Quote Of The Day: Walk Through A Wall

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Quote Of The Day #71

“There comes a time in a man’s life when to get where he has to go, if there are no doors or windows, he walks through a wall.” –Bernard Malamud

I am not sure about a man’s ability to walk through a wall when he can’t find a path forward, however I have witnessed people who try to walk through a wall when they have no way out. I think this may happen to different people in different times, but it is a bit more frequent for immigrants. “The Real Life Love Triangle” is such a story. In this story, people would inevitably blame Adu mostly because he was dating two girls, Weni and Shasha, at the same time. However it was not entirely Adu’s fault although I agree that he should take the majority of the blame.

The problem is that in the immigrant community here, the chance to meet a suitable partner is severely reduced, compared with all those chances back in Asia. There are not so many people to start with; the restaurants are not so crowded; social events were less frequent; relatives who can help arrange “meets” are not here. This is why Shasha in the story tried to find somebody suitable but couldn’t. However the traditional custom was hanging above Shasha’s head and urging her to find a husband without delay. The traditional custom didn’t care about the special condition of immigrants’ life; it didn’t care who you are and where you are located; it didn’t care about your little preferences and vanities; it didn’t care that the choices are few; it didn’t care that the heart has yearnings, which have to be appeased.

So Shasha suddenly found that the traditional custom required her to go forward. If there are no doors or windows, she had to walk through a wall to reach what is required of her. She knew Adu and Weni were engaged at the time, but without other options, she chased Adu anyway despite his engagement.

Adu was very popular among girls, for the simple fact that Adu enjoyed spending time with girls. Adu grew up in a remote farming village close to Siberia, which means that he was not schooled in modern interests for boys when he was young. He didn’t like sports, didn’t know the necessity of men bonding with men, didn’t play computer games, didn’t read comic books, didn’t play toys for boys etc. Basically he was different from other scientists or engineers around him who enjoy numbers, computer games, comics, science fictions more than they enjoy women’s company. Adu never ate alone and would always find girls to have lunch or dinner with. He was not afraid of a group of girls talking together. Actually he would budge in a group of chatty girls and immediately jump into the conversation without invitation. He would like to cook with women in the kitchen during a party when the rest of the guys were all drinking beers and watching soccer in the living room.

The most amazing fact of Adu was that he was not afraid of running into an argument with girls. He didn’t have the polite refrain that other guys had. He was very comfortable discussing with girls on the most minute details of housekeeping, such as the color choice of a towel. Due to these rare traits, he was the favorite person in the community. Also he liked to go shopping for clothes and could give unique comments. No wonder Shasha liked him and decided to win him over, despite his nuptial arrangement with another girl. Shasha had no other choice anyway.

After Adu’s wedding debacle, I tried to defend him since I liked him to a certain degree. However his reputation really took a hit in the community, which required serious effort in recuperation. Soon afterwards, he and Shasha moved away.

I am trying to talk about “The Complete Stories” by Bernard Malamud, but is distracted by Adu and Shasha’s story. Sometimes life does ask us to walk through a wall and we just have to do what we have to do. Actually this book is quite interesting, with many short stories about Jewish immigrants living in New York and New Jersey about 70 to 80 years ago.

I am about to finish the book. Right now I am listening to the story of an English professor who started a job at a university in California. He had a female student who’s older than other students. He tried to date the student, but she told him about her history of being a call girl, which surprised him…

(To Be Continued)

3 thoughts on “Quote Of The Day: Walk Through A Wall

  1. They say a caring and loving partner can add years to a person’s life and a troublesome one can reduce a person’s life span. I wish there weren’t so many societal demands and customs when it comes to finding a life partner. Love is meant to be free from rigidity so that it can thrive.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, love is a beautiful thing and wish people can all find the love of their life and live happily after. However, there are often customs to be overcome and prejudice to fight against. We have to fight our own monsters first before we can get love.

      Liked by 1 person

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