Читать онлайн «Northern Lights»
He shrugged. ‘Doesn’t matter.’
‘Well, you could have gone.’
‘But not you.’
‘Well. They were together and everything.’
Grace sat still and he drove the car up the tar road.
‘Addie’s awfully pretty, isn’t she?’
‘Not all that pretty.’ He had to watch the road.
‘You could have gone. I just don’t enjoy that kind of thing, that’s all.’
‘What do you enjoy?’
She was quiet. ‘Are you mad?’
‘No, just forget it.’
‘Black bile? she whispered.
‘I guess that’s it.’
‘Old pus gut.’
‘You put the finger on it.’ He glanced over at her. ‘Forget it. I didn’t want to go.’
He noticed, cleaning a walleye, that the fish’s eyes were attached to the brain by a braided grey cord with hard little knots scattered along its length.
He noticed that Grace bathed and dried her hair and combed it and went to bed with a book and read until he joined her.
He continued his inspections, seeking the bottom of things. He noticed that Harvey sometimes drank beer for breakfast and hid the bottles in the trash.
He noticed that three families had moved away from Sawmill Landing over the past year and that no one had come to replace them.
The insights had to be separated from apparitions. Often he saw the old half-memories, patches of colour, gleamings, and the illusions dissolved on a closer look. Once Grace appeared to resemble his mother, whom he knew only by photographs. But when he examined the pictures and puzzled over the problem, the differences jumped out, the mirrors reflected back and forth over time in a dazzling series of contradictions.
‘The trees will be turning,’ he observed.
‘Look closer,’ Addie said. ‘They are changing.’
‘Not much. In a week you’ll see something.’
‘I already see it. Look close.’
‘Where the devil is Harvey?’
‘He’ll be along. Don’t be silly, stop worrying about it.’
‘I just asked where he was.’
‘He’ll be along soon. Do you see what I was saying about the leaves?’
‘Yes, I see. I saw it before.’
She was tall. He was glad they were lying on the beach. Long brown muscles ran up her thighs. The calves were long and all bone.
The trees above them were elm and sweet maple. Across the lake it was all pine.
‘Are you taking Grace on a vacation this winter?’
‘I guess so. I don’t know. She’s been talking about Iowa. I guess she wants to go down.’
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