John Herman Wade Quotes in In the Lake of the Woods
He didn’t talk much. Even his wife I don’t think she knew the first damn thing about him … well, about any of it. The man just kept everything buried.
You know, I think politics and magic were almost the same thing for him. Transformations—that’s part of it—trying to change things. When you think about it, magicians and politicians are basically control freaks.
He talked about leading a good life, doing good things telling the full truth. Politics was manipulation. Like a magic show: invisible wires and secret trapdoors.
They would live in perfect knowledge, all things visible, all things invisible, no wires or strings, just that large dark world where one plus one would always come to zero.
John Wade would remember Thuan Yen the way chemical nightmares are remembered, impossible combinations, impossible events, and over time the impossibility itself would become the richest and deepest and most profound memory.
This could not have happened. Therefore it did not.
The thing about facts, he decided, was that they came in sizes. You had to try them on for proper fit. A case in point: his own responsibility. Right now he couldn’t help feeling the burn of guilt.
Curiously, as he worked out the details, Wade found himself experiencing a dull new sympathy for his father. This was how it was. You go about your business. You carry the burdens, entomb yourself in silence, conceal demon-history from all others and most times from yourself. Nothing theatrical … and then one day you discover a length of clothesline. You amaze yourself.
And here in a corner of John Wade’s imagination, where things neither live nor die, Kathy stares up at him from beneath the surface of the silvered lake. Her eyes are brilliant green, her expression alert. Se tries to speak, but can’t. She belongs to the angle. Not quite present, not quite gone, she swims in the blending twilight of in between.
It’s odd how the mind erases horror. All the evidence suggests that John Wade was able to perform a masterly forgetting trick for nearly two decades, somehow coping, pushing it all away, and from my own experience, I can understand how he kept things buried.