Как-то в Мехико-Сити они забрели на выставку картин великолепной испанской изгнанницы Ремедиос Варо; в центральной части триптиха «Bordando el Manto Terrestre» были изображены хрупкие девушки с нежными личиками, огромными глазами и золотистыми волосами, томящиеся на верху круглой башни, в комнате, и ткавшие гобелен, который вываливался через оконный проем в пустоту, тщетно пытаясь ее заполнить; все остальные здания и животные, все волны, корабли и леса земные были вышиты на гобелене, и гобелен был целым миром.
She couldn't stop watching his eyes. They were bright black, surrounded by an incredible network of lines, like a laboratory maze for studying intelligence in tears. They seemed to know what she wanted, even if she didn't.
"How did you manage to get away from yours today?"
"I don't have any," said Oedipa, following her into the kitchen.
Grace looked surprised. "There's a certain harassed style," she said, "you get to recognize. I thought only kids caused it. I guess not."
"Run away with me," said Roseman when the coffee came.
"Where?" she asked. That shut him up.
Храните свою фантазию, чем бы она ни была, ибо её утрата низведет вас до уровня всех прочих. Вы потеряете индивидуальность.
The man was a refugee Hungarian pastry cook talking shop, but there was your Mucho: thin-skinned.
Yet at least he had believed in the cars. Maybe to excess: how could he not, seeing people poorer than him come in, Negro, Mexican, cracker, a parade seven days a week, bringing the most godawful of trade-ins: motorized, metal extensions of themselves, of their families and what their whole lives must be like, out there so naked for anybody, a stranger like himself, to look at, frame cockeyed, rusty underneath, fender repainted in a shade just off enough to depress the value, if not Mucho himself, inside smelling hopelessly of children, supermarket booze, two, sometimes three generations of cigarette smokers, or only of dust— and when the cars were swept out you had to look at the actual residue of these lives, and there was no way of
telling what things had been truly refused (when so little he supposed came by that out of fear most of it had to be taken and kept) and what had simply (perhaps tragically) been lost: clipped coupons promising savings of .05 or .10, trading stamps, pink flyers advertising specials at the markets, butts, tooth-shy combs, help-wanted ads, Yellow Pages torn from the phone book, rags of old underwear or dresses that already were period costumes, for wiping your own breath off the inside of a windshield with so you could see whatever it was, a movie, a woman or car you coveted, a cop who might pull you over just for drill, all the bits and pieces coated uniformly, like a salad of despair, in a gray dressing of ash, condensed exhaust, dust, body wastes—it made him sick to look, but he had to look.
She didn't leave. Not that the shrink held any dark power over her. But it was easier to stay. Who'd know the day she was cured? Not him, he'd admitted that himself.
Oedipa resolved to pull in at the next motel she saw, however ugly, stillness and four walls having at some point become preferable to this illusion of speed, freedom, wind in your hair, unreeling landscape—it wasn't. What the road really was, she fancied, was this hypodermic needle, inserted somewhere ahead into the vein of a freeway, a vein nourishing the mainliner L.A., keeping it happy, coherent, protected from pain, or whatever passes, with a city, for pain.
Things grew less and less clear. At some point she went into the bathroom, tried to find her image in the mirror and couldn't. She had a moment of nearly pure terror. Then remembered that the mirror had broken and fallen in sink. "Seven years' bad luck," she said aloud.
Like all their inabilities to communicate, this too had a virtuous motive.
She fell asleep almost at once, but kept waking from a nightmare about something in the mirror, across from her bed. Nothing specific, only a possibility, nothing she could see. When she finally did settle into sleep, she dreamed that Mucho, her husband, was making love to her on a soft white beach that was not part of any California she knew. When she woke in the morning, she was sitting bolt upright, staring into the mirror at her own exhausted face.
"But what," she felt like some kind of a heretic, "if the Demon exists only because the two equations look alike? Because of the metaphor?"
Nefastis smiled; impenetrable, calm, a believer. "He existed for Clerk Maxwell long before the days of the metaphor."
But had Clerk Maxwell been such a fanatic about his Demon's reality? She looked at the picture on the outside of the box. Clerk Maxwell was in profile and would not meet her eyes. The forehead was round and smooth, and there was a curious bump at the back of his head, covered by curling hair. His visible eye seemed mild and noncommittal, but Oedipa wondered what hangups, crises, spookings in the middle of the night might be developed from the shadowed subtleties of his mouth, hidden under a full beard.
What chance has a lonely surfer boy
For the love of a surfer chick,
With all these Humbert Humbert cats
Coming on so big and sick?
For me, my baby was a. woman,
For him she's just another nymphet;
Why did they run around, why did she put me down,
And get me so upset?
Even a month ago, Oedipa's next question would have been, "Why?" But now she kept a silence, waiting, as if to be illuminated.
"Maybe," said Bortz, "maybe not. You think a man's mind is a pool table?"
"I hope not."
It was Dr Hilarius, her shrink or psychotherapist. But he sounded like Pierce doing a Gestapo officer.
"I didn't wake you up, did I," he began, dry. "You sound so frightened. How are the pills, not working?"
"I'm not taking them," she said.
"You feel threatened by them?"
"I don't know what's inside them."
"You don't believe that they're only tranquilizers."
"Do I trust you?" She didn't, and what he said next explained why not.
"We still need a hundred-and-fourth for the bridge." Chuckled aridly. The bridge, die Brucke, being his pet name for the experiment he was helping the community hospital run on effects of LSD-25, mesca-line, psilocybin, and related drugs on a large sample of surburban housewives. The bridge inward. "When can you let us fit you into our schedule."
"No," she said, "you have half a million others to choose from. It's three in the morning."
"We want you." Hanging in the air over her bed she now beheld the well-known portrait of Uncle that appears in front of all our post offices, his eyes gleaming unhealthily, his sunken yellow cheeks most violently rouged, his finger pointing between her eyes. I want you. She had never asked Dr Hilarius why, being afraid of all he might answer.
"I came," she said, "hoping you could talk me out of a fantasy."
"Cherish it!" cried Hilarius, fiercely. "What else do any of you have? Hold it tightly by its little tentacle, don't let the Freudians coax it away or the pharmacists poison it out of you. Whatever it is, hold it dear, for when you lose it you go over by that much to the others. You begin to cease to be."
Oedipa sat on the earth, ass getting cold, wondering whether, as Driblette had suggested that night from the shower, some version of herself hadn't vanished with him. Perhaps her mind would go on flexing psychic muscles that no longer existed; would be betrayed and mocked by a phantom self as the amputee is by a phantom limb. Someday she might replace whatever of her had gone away by some prosthetic device, a dress of a certain color, a phrase in a ' letter, another lover.
Those, now that she was looking at them, she saw to be the alternatives. Those symmetrical four. She didn't like any of them, but hoped she was mentally ill; that that's all it was.