Thursday, March 25, 2010

Quote: The Time Traveler's Wife


Sunday, December 10, 1978 (Henry is 15, and 15)

Henry: I'm in my bedroom with my self. He's here from next March. We are doing what we often do when we have a little privacy, when it's cold out, when both of us are past puberty and haven't quite gotten around to actual girls yet. I think most people would do this, if they had the sort of opportunities I have. I mean, I'm not gay or anything.

It's late Sunday morning. I can hear the bells ringing at St. Joe's. Dad came home late last night; I think he must have stopped at the Exchequer after the concert; he was so drunk he fell down on the stairs and I had to haul him into the apartment and put him to bed. He coughs and I hear him messing around in the kitchen.

My other self seems distracted; he keeps looking at the door. "What?" I ask him. "Nothing," he says. I get up and check the lock. "No," he says. He seems to be making a huge effort to speak. "Come on," I say.

I hear Dad's heavy step right outside my door. "Henry?" he says, and the knob of the door slowly turns and I abruptly realize that I have inadvertently unlocked the door and Henry leaps for it but it's too late: Dad sticks his head in and there we are, in flagrante delicto. "Oh," he says. His eyes are wide and he looks completely disgusted. "Jesus, Henry." He shuts the door and I hear him walking back to his room. I throw my self a reproachful glare as I pull on a pair of jeans and a T-shirt. I walk down the hall to Dad's bedroom. His door is shut. I knock. No answer. I wait. "Dad?" Silence. I open the door, stand in the doorway. "Dad?" He's sitting with his back to me, on his bed. He continues to sit, and I stand there for a while, but I can't bring myself to walk into the room. Finally I shut the door, walk back to my own room.

...

"So what happens next?"

"Dad ignores you for three weeks. And this" - he waves his hand at the bed - "we've got to stop meeting like this." (55-6,57)

While watching the movie version of Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife (which I also like to call How Often Can You See Eric Bana's Ass in One Film That Isn't Pornographic), my roommate pointed out this passage to me (It does not occur in the movie.), and I was intrigued. But I cooled after reading it. What's with that petulant "I'm not gay" that occurs in the first paragraph? For starters, why say Oh, everyone would do this and then follow it with But I'm not gay. It IS homoerotic, but I don't think it necessarily counts as "gay" per se: it's much more masturbation, don't you think?

Also it doesn't ring true to the time period: Would a 15-year-old in 1978 be aware of that delineation? Maybe. But not in such a nonchalant sort of way. I was 15 in 1990, and my prayers not to be gay (thankfully NOT answered) were feverish at the least, filled with fears of eternal damnation (shitty Baptist upbringing) at worst.

It also doesn't ring true because in 3 months, Henry is going to go back and do it all over again. It's a perpetual loop. Meh.

Also, I think we should start a new drinking game: you have to do a shot for everytime Eric Bana is naked in this movie. I'm up for it. :)

3 comments:

robertga99 said...

Count me in too!

Brent Dunlevy said...

Yes I like the picture of him sitting on the chair.

Kyle said...

An "Eric Bana is naked" drinking game. I could go for that! JP, love that mind of yours.