It won’t work, he said, but the constriction in his own heart had falsified all the words he had by now said to his two friends, he was not convinced by any of them, or any of the reasonings he had provided them on how to avoid further conflict and violence in their lives, none of it convinced him, and he had a growing sense that he was only making things worse.
Why, they asked, Because, he began, and he knew that all his copious explanations amounted to the same one sentence.
It was a sentence of two halves, Because, he had begun to answer, I am in control of my life, was the first part, and, I am under the direction of a Higher Power, was the second, and their opposites, I am not in control, in the first part, and, I am not under the direction of a Higher Power, in the second, and his mind had spun off down all the pathways that led away, scanning the 55,000 versions which had arisen, in the process of trying them all, the assertions and their opposites, the positives and the negatives, and every combination, the plurals and the singulars, the shifts of tense and the changes in grammar, and all the nuances of tone and voice, but it did not matter which choice he made, he already knew that none of them worked. It won’t work, he had said to his friends, Why, they had asked, a mirror being raised up in front of him, a green light of unimaginable brilliance, at that very moment both the influence he could feel to keep silent, something in his mouth stopping up his tongue, and a terrible pressure being exerted down upon him to blurt out the next words, fate, at the suffocating point where there was no space in the sentence, the seamless point at the junction between the two parts, for which he lacked an iron bar, or any other instrument to prize open or apart, so that he knew it was impossible to move forward or to move back, to say another word, or to unsay the question which had now been asked, and the answer he had begun, Because.
There was no space and, the conflict and the violence of human relationships, it was fate. Something to tilt the words sideways, what it needed was two walking fish, he found himself looking at the explanation which had been printed and pinned to the end of the bench on which he was sitting. He looked up at the space above the door, the Tympanum as it was called, What it needed was Saint George, it was the Crusades, a decisive battle was in progress, a subduction zone bathed in rays of green light, and his life was about to end. He found himself searching for the subject, looking from one side to the other, was he one of the two people, his friends, kneeling to the left of the door with their weapons temporarily put to one side, their arms hanging limply by their sides, alive but unable to engage in the unfolding struggle, or was he already lying among the dead on the right-hand side of the door, dead and thereby oblivious to further suffering. The text asked him to believe he was on the left, among the living, among the survivors, the saved, but it wasn’t true. So where was he. He found himself searching for the subject and not finding him in either place, among the people to the left or to the right of the door, he was not there, and he knew he was not the mighty figure on the horse emerging through the dazzling green light, that was unimaginable. Slowly his eyes followed the terrible diagonal down from left to right, penetrating into the mouth of the struggling, kneeling figure whose lance was breaking behind him, the iron bar itself entering and filling his mouth, snuffing out his life at once
and at an instance emerging from his throat, the voice was streaming out of his mouth, the direct line projecting the slogan on to the clouds in the sky, the pennant waving at its end, a great shimmering sea-blue shout encircling the circle of green light.