They keep telling me why I do what I do. I do it so that one day someone will do for me what I'm doing for her. They're saying, then,
that my motivation is to be, down the line, the recipient of the doing.
According to their logic, I buy her the Times and irises for the bed
table, renew the nitroglycerin and Cardia, throw in the chocolate that
isn't allowed, and, back home, scour the tub, scrub the toilet—I do
these things in order to have them done for me, if not by her, who
can't do them (let's be honest), then, second best, by someone else.
They say that's the reason I study so closely her happiness, her lack of
happiness. And their gentleness in the telling, the lowered chin and
eyes, the slow enunciation, the hand reaching toward my wrist—it all
tells me that things won't end where I think they will, that what I do
isn't like a mitral valve (thrust open, clamp shut), an act without
volition, but is, like the refusal finally to turn away, something chosen,
which may or may not do anything like what one hopes it will.