Mark Merlis in An Arrow’s Flight [published in the U.K. under the title Pyrrhus] has the narrator meditate on a notion of desire that captures the spirit of boyhood that is a country unto itself. Our narrator says
Do you know how sometimes you see a man, and you’re not sure if you want to get in his pants or if you want to cry? Not because you can’t have him; maybe you can. But you see right away something in him beyond having. You can’t screw your way into it, any more than you can get at the golden eggs by slitting the goose. So you want to cry, not like a child, but like an exile who is reminded of his homeland. That’s what Leucon saw when he first beheld Pyrrhus: as if he were getting a glimpse of that other place we were meant to be, the shore from which we were deported before we were born.
And of course the narration pursues this theme throughout the course of the narrative. Until the very end when there is mention of someone in their seventies assuring Leucon that we never grow up. Or rather we never abandon the emotional landscape that is our home.
This was what being a grown man was like. Though he would never stop feeling like a youth inside — his friend Amyclas assured him, and Amyclas had to be seventy, you never stopped feeling like a kid, playacting at being a grownup.
And the novel rings its changes all about the theme of becoming a man. And what it means to assume one’s destiny and exercise true freedom.
And so for day 786