We yearned for the future. How did we learn it, that talent for insatiability?
Waste not want not. I am not being wasted. Why do I want?
I try not to think too much. Like other things now, thought must be rationed.
I enjoy the power; power of a dog bone, passive but there.
There is more than one kind of freedom, said Aunt Lydia. Freedom to and freedom from. In the days of anarchy, it was freedom to. Now you are being given freedom from. Don’t underrate it.
I would like to believe this is a story I’m telling. I need to believe it. I must believe it. Those who can believe that such stories are only stories have a better chance.
Nothing changes instantaneously: in a gradually heating bathtub you’d be boiled to death before you knew it.
I’ve crossed no boundaries, I’ve given no trust, taken no risk, all is safe. It’s the choice that terrifies me. A way out, a salvation.
I avoid looking down at my body, not so much because it’s shameful or immodest but because I don’t want to see it. I don’t want to look at something that determines me so completely.
But maybe boredom is erotic, when women do it, for men.
But this is wrong, nobody dies from lack of sex. It’s lack of love we die from.
A thing is valued, she says, only if it is rare and hard to get.
You wanted a women’s culture. Well, now there is one. It isn’t what you meant, but it exists. Be thankful for small mercies.
But remember that forgiveness too is a power. To beg for it is a power, and to withhold or bestow it is a power, perhaps the greatest. Maybe none of this is about control…maybe it’s about who can do what to whom and be forgiven for it.
You can think clearly only with your clothes on.
“Why expect one woman to carry out all the functions necessary to the serene running of a household? It isn’t reasonable or humane. Your daughters will have greater freedom.”
He doesn’t mind this, I thought. He doesn’t mind it at all. Maybe he even likes it. We are not each other’s, anymore. Instead, I am his.
But people will do anything rather than admit that their lives have no meaning. No use, that is. No plot.
All I can hope for is a reconstruction: the way love feels is always only approximate.
Humanity is so adaptable, my mother would say. Truly amazing, what people can get used to, as long as there are a few compensations.
And so I step up, into the darkness within; or else the light.
We must be cautious about passing moral judgment upon the Gileadean. Surely we have learned by now that such judgments are of necessity culture-specific…our job is not to censure but to understand.”