Faith Healer

Grace:  And I knew at once — I knew it instinctively — that before the night was out he was going to measure himself against the cripple in the wheelchair. And he did. Yes. Outside in the yard. I watched from an upstairs window. But that was hours later, just after daybreak. And throughout the night the others had become crazed with drink and he had gone very still and sat with his eyes half-closed but never for a second taking them off the invalid. Before they all went out to the yard — it was almost dawn then — I gripped him by the elbow. ‘For Christ’s sake, Frank, please, for my sake,’ and he looked at me, no, not at me, not at me, past me, beyond me, out of those damn benign eyes of his; and I wasn’t there for him…

Frank:  It was a September morning, just after dawn. The sky was orange and everything glowed with a soft radiance — as if each detail of the scene had its own self-awareness and was satisfied with itself. The yard was a perfect square enclosed by the back of the building and three high walls. And the wall facing me as I walked out was breached by an arched entrance. […] And I walked across that yard, over those worn cobbles, towards the arched entrance, because framed in it, you would think posed symmetrically, were the four wedding guests; and in front of them, in his wheelchair, McGarvey. […] More shrunken than I had thought. And younger. His hands folded patiently on his knees; his feet turned in, his head slightly to the side. A figure of infinite patience, of profound resignation, you would imagine. Not a hint of savagery. And Ned’s left hand protectively on his shoulder. And although I knew that nothing was going to happen, nothing at all, I walked across the yard towards them. And as I walked I became possessed of a strange and trembling intimation: that the whole corporeal world — the cobbles, trees, the sky, those four malign implements — somehow they had shed their physical reality and had become mere imaginings, and that in all existence there was only myself and the wedding guests. And that intimation in turn gave way to a stronger sense: that even we had ceased to be physical and existed only in spirit, only in the need we had for each other.   

(He takes off his hat as if he were entering a church and holds it at his chest. He is both awed and elated. […])

And as I moved across that yard towards them and offered myself to them, then for the first time I had a simple and genuine sense of home-coming. Then for the first time there was no atrophying terror; and the maddening questions were silent. At long last I was renouncing chance.

(Pause for about four seconds. Then quick black.) (13)