The eighteenth of May, 2011: a kind of visible sob

I don’t play golf, but this almost makes me wish that I did (I expect that I shall, someday).

His heart is hushed, held in mid-beat, by anger. He doesn’t care about anything except getting out of this tangle. He wants it to rain. In avoiding looking at Eccles he looks at the ball, which sits high on the tee and already seems free of the ground. Very simply he brings the clubhead around his shoulder into it. The sound has a hollowness, a singleness he hasn’t heard before. His arms force his head up and his ball is hung way out, lunarly pale against the beautiful black blue of storm clouds, his grandfather’s color stretched dense across the north. It recedes along a line straight as a ruler-edge. Stricken; sphere, star, speck. It hesitates, and Rabbit thinks it will die, but he’s fooled, for the ball makes its hesitation the ground of a final leap: with a kind of visible sob takes a last bite of space before vanishing in falling.

From John Updike’s Rabbit, Run (Penguin Classics, 2006). When I hadn’t read him I thought Updike’s books were all about golf and adultery. I’m not sure I was very far wrong.

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One response to “The eighteenth of May, 2011: a kind of visible sob

  1. Ah, yes. Page 115, bottom paragraph. Quite poignant.

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