I love this passage. Enough said. The nostalgia and longing that accompany life’s loves and life’s losses…
“At the dinner party, because of my silence, they thought I was thinking about them. And so I did begin to think about them, which broke the spell and brought me back. Also, my wife kicked me.
I nodded, as I do when I’m brought back. I said something, I don’t know what. You see, they imagine that I have everything that I want – cars and pools and appliances and Picassos – only because I have what they want. But what I want I cannot have. I cannot have so much time ahead of me that it is is seemingly without limit. I cannot any longer be quite so deeply in love with the world now that I know that my love for it is unrequited. I cannot ride in my father’s arms. I cannot know any of the great store of his memories that he did not tell me. And I cannot change the fact, as I am the last one who remembers him, that all he saw, and learned, and loved will have a second death when they die with me.
That is why for me, reconstruction is so urgent and its appeal so strong. Floating down, in the last quiet seconds, it is indeed possible, with precise and joyous recollection, to return to life the roseate glow that once it brought to you. This I have tried to do, even at the risk of smashing up a dinner party or two. And when I left that night, I kissed Alicia, and we embraced for a second or two longer than anyone expected.”
– Mark Helprin, “Reconstruction”, The Pacific and Other Stories.