consolation and hopepublished: 2011-03-30
She sits next to me reading. She is a chubby and plain woman, freckled and flushed. I ask whether she minds that I take the chair next to her. It’s a tight fit. Not at all, she mumbles and gives me an encouraging nod. Some people actually don’t mind these things.
After a while, she slams her book shut. Her hand rests on it for a moment in contemplation. Moving fast, she then drinks a last sip of her coffee, puts her purse in her bag, scarf and jacket on. Time to go. Life as usual. Sigh. I ask her whether she is enjoying the book.
She takes a moment to look at me and then nods: it’s consoling, she says. Consoling. To have written a consoling novel. Everything speaks to you sometimes. In a Fellini film I was only half watching yesterday one of the characters said: you always need hope in a story. Hope.
But it really isn’t about anything spectacular, nothing much happens, she says and she starts to explain what the story is about. Midway she stops. She slides the book over to me. Here, have it. I’ve finished.
And so she passes consolation on to me.