"The Child Stood in her Woman's Pain" - Om Graham Greene og unge kvinner

Det siste ret har jeg hatt slik glede av Graham Greene, og av hans verdensvante, livstrette fortellinger, med fernisset av hardhet med elegisk srbarhet under, alltid med denne knappe, mrke poesien. Iblant nr jeg har lest om Greene, fremstilles han som en maskulin forfatter. Det er ikke sant. Portrettet av Kate Farrant, som bruker sin egen seksualitet for f bde seg og broren p fote, er ekstremt fascinerende. Og n, halvveis i "The Power and the Glory", den brutale fortellingen satt i en meksikansk borgerkrigssetting, ble jeg sltt av disse to sidene, som beskriver den trettenringe datteren til kaptein Fellows, som nettopp har hjulpet den flyktende presten som er hovedpersonen i romanen og hjulpet ham med skjule seg, for en stakket stund. Det er en bde nktern og nydelig beskrivelse av en tilstand som forfatteren umulig kan vite noe om, men penbart klarer forestille seg:

'She put on her sun-helmet and went out into the blazing ten o'clock heat to find the cook - she looked more fragile than ever and more indomitable. When she had given her orders she went into the warehouse to inspect the alligator skins tacked out on a wall then to the stables to see that the mules were in good shape. she carried her responsibilities like crockery across the hot yard: there was no question she wasn't prepared to answer; the vultures rose languidly at her approach.

She returned to the house and her mother. She said, 'It's Thursday'.

'Is it, dear?'

'Hasn't father got the bananas down to the quay?'

'I'm sure I don't know, dear.'

She went briskly back into the yard and rang a bell. An Indian came. No, the bananas were still in the store; no orders had been given. 'Get them down,' she said, 'at once, quickly. The boat will be here soon.' She fetched her father's ledger and counted the bunches as they were carried out -- a hundred bananas or more to a bunch which was worth a few pence. It took more than two hours to empty the store; somebody had to do the work, and once before her father had forgotten the day. After half an hour she began to feel tired -- she wasn't used to weariness so early in the day. She leant against the wall and it scorched her shoulder-blades. She felt no resentment at all being there, looking after things: the word 'play' had no meaning to her at all -- the whole of life was adult. In one of Henry Beckley's early reading-books there had been a picture of a doll's tea party: it was incomprehensible like a ceremony she hadn't learned: sheh couldn't see the poing of pretending. Four hundred and fifty-six. Four hundred and fifty-seven. The sweat poured down the peons' bodies steadily like a shower-bath. An awful pain took her suddenly in the stomach -- she missed a load and tried to catch up in her calculations: she felt the sense of responsibility for the first time like a load borne for too many years. Five hundred and twenty-five. It was a new pain (not worms this time), but it didn't scare her; it was as if her body had expected it, had grown up to it, as the mind grows up to the loss of tenderness. You couldn't call it childhood draining out of her: of childhood she had never really been conscious.

'Is that the last?' she said.

'Yes, seorita.'

'Are you sure?'


But she had to see for herself. Never before had it occured to her to do a job unwillingly -- if she didn't do a thing nobody would -- but today she wanted to lie down, to sleep: if all the bananas didn't get away it was her father's fault. She wondered whether she ahd fever, her feet felt so cold on the hot ground. Oh well, she thought, and went patiently into the barn, found the torch, and switched it on. Yes, the place seemed empty enough, but she never left a job half done. She advanced towards the back wall, holding the torch in front of her. An empty bottle rolled away -- she dropped the light on it: Cerveza Moctezuma. Then the torch lit the back wall: low down near the ground somebody had scrawled in chalk -- she came closer: a lot of little crosses leant in the circle of light. He must have lain down among the bananas and tried to relieve his fear by writing something, and this was all he could think of. The child stood in her woman's pain and looked at them: a horrible noveltry enclosed her whole morning: it was as if today everything were memorable.'

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35, Oslo

Inger Merete Hobbelstad (f. 1980) er kulturjournalist, teateranmelder og filmanmelder i Dagbladet og burde egentlig vre lut lei av skrive etter endt arbeidsdag. Men den gang ei. Jo, og s har jeg mastergrad i Litteraturvitenskap med en oppgave som handlet om Homers "Iliaden". Hvilket jeg altfor sjelden fr sprsml om. Og s ns jeg p imh@dagbladet.no.