Where do they all come from? Where do they all belong? Why do some people seem to have an inexhaustible, even superabundant supply, while others seem unable to acquire even the smallest portion? Can happiness be borrowed, stolen, or inherited? Is it earned by meritorious works or granted by the obscure operations of grace?
In my company, when I go black hole out of want and resignation, rehashing old, haunted, evocative wounds in which people like me were expected to know their place, have-nots bereft of the comforts of solidarity and beyond the reach of charity – rather than supernova – you were – or weren’t you? – patient, kind, and nonjudgmental, offering advice and encouragement and overlooking behavior that might make less generous spirits cringe.
But your goodness is so thorough that it may inspire some unkind thoughts. Do you associate with me out of genuine affection, or because spending time with such a miserable type as me makes you feel and look better? Is your tolerant solicitude a form of complacency? And is our time together before you eventually quit me or I push you away therefore not a loving portrait of the modern liberal temperament, but rather a quietly seething indictment of its nose-in-the-air narcissism?
I, mind, was never smug – I was always grateful.”