There was no newness to anything anymore. She sat in the house and waited for people to be finished; she sat on the couches and watched the clouds pass over the fields outside the windows; the windows were perpetually dirty, smudged sometimes when the cats shoved their homesick faces against the glass and mostly smudged by bad weather or sideways winds or loose dirt from the fields. The people passed in and out of the house; she watched them and sat on the couch. Sometimes they watched anime and she liked the way the world folded into itself, the eternal anime world expanding and popping in too-bright colors, the people turning into other people turning into romances and lost love and grief. It was television eternity. She sat on the couch and watched and when it was over, she waited for something else but nothing came. The days began in the morning and ended at night. Next year she would be living somewhere else but the days would also begin in the morning and end at night. She felt the way a boy had felt, in the last film she watched, after he had killed his father and other people and almost himself. He is laying in a room painted massage-parlor pink and some sad girl who hasn’t abandoned him lights candles and draws fantasies in the air. Their possible life, the possible after, the someday happiness. He smiles in a way that can’t be described but she feels when she is sitting on the couch and watching the traffic go past the fields; he smiles and cries like someone away of the someday but also wholly despaired of it: the future is not a certain thing, it wobbles rancorously in the air. The sun also rises, Hemingway said, the Bible said. Mostly she has been trying not to think about anything metaphysical or significant but to do the necessary things and to put extra time into the things that do not matter except in the case of her womanhood. Her hair, her face, her body. An expensive salon brand cream and gel for curls, with a satin night-cap to keep the curls in smooth rolls, and clips and a brush and a spray bottle for water and a refreshing spray for the curls. Two face cleansers, one oil-based and from Japan, the other water-based and from South Korea; then three snail mucin products, a cream and a serum and a moisturizer, and of course her usual eos chapstick and lipstick in “All Heart” or “Plum Brandy.” The combined cost of her vanity would feed a starving child for at least month, probably more, but she already sponsors a little girl in South America for her tithe and anyway isn’t that the point of the sponsoring? That the girl in Peru has the chance of growing up and coming to America and buying three curl products and five skin products and makeup? She sits on the couch, sucking in her lip and thinking about this. It is thinking about something that means nothing; it is a good distraction.
The saddest line in literature is “Isn’t it pretty to think so?” It is despair, which is only possible because there was cynicism first and before that hope. It was what the boy in the film was thinking when the girl described their possible life together; but he must first go to jail for killing his father and only then can she come and pick him up in the new car. He tries to kill himself the next morning and I am not entirely sure why he does not. Hemingway killed himself. Sylvia Plath killed herself. The girl watches dirty rain hit the windows and justifies the spiraling of her mind because it at least puts her in the company of literary giants. She is nothing comparable; of course she is not, otherwise she would not be watching the morning and the evening come over fields. No one born in the country stays in the country and becomes great. They always leave and become great in cities and sometimes come back to the country, but then it is a decision of free will and has nothing to do with their parents. She is not in a city; she is desperate to be, but even in Tokyo or Paris or Seoul, it will be morning and then evening and then morning. She will go out and meet people in cafes, in clubs, in bookstores, in open-air and indoor markets, in old temples and tourist attractions and hostels and small hotels; she will go out and talk to no one, walking silently through neon crowds and watching people throng under signs saying things in foreign languages but meaning nothing. She will eat, sleep, smile, defecate, cough, cry, masturbate, leave places and go places and return. She will meet someone wonderful and they will be happy except for all the times they are not and she will have some children but all this is of course improbable. Her mother wanted only to be a wife and a mother and she was given that, but in the worst possible way, and was mostly unhappy. She will be like her mother because she already is, and she will be. The sky will hang eternal above the cities and she will watch television or the traffic through her windows and realize that it does not matter that there are no fields; she will end in one eventually, her body decaying or ashed and used only to salt the earth.