This passage in her latest book, All My Puny Sorrows, had me sobbing from that weird sad-happy-nostalgic-overwhelming feeling that you get when you passively witness something that makes your heart so happy but also breaks it at the same time. After reading this I just wept and wept. Maybe I’m a total weirdo, but maybe not.
…the other day when walking down a back lane near my place I saw this old couple trying to reach something that was near the top of their garage door. I got closer and saw that they were trying to erase some graffiti but I didn’t know what it was. And then I saw that the man was standing on a really low stool, it was only six or seven inches off the ground, and the woman was standing behind him, like spotting him, holding on to his hips so he wouldn’t fall. I just wanted to cry. They were so old. And so concerned for each other, and just wanting to have a nice, clean garage. they were helping each other like that and the stool was only half a foot off the ground, but it would have been a disaster if he’d fallen.
That’s beautiful, said Elf. Her eyes were closed. I hope their garage stays clean forever.
It won’t, I said. It’ll be covered in graffiti again soon.
Hmmm, said Elf.
But what’s so moving about this couple is that they keep trying to get rid of it. I guess they’ve been doing it all their lives, hoping against all odds that for once it’ll stay clean.
So many of Toews’ characters just float through her books making the best of the losing hand they’ve been dealt in this life. Maybe that’s why I relate to them so much. Which is totally ridiculous because my life is perfect and amazing.