From Stephan Merrill Block’s The Story of Forgetting – a wonderful, multi-layered examination of memory, loss, acceptance, and family. Please note this passage comes from the end of the book and some readers may consider some of it spoilers. I understand that may bother some people, I just found it so telling when I came across it that all the other passages I was considering melted away. Block’s second novel, The Storm at the Door will be released this June and it is going on my “must get” list.
I was one too many. It is probably true that things would have been infinitely simpler if I had left when I was still a young man, before Mae and Paul had ever met. But we lived how we had lived, and our family had taken the shape it had taken, our configuration fixed in the triangular, love and pity and indignation bending around the three corners, passing in both directions. What stability we had was forged by the longing and the impossibility and the reciprocity intrinsic to our shape: the incompleteness of Mae’s love for Paul balanced by her love for me, the unrequited love between Mae and myself balanced by our devotion to my brother, Paul’s impossible love for the boy whose shape I had taken balanced by Mae’s insistent silence. We could only be as a triad. Into the endless oeuvre of the sacred number three, whose work spans the from the Holy Trinity through Poseidon’s trident to the three-bean salad, we added ourselves. I may have been the one too many, but perhaps, after all those years, there wasn’t any alternative. Perhaps that is why, only weeks after I left, what remained of my family could no longer remain. Unbound, we collapsed and then shattered. (pg. 235-236)