Once upon a time there was a boy who loved a girl, and her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering. When they were ten he asked her to marry him. When they were eleven he kissed her for the first time. When they were thirteen they got into a fight and for three weeks they didn't talk. When they were fifteen she showed him the scar on her left breast.When there isn't a word for what we want to say, what is left to do but face the action or idea or thought in all its monstrosity? For it isn't shielded by the form of a word or stuffed into categories and letters.
Their love was a secret they told no one. He promised her he would never love another girl as long as she lived. What if I die? she asked. Even then, he said. For her sixteenth birthday he gave her an English dictionary and together they learned the words. What's this? He'd ask, tracing his index finger around her ankle, and she'd look it up. And this? he'd ask, kissing her elbow. Elbow! What kind of word is that? and then he'd lick it, making her giggle. What about this? he asked, touching the soft skin behind her ear. I don't know, she said, turning off the flashlight and rolling over, with a sigh, onto her back.
When they were seventeen they made love for the first time, on a bed of straw in a shed. Later--when things happened that they could never have imagined--she wrote him a letter that said: When will you learn that there isn't a word for everything?--The History of Love
January 13, 2009
It only took Nicole Krauss until page 11 to write such romantic prose: