Things I Don't Want to Know by Deborah Levy (Notting Hill Editions - 13 June 2013)
Excerpt from pages 72-73.
As my tears dripped on to Sister Joan’s holy veil, I thought about how she had shaved off her hair which she called her weeds of ignorance. She had told me to say my thoughts out loud but I had tried writing them down instead. Sometimes I showed her what I had written and she always made time to read everything. She said I should have told her I could read and write. Why hadn’t I told her? I said I didn’t know, and she said I shouldn’t be scared of something ‘transcendental’ like reading and writing. She was on to something because there was a part of me that was scared of the power of writing. Transcendental meant ‘beyond’, and if I could write ‘beyond’, whatever that meant, I could escape to somewhere better than where I was now. I was bitten with love for Sister Joan. She had told me that faith was not a rock. God was there one day and gone the next. If that was true, I felt truly sorry for her on the days that she lost God. I searched for the French words for goodbye and when I found them, ‘Au revoir Soeur Jeanne,’ I realised she had the same name as Joan of Arc. For some reason this made me cry even more. My bemused Godmother who hadn’t a clue what was going on snapped open her handbag and took out a scrap of paper.
‘Melissa said to give you this.’
It was a note scribbled in Pitman’s code.
‘Goodbye my crackers little chum.’