“I moved slowly, one strained step at a time, and as I did so I thought of my mother and father and all my younger siblings, who were growing into strangers. After countless nights of deliberately trying not to think of them, I now felt a distant and detached affection that I knew I could carry harmlessly. They were gone, and whether I would ever see them again no longer troubled me. My world was weightless, more so than I had ever thought it could be. I owned practically nothing and was obligated to no one; I felt more alive than I ever had before.”
– p. 103 of Dinaw Mengestu’s latest book, All Our Names
I do have someone, some people in the world, for whom my gratitude knows no bounds. But the sheer freedom described below appeals to me in a way I can’t quite articulate. Insert old adage about longing for the things we don’t have.
You see those people? He pointed toward the bar. All those people have families, you can tell by their faces, they have families that depend on them and that they depend on, and for some of them this is good, and for some of them this is bad. But it all amounts to the same shit because there isn’t one of them who is free. They can’t do what they want to do or be who they should be. I might have no one in the world, but at least I’m free.
– the Gangster, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao