Endless Things

Because Beau, the only one she would have stayed with, was unclaimable – not all the nights she had spent by his side had let her into him, he would stop at her frontiers, always, or gently stop her at his own – and it was so painful and disorienting that she thought she had better find out if it was because of something that was in her or something in Beau or something in all men, something that wouldn’t couple with whatever it was in her, as though she were threaded wrong, or they were (230).

He had never made his general happiness, the furtherance of his goals or the fulfilling of his needs, a condition of his love for anyone, certainly not any of the women he had been with. He had tried to find and supply what they needed; hadn’t asked anything for himself but that they would not go, not tire of him, not discard him. He’d never learned – who could have told him, if he simply didn’t know? – that one thing you can do to keep her by you, given a general good disposition toward you, is to give her something to do for you: something that, maybe, would take a lifetime. That way she’d remain, maybe. And the thing you asked for would be done for you, too, to some degree, in some way, which would be heartening and lovely even if it wasn’t always or entirely successful. I need your help (238).

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