Lydia Davis, A Few Things Wrong with Me

I didn’t like hearing there were things about me that bothered him.  It was shocking to hear that some one I loved had never liked certain things about me.  Of course there were a few things I didn’t like about him too, for instance an affectation in his manner involving the introduction of foreign phrases into his conversation, but although I had noticed these things, I had never said it to him in quite this way.  But if I try to be logical, I have to think that after all there may be a few things wrong with me.  Then the problem is to figure out what these things are.

Between one phone call and the next I would sometimes walk by the window and look up at the moon, which was in its first quarter but remarkably bright, and think of him and then wonder when I would stop thinking of him every time I saw the moon.  The reason I thought of him when I saw the moon was that during the five days and four nights he and I were first together, the moon was waxing and then full, the nights were clear, we were in the country, where you notice the sky more, and every night, early or late, we would walk outdoors together, partly to get away from the various members of our families who were in the house and partly just to take pleasure in the meadows and the woods under the moonlight.  The dirt road that sloped up away from the house into the woods was full of ruts and rocks, so that we kept stumbling against each other and more tightly into each other’s arms.  We talked about how nice it would be to bring a bed out into the meadow and lie down on it in the moonlight.

It’s true that by the time the night was over I wasn’t worrying anymore about what was wrong with me.  At that hour of the morning I can usually get myself out to the end of something like a long dock with water all around where I’m not touched by such worries.  But there will always come a time later that day or a day or two after when I ask myself that difficult question once, or over and over again, a useless question, really, since I’m not the one who can answer it and anyone else who tries will come up with a different answer, though of course all the answers together may add up to the right one, if there is such a thing as a right answer to a question like that.


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