from 'The Gentleman With The Lapdog' V
People are funny. Germaine to their happiness is usually a conviction that the future will be better than the past. Once born, the wonders of childhood advance like a carpet, ahead. A child chafes under the bonds of adolescence. Adolescence anticipates the freedom of maturity. Adults entertain the prospect of healthy old age, the geriatric the prospect of the life-to-come. The future must be rosy and offer respite from the doldrum of the present, or a man is sad. And the past, no matter how dingy, morphs rosy in retrospect. Women, to this degree, seem the greatest optimists. Otherwise, no one would get born.
If Tanya seemed glum as we set off to collect Jack from the hospital the next morning, it can perhaps be understood by that- ahe'd lost faith in the future, based on events in the recent past- a past too recent to recall as anything but bad. As the cab clipped along, she took out a handkerchief from her purse and began to cry.
'What's the matter? ' I wondered, pretending ignorance.
'I don't know, ' she sobbed. I'm so worried about Jack. He's been acting so weird, lately- ever since that operation.'
I had similar misgivings. Would Jack become a permanent management problem? Would he bark in the lobby? Could he go to concerts and plays? Of what use is a man, if not.
'Aw, don't worry, ' I told her, 'I sort of like him as a lapdog. It's endearing.'
'Peter, that's not helpful! '
I laughed. What else could I do?
'I know, but...'
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