floe, and even if your heart is built like the Titanic you go down. That’s the size of it, the immensity of it. It’s not proper, it’s not clean, it’s not containable.

She held out her hand. ‘You’re still angry.’
‘I’m still alive.’

What to say? That the end of love is a haunting. A haunting of dreams. A haunting of silence. Haunted by ghosts it is easy to become a ghost. Life ebbs. The pulse is too faint. Nothing stirs you. Some people approve of this and call it healing. It is not healing. A dead body feels no pain.

‘But pain is pointless.’
‘Not always.’
‘Then what is the use of suffering? Can you tell me that?’

She thinks I’m holding on to pain. She thinks the pain is a souvenir. Perhaps she thinks that pain is the only way I can feel. As it is, the pain reminds me that my feelings are damaged. The pain doesn’t stop me loving – only a false healing could do that – the pain tells me that neither my receptors nor my transmitters are in perfect working order. The pain is not feeling, but it has become an instrument of feeling.

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