You Sat There All Your Life

5 May 2013 /

The taste of self-inflicted suffering, of an evening trashed in spite, brought curious satisfactions. Other people stopped being real enough to carry blame for how you felt. Only you and your refusal remained. And like self-pity, or like the blood that filled your mouth when a tooth was pulled — the salty ferric juices that you swallowed and allowed yourself to savor — refusal had a flavor for which a taste could be acquired. . . .

And if you sat at the dinner table long enough, whether in punishment or in refusal or simply in boredom, you never stopped sitting there. Some part of you sat there all your life.

— Jonathan Franzen, The Corrections

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