'A man who comes to be hanged,' pursued Jasper, impartially, 'has the satisfaction of knowing that he has brought society to its last resource. He is a man of such fatal importance that nothing will serve against him but the supreme effort of law. In a way, you know, that is success.'
~George Gissing [read]
The Death of James M. Boyd (2014) (Albuquerque Police Department)
If I were drowning I couldn’t reach out a hand to save myself, so unwilling am I to set myself up against fate.
This is what she said to him one night. He was not interested, and she had not expected him to be so. She had not even thought, as she said it, that it might be the truth. But the image, nevertheless, remained with her, as though she had by accident articulated something of significance, and as she lay in bed at night, swollen and sleepless, she wondered whether she might not have been, after all, as she had said. Because it was not so much the indignity that she feared, not the screams, not the calls for attention, the inconvenience caused, the ugly respiration, the spluttering, the bubbling lungs: it was not so much these, though, who would like the thought of them? It was worse than that, some yet greater pride or subjection: for if alone, even if alone, quietly, going under, submerging, she would reject the opportune branch, and fail to make for the friendly bank. Unless cast there by the water itself, she would drown. There was something sacred in her fate that she dared not countermand by effort. If the current chose to rescue her, it could: providence could deal with her without her own assistance. If she was chosen, she was chosen: if not, then she would quietly refrain from the folly of asserting her belief in her election, in the miraculous interventions of fate on her behalf.
Some weeks later, he left her. She was not surprised. She had been expecting it. She was quite pleased to see him go. Everything seemed a little colder without him — the bed, the house itself, her meals, which she no longer troubled to heat; she ate baked beans and sardines and asparagus straight from the tin. The temperature of her life seemed to be cooling into some ice age of inactivity, lacking the friction of a dying marriage, lacking even the fragile sparrow-like warmth of her child: her child was not with her, he was staying with her parents while she waited to give birth to her second. So she had nothing to do, nothing at all, but to keep herself alive, and to wait for the pangs of birth to begin. She did not ring her parents to tell them that her husband had left her, because she preferred to be alone. She wandered round the cold and empty house, watching the rain fall outside, seeing the windows silt up with London grime, watching the dust thicken on the furniture. She did nothing. She had often, as a girl, imagined such a life: empty, solitary, neglected, cold. It seemed to have happened to her, perhaps as a result of those imaginings. Like a victim, she waited: meek, like a sacrifice.
~Margaret Drabble [buy]
Now (2013) (Paramore)
Wednesday (2014) (James Nord)