Monday, August 11, 2008

Silent stories

When I first came to this country, I would tell silent stories. I would tell them to people who had wronged me. If someone cut in front of me in line, ignored me, bumped me or pushed me, I would glare at them, staring silently hissing a story to them. You do not understand, I would tell them. You would not add to my suffering if you knew what I have seen. And until that person left my sight, I would tell them about Deng, who died after eating elephant meat, nearly raw, or about Ahok and Awach Ugieth, twin sisters who were carried off by Arab horsemen and, if they are still alive today, have by now borne children by those men or whomever they sold them to. Do you have any idea? Those innocent twins likely remember nothing about me or our town or to whom they were born. Can you imagine this? When I was finished talking to that person I would continue my stories, talking to the air, the sky, to all the people of the world and whoever might be listening in heaven. It is wrong to say that I used to tell these stories. I still do, and not only to those I feel have wronged me. The stories emanate from me all the time I am awake and breathing, and I want everyone to hear them. Written words are rare in small village like mine, and it is my right and obligation to send my stories into the world, even if silently, even if utterly powerless.

--Dave Eggers, What is the What

2 comments:

donstuff said...

This sounds intriguing.

J.S. Peyton said...

That was beautiful. You always have the greatest quotes.