Monday, May 28, 2012


    The meeting in the school corridor,
    a year and a half later, I keep re-
    living in my mind, as if I were go-
    ing through a series of reincarna-
    tions that end up each time in the
    same failure. I saw that he recog-
    nized me, and there was no use in

    my hoping that I would seem not to
    have recognized him, because I
    could feel the expression of sur-
    prise on my face. He didn't speak.
    I didn't speak. We just kept on

I remember thinking afterward, When enough time has passed he will know that I haven't told anybody. .. But I still went on worrying for fear he would think that the reason I didn't speak to him was that I didn't want to know him, after what happened. Which is, I'm afraid, what he did think. What else? ..

Sometimes I almost remember passing him in the school corridors afterward. And I think, though I am not at all sure of this, that I can remember being happy that I was keeping his secret. Which must mean that he was there, that we continued to pass each other in the halls, that he didn't move away. ..

.. I do feel guilty, even so. A little. And always will, perhaps, whenever I think about him. Whether he was spared .. Whether after a while .. Whether he had as lonely a time as I did .. And whether .. all that finally began to seem less real, more like something he dreamed, so that instead of being stuck there he could go on and by the grace of God lead his own life, undestroyed by what was not his doing.

William Maxwell
1908 - 2000
Later Novels and Stories
  (Volume 2 of 2)
  So Long, See You Tomorrow
  1979 (The New Yorker)
Christopher Carduff, editor
The Library of America, 2008©


  1. Beautiful so capturing

    1. Very kind of you to say, and also to place in such candid and correct terms. I realise the secondary standard of creativity in reverse captioning, but against this concession I very much did want an homage for Memorial Day in the US, to one of our more exquisitely subtle writers. The narrator's desperate coming to terms with the greater burden in an act of betrayal is, I think, imperfectiibly quiet, as it would be; and almost every American boy born in the 3rd quarter of the 20th Century (at least) will recognise this in Maxwell's story. That generation, so divided and so challenged continuously, in so many ways, will look for a literature of power without force to admire, and Maxwell clearly understood this. Thank you for coming to rmbl today.

  2. one of my favourite books

    one of the most beautiful books

    thank you for reminding me again

    1. It was a pleasure to place the book on this day, I am glad you noticed it was here.