The Blind Assassin

The Blind Assassin - Margaret Atwood

My first wife and I used to read books together.

We would take turns reading chapters aloud, listening. I think we may even have journalled about them. It was a sort of intimacy I realize now that one only encounters in rare circumstances, the ingredients being difficult to obtain. For one, it was a time when I was young, unhurried, open and optimistic. Today I may have a certain amount of unhurriedness, but those other things have wandered off. Also, the relationship must be supple enough to hold two people in a place like that. Reading in bed on cool, white sheets.
Back in the fall of 2001, she and I were drifting apart. Our move to Montana had been good for us in some ways -- a fresh start --but we left behind a support system that would have been helpful with little money and two small children. I remember the evening we went to Barnes & Noble and picked out The Blind Assassin to read together. I hoped that we could read this novel aloud and rediscover that quiet space and that marital strength that we once shared. I did not realize it then, but I was experiencing a slowly building manic state that would drive us apart permanently, and that this book would remain on my shelf unread for fourteen years. Finishing this powerful story tonight, I wanted to… I don’t know. Acknowledge my sins? I didn’t realize I was ill. She is a good mother and I’m glad we got to spend the time together we did. I will always care for her.