“When rage reprised itself, when you fell back again on the old bitter tit for tat, when the need to escape finally left you throwing darts at the world map, at last it hit you. Simple choice: replay the old routine, the self-triggering cycle of accusation, the verbal razor cuts daubed in love’s alcohol. Traipse down the path of tender sadomasochism yet one more soul-shredding time. Or turn around and walk. Escape down the path that must still lie somewhere to the south, the way you walked in.

One more tearful reconciliation would only furthur demean you both. The place you pushed for —the tumbledown house in the country, your dream of intimacy that always made her bite in fear —vanishes now into fantasy. It gives way to that darker late-night venue, where hisses of desire shade off into abuse, abuse feeding back into desire.

You’ve been each other’s shared addiction, slinking back repeatedly to the nightmare rush that you have both fought to be rid of. You’ve come back from the dead a dozen times, only to spin out again, worse, for whole weeks at a time. You’ve suffered from the delirium of total withdrawal: one month, two, without so much of a word. Then clean, virginal, at peace, calling again, just to see if you can. Just to see who’s in charge. Just a quick little needle slipped into one another’s waiting  veins.”

~ Plowing The Dark, Richard Powers.

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