TRUTH & BEAUTY | ANN PATCHETT

But it never worked that way, and the sex just made her lonelier. I understood that, as it had made me lonelier too. I could never remember being lonely, certainly not in this way, until I had seen the edge of the ways you could be with another person, which brought up all the myriad ways that person could never be there for you.

 

But Lucy had been alone too much of her life, and in her loneliness she had constructed a vision of what a perfect relationship would look like. Love, in her imagination, was so dazzling, so tender and unconditional, that anything human seemed impossibly thin by comparison. Lucy’s loneliness was breathtaking in its enormity…she was trapped in a room full of mirrors, and every direction she looked in she saw herself, her face, her loneliness. She couldn’t see that no one else was perfect either, and that so much of love was the work of it. She had worked on everything else. Love would have to be charmed.

 

I was never happier than on the nights we stayed home, lying on the living room rug. We talked about classes and poetry and politics and sex. Neither of us were in love with the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, but it didn’t really matter because we had no place else to go. What we had was the little home we made together, our life in the ugly green duplex. We lived next door to a single mother named Nancy Tate who was generous in all matters. She would drive us to the grocery store and give us menthol cigarettes and come over late at night after her son was asleep to sit in our kitchen and drink wine and talk about Hegel and Marx. Iowa City in the eighties was never going to be Paris in the twenties, but we gave it our best shot.

 

 

What a beautiful, heartbreaking memoir about the friendship between writers Ann Patchett and Lucy Grealy.