The Kolker hated himself, or his other self, for it. He would pace the bedroom at night, arguing savagely with his other self at the top of the two lungs they shared, often beating the chest that housed those lungs, or boxing their face. After badly injuring Brod in several night incidents, he decided (against her will) that the doctor with the broken nose was right: they must sleep apart.

I won’t. 

There’s nothing to be said.

Then leave me. I’d rather that than this. Or kill me. That would be even better than your leaving.

You’re being ridiculous, Brod. I’m only going to sleep in a different room.

But love is a room, she said. That’s what it is.

This is what we have to do.

This is not what we have to do.

It is.

It worked for a few months. They were able to assume a regular daily life with only the occasional outburst of brutality, and would part i the evening to undress and go to bed alone. They would explain their dreams to each other over bread and coffee the next morning and describe the positions of their restlessness. It was an opportunity that their hurried marriage had never allowed for: coyness, slowness, discovering one another from a distance. They had their seventh, eighth, and ninth conversations. The Kolker tried to articulate what he wanted to say, and it always came out wrong. Brod was in love and had a reason to live.

Everything is Illuminated, Jonathan Safran Foer, pp. 129-130


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