Get out of my head, I tell X, no not you, actually yes you, especially you, and all the others too. Get out and let me be. You and all the rest of them. It’s like being circled by eagles and vultures and who knows who’s an eagle and who a vulture. Everywhere I go I have to look up, everywhere I go there’s some stupid danger I have to look out for, I say, never can I be myself, how could I when I always have to look out for you and all the rest of you, guard myself against you, defend myself against you, attack you, get out of my head, I say.
I’m cornered, I tell X, they’ve cornered me, they’ve humiliated me, like an animal, like a criminal, like a refugee. I’m backing up on my hands and feet, but they’ve got me in a corner, they’re killing me, except they’re not, not yet, next time I see them I’ll tell them to their faces, I’ll show them who they really are, I’ll back them up, I’ll corner them and I’ll kill them. Except I won’t, will I, I tell X, because even as I corner them I’ll still be cornered, I’ll be carrying my corner into their corner, even as I kill them they’ll be killing me.
I loved watching my husband and my son walking together to the Temple, and I loved waiting behind to pray before setting out to the Temple alone, not speaking, looking at no one. I loved some of the prayers and the words read from the book aloud to us. I knew them and they came to mean soft comfort to me as I set out to walk home having listened to them. What was strange then was that in those few hours before sundown a sort of quiet battle went on within me between the after-sound of the prayers, the peace of the day, the dull noiseless ease of things, and something dark and disturbed, the sense that each week which passed was time lost that could not be recovered and a sense of something else I could not name that had lurked between the words of the book as though in waiting like hunters, or trappers, or a hand that was ready to wield the scythe at harvest time. The idea that time was moving, the idea that so much of the world remained mysterious, unsettled me. But I accepted it as an inevitable aspect of a day spent looking inward. I was glad nonetheless when the shadows melted into darkness at sundown and we could talk again and I could work in the kitchen and think once more of the others and of the world outside.
– Colm Toibin, The Testament of Mary