With my eyes, from my particular angle, in my own way

It has always seemed to me that one of the more deplorable aspects of dying, aside from the terror, pain and filth, is the fact that when I’m gone there will be no one here to register the world in just the way that I do. Don’t misunderstand me, I have no illusions about my significance in the torrid scheme of things. Others will register other versions of the world, countless billions of them, a welter of worlds particular each to each, but the one that I shall have made merely by my brief presence in it will be lost for ever. That’s a harrowing thought, I find, more so in a way even than the prospect of the loss of self itself. Consider me there that night, under that strew of gems on their cloth of purple plush, having been set upon out of nowhere by love and gazing all about me with my mouth open, noting how the starlight laid sharp shadows diagonally down the sides of the houses, how the roof of Marcus’s car gleamed as if under a fine skim of oil, how the fox fur of Polly’s collar bristled in burning tips, how the roadway darkly shone with frosted grit and the outlines of everything glimmered—all that, the known and common world made singular by my just looking at it. Polly smiling, Marcus vexed, Gloria with her fag, the parcel of people behind me coming out of the Clockers in a burst of drunken hilarity, their breath forming globes of ectoplasm on the air—they would all see what I saw, but not as I did, with my eyes, from my particular angle, in my own way that is as feeble and imperceptive as everyone else’s but that is mine, all the same: mine, and hence unique.

John Banville, The Blue Guitar, 2015.

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