Where nothing ever happens
On posthumous existences
Clicking through the photos on Facebook for the wedding to which he had not been invited, having fallen out with the groom, and with that whole social circle, Norris felt welling within himself what he took to be a generous vicarious pleasure, but also some kind of sadness. The more he looked, the more he clicked through this high-resolution record of happiness, the more he felt this sadness take definite shape. It was a sadness not of envy, but, he now realized, with a kind of revulsion that made him flinch away, of recognition. It was as if he were looking at a vision of the afterlife. Everything was too perfect—that is to say, everyone was too perfectly themselves. The wedding was, clearly, a community affair, with roles assigned to each, harvesting the fruit-fruits of each one’s talents.
Edgar was the officiant—of course. The somewhat abashed happiness with which he sustained the weight that had been riskily but not unwisely settled upon his slight frame showed that Mike and Emma, the bride and groom, with their strangely matched secretive dark eyes, as if they were twins, had judged well. In another photo, Callum was spinning records as DJ—Callum, the frontman for that terrible punk rock band, which Mike and Sam, after cajoling Norris into hearing them that one time, had spent the entire evening ignoring. This had shocked Norris then, and it was almost obscene, he now thought, knowing the justified contempt in which Mike held Callum’s musicianship, that he had asked him to play this role—as if he had reached into Callum’s heart and plucked out this utterly brittle, utterly unjustified image of himself, then compelled it upon a stage for all to see. It was too much like a resurrection from the dead, still smelling of the cerements, and consequently too much tinged with forgiveness. How could everyone forgive each other, and themselves, so much?
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