• Vol. 01
  • Chapter 11
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Spare me the victim discourse

The Lamberts were not quite like the Limpleys, in Bath, although the dog's name was also Ponto.
There was no drama, the dog was never kicked out of the house, as the wife never got pregnant. In fact, he wouldn't even look at her, let alone touch her. They were my parents' age, and they had always been together. “Poor old Claire”, my mother used to say. Claire always gazed into the void, and Don was always proud of his wonderful painting, acquired at the last auction, his elegant car, his well-groomed dog. That's the way he put it: we had abandoned the ideal of beauty, and that was a crime. Make everything around you beautiful and you will merge with that environment you have painstakingly created. Yet another monomania, I thought.

But pride was never beautiful, as you could never fill the world with just one thing. And things keep moving, and Don struggles to keep things the way they were, collecting objects, regretting youth, adoring all things eternal, speaking a language crystallised by an institution which has remained unquestioned for centuries, trying to teach us all to think in a world that no longer exists, if it ever existed at all.

And Claire? Claire is no victim. I will have none of that “Poor old Claire”. She sits there, quiet, rolling one after the other, perfectly symmetrical cigarettes, which she aligns, before placing them in her cigarette case, a beautiful ivory-sculpted case Don gave her for their last anniversary.

No, there is no “Poor old Claire”, just as Don's world is obscene.

And don't you even dare ask me if it ever crossed my mind to consider Ponto's point of view. I have an entire species to worry about first. But I'll do you a small favour and give the dog a new name. Let's call the wretched soul “Pity”.