People in the Room by Norah Lange

People in the Room by Norah Lange

Author:Norah Lange
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: Modern Classics;literary fiction;modernist;modernism;novel;translation;translated fiction;women’s literary fiction;rite of passage;ghost story;Argentina;Argentinian;Buenos Aires;Rear Window;Hitchcock;voyeur;spy;Victoria Woolf;Woolf;Mrs Dalloway;To the Lighthouse;The Waves;Lispector;Hour of the Star;The Aleph;Oliverio Girondo;Borges;Neruda;García Lorca
Publisher: And Other Stories Publishing
Published: 2018-07-27T13:16:26+00:00


There were many times I could have cried, but it was that afternoon, when I ran back across the street and locked myself in my bedroom, where no one could see me, that I burst into uncontrollable sobs. There was no new reason to cry. Perhaps I noticed too many things, hung on certain words they spoke, which they thought unimportant. I didn’t know why I focused so intently on their every movement—the way they prepared themselves for what would always remain in the room like a long, strange conversation, free of laments—when I wasn’t planning to describe them, when the most important thing, back then, at least for me, was for them to stay at the table, two on one side, and she always alone on the other, facing her two companions.

The important thing was for them to stay as they were. Many things could happen to them, but not as long as they sat around the table—crafting their dialogues laden with secret words, familiar, unlabeled pill bottles, selfless calendars—and I could watch them as I pleased, with all the events I could foresee floating over them as if in a precise obituary: the mourning cards with black borders, their fear of flowers, their dresses ever blacker. “As long as they’re here, nothing will happen,” I often thought. “I’ll have time to talk of other things,” I kept saying to myself, hoping nothing would force me to rush, before the time came to cross the street to my house.

That afternoon I sensed something would happen, or begin to happen. It was hard to explain. It would have been necessary—as always happened—to think of it the night before, and wake up, preparing myself from far away, from some half-remembered dream. But the day before she had said, “I found a spider on my dresser this afternoon.”

I thought of the bundle of letters and forgot all about my preparations for what might happen the next day, or perhaps a few days later, when someone might tell me, “There’s someone in the drawing room.”

But that no longer mattered as much, and might never even happen. What mattered was that she had found a spider, and granted it the exact significance a spider should be given. It was as if someone had forgotten that something was missing, and just at the moment she began to believe nothing would change, that missing something failed to return to its place, because a date was recalled, a name forgotten, or a beautiful fire spoiled the peace of an afternoon when she’d planned to pay no heed to anything, and now she must think of countless things, until she felt a little guilty, as if she could’ve prevented the fire, or as if she sensed the reproach of those who would return from the city to find the afternoon ruined, disquieted, full of changes.

I didn’t think she’d done anything to deserve a spider at the beginning of the night. It was as if she were only now being punished for something she’d done years ago.


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