Lydia Davis, “Break It Down”

“But it isn’t over when it ends, it goes on after it’s all over, she’s still inside you like a sweet liquor, you are filled with her, everything about her has kind of bled into you, her smell, her voice, the way her body moves, it’s all inside you, at least for a while after, then you begin to lose it, and I’m beginning to lose it, you’re afraid of how weak you are, that you can’t get her all back into you again and now the whole thing is going out of your body and it’s more in your mind than your body, the pictures come to you one by one and you look at them, some of them last longer than others, you were together in a very white clean place, a coffeehouse, having breakfast together, and the place is so white that against it you can see her clearly, her blue eyes, her smile, the colors of her clothes, even the print of the newspaper she’s reading, the brown coffee, the brown rolls, all against that white table and those white plates and silver urns and silver knives and spoons, and against that quiet of the sleepy people in that room sitting alone at their tables with just some chinking and clattering of spoons and cups in saucers and some hushed voices her voice now and then rising and falling. The pictures come to you and you have to hope they won’t lose their life too fast and dry up though you know know they will and that you’ll also forget some of what happened, because already you’re turning up little things that you nearly forgot.”

“Suddenly Last Summer”

DOCTOR:
You say that your niece suppers from Dementia Praecox. There must have been a more exact diagnosis.

MRS. VENABLE
Such a pretty name for a disease. Sounds like a rare flower, doesn’t it? Night-blooming dementia praecox.

DOCTOR:
What form does her disturbance take?

MRS. VENABLE
Madness. Obsession, memory. She lacerates herself with memory.

From Gore Vidal’s adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ one-act play.