You are not your character. But your characters are you. — Raymond Carver
This is a site about Carver, http://www.carversite.com/index.html, with all the books he published, and tables of contents of those books too, very helpful information, I think. Cathedral is the second Carver’s book I’ve read, I love it even more.
That evening at Bud and Olla’s was special. I knew it was special. That evening I felt good about almost everything in my life. I couldn’t wait to be alone with Fran to talk to her about what I was feeling. I made a wish that evening. Sitting there at the table, I closed my eyes for a minute and thought hard. What I wished for was that I’d never forget or otherwise let go of that evening. That’s one wish of mine that came true. And it was bad luck for me that it did. But, of course, I couldn’t know that then.
Where I’m calling from
I see this woman stop the car and set the brake. I see J.P. open the door. I watch her get out, and I see them hug each other. I look away. Then I look back. J.P. takes her by the arm and they come up the stairs. This woman broke a man’s nose once. She has had two kids, and much trouble, but she loves this man who has her by the arm. I get up from the chair.
Roxy takes my hand. She’s a tall, good-looking woman in a knit cap. She has on a coat, a heavy sweater, and slacks. I recall what J.P. told me about the boyfriend and the wire-cutters. I don’t see any wedding ring. That’s in pieces somewhere, I guess. Her hands are broad and the fingers have these big knuckles. This is a woman who can make fists if she has to.
Goddamn it, I think, if he isn’t a weird old fellow. And a wave of happiness comes over me that I’m not him – that I’m me and that I’m inside this bedroom with my wife.
I bring some change out of my pocket. I’ll try my wife first. If she answers, I’ll wish her a Happy New Year. But that’s it. I won’t bring up business. I won’t raise my voice. Not even if she starts something. She’ll ask me where I’m calling from, and I’ll have to tell her. I won’t say anything about New Year’s resolutions. There’s no way to make a joke out of this. After I talk to her, I’ll call my girlfriend. Maybe I’ll call her first. I’ll just have to hope I don’t get her kid on the line. “Hello, sugar,” I’ll say when she answers.”It’s me.”
It was then, as he stood at the window, that he felt something come to an end. It had to do with Eileen and the life before this. Had he ever waved at her? He must have, of course, he knew he had, yet he could not remember just now. But he understood it was over, and he felt able to let her go. He was sure their life together had happened in the way he said it had. But it was something that had passed. And that passing – though it had seemed impossible and he’d fought against it – would become a part of him now, too, as surely as anything else he’d left behind.
Dreams, you know, are what you wake up from.