Cat found me eating like this the other night. She was out late with her boyfriend doing I hate to think what and she came creeping in and saw me and said, "You are so sad." I just looked at her and went on eating. I could have said, Oh yes, and you're having such a great life? I know that so-called boyfriend of hers. He's famous for going out with plain girls because they fuck on the first date. He's an animal. Cat says she doesn't care and anyway all men are the same including me. This is true. I have a so-called girlfriend who I only want to see for sex, though I go along with the rest of it for the sake of appearances. She doesn't know this. That is, she knows it very well, but I never say it and she never asks and I suppose she must be getting something out of it or she wouldn't go on seeing me. Her name is Am. I think she's disappointed in me.
Actually I'm a disappointment to everyone who cares about me. Both my parents are disappointed in me. My grandfather is disappointed in me. My godmother Sheila who never forgets my birthday and keeps photographs of me as a baby is disappointed in me. They used to want me to have hobbies and ambitions and a great object in life. Now they just want me to get a job. What can I say? It hasn't happened. I quite liked films for a while, and they all thought this would give me a direction in life. But my interest waned.
Excerpted from The Society of Others by William Nicholson, pages 1-8. Copyright © 2005 by William Nicholson. Excerpted by permission of Nan A. Talese, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien
Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.
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