rain window against death

She went upstairs, step by step, very slowly. When she came to the
bedroom door with the jugs and glasses on the table outside, she paused.
The sour-sweet smell of illness slightly sickened her. She could not force
herself to go in. Through the little window at the end of the passage she
could see flamingo-coloured curls of cloud lying on a pale-blue sky.
After the dusk of the drawing-room, her eyes dazzled. She seemed fixed
there for a moment by the light. Then on the floor above she heard
children's voices—Martin and Rose quarrelling.
"Don't then!" she heard Rose say. A door slammed. She paused. Then
she drew in a deep breath of air, looked once more at the fiery sky, and
tapped on the bedroom door.
The nurse rose quietly; put her finger to her lips, and left the room.

There were so many of them in the room that she could get no further than the
doorway. She could see two nurses standing with their backs to the wall
opposite. One of them was crying—the one, she observed, who had only
come that afternoon. She could not see the bed from where she stood.
But she could see that Morris had fallen on his knees. Ought I to kneel
too? she wondered. Not in the passage, she decided. She looked away;
she saw the little window at the end of the passage. Rain was falling;
there was a light somewhere that made the raindrops shine. One drop
after another slid down the pane; they slid and they paused; one drop
joined another drop and then they slid again. There was complete silence
in the bedroom.

Is this death? Delia asked herself. For a moment there seemed to be
something there. A wall of water seemed to gape apart; the two walls
held themselves apart. She listened. There was complete silence. Then
there was a stir, a shuffle of feet in the bedroom and out came her father,
"Rose!" he cried. "Rose! Rose!" He held his arms with the fists clenched
out in front of him.
You did that very well, Delia told him as he passed her. It was like a
scene in a play. She observed quite dispassionately that the raindrops
were still falling. One sliding met another and together in one drop they
rolled to the bottom of the window-pane.

from The Years, by V. Woolf


1 comment:

  1. here Delia is witnessing their mother's death, for which she had waited during the endless years of her mother's illness, a burden for everyone in the house - she is emotionless, and is sure that her father feels the same, or, more precisely, doesn't feel anything.