Does it say something about me that I love Franny Glass as much today as I did when I first dipped into her existential suffering back when I was a mere high school girl?
I mean, it is somehow immature, or revealing of a certain arrested development on my part, to still identify so strongly with Franny’s struggles, with her absolute breakdown in her quest for grace?
For Truth in its highest order?
The residue of which is to find everything and everyone shallow and meaningless and full of ego. Which is another way of saying, "I'm just so sick of pedants and conceited little tearer-downers I could scream."
I mean, poor Lane! He was just trying to be her date and impress her. He knew she was shutting him out and he was trying desperately to stay afloat.
Is that such a crime?
Which is another way of saying, sometimes I wish that I, too, could cry my eyes out at an apartment on the Upper East Side, full of dusty old memories, and to pull the fleas out of poor Bloomberg the cat while Bessie, my mom, in her housecoat full of tools and a pack of cigarettes, doesn’t let brother Zooey alone as he tries to take a bath, for godssakes, and read a letter written to him by his very wise and reclusive brother.
Only I am old enough now to if not be Franny’s mother than at least to be her doddering aunt. Although today Franny herself would be in her 70's. Which would mean she could be my mom.
Which is all another way of saying, I also find everything so sad-making. Everything makes me cry! And in my quest for love I realized as I returned home the other night from a certain Indian energy healing session, that I have completely given up on the world we see before us and have instead gone in search of the world of the spiritual.
Not Jewish, of course! Heaven forbid I turn to my own heritage for solace! No, instead I’m seeking after the Chinese herbalists, the acupuncturists piercing my tender neck (ouch!) and the aforenmentioned energy healers, so that together we can chant and om and seek grace. And in the end they can lay their hands on my head and pray, just like Jewish parents pray over their precious children every Shabbat.
But what am I really seeking? Is this quest for a mate solely a quest for a mate or for something much bigger? That same thing that poor Franny sought when she muttered to herself incessantly the words of the prayer by a certain former Jew whose name I cannot utter here?
Because me thinks that even when I meet my beshert – and I know that I will, even if by then I don’t have all my teeth – I will still feel this empty space within that is searching for more.
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