From: Practicalities, by M. Duras, "The Cutter-off of Water", Grove Press, NY
In life [it] happens all the time, when someone goes away, or dies, or when there's a suicide no one ever anticipated. People forget what was said, what went before and should have warned them.
All four of them went and lay down on the rails of the high-speed train near the station. The man and the woman each held a child in their arms, and waited for the train. The Cutter-off of Water didn't have an enemy in the world.
I add to the story of the Cutter-off of Water the fact that the woman, who everyone said was retarded, knew something for certain anyhow,: she knew she couldn't count, now any more than ever, on anyone's helping her and her family out. She knew she was abandoned by everyone, by the whole of society, and that the only thing left for her to do was die. She knew that. It's a terrible, fundamental, awful knowledge. So the question of her backwardness ought to be reconsidered, if anyone ever talked about her again. Which they won't.
This is probably the last time she'll ever be remembered. I was going to mention her name, but I don't know what it was. The case has been closed.
What stays in the mind is a child's unslaked thirst in a sweltering summer a few hours before it died, and a young retarded mother wandering about until it was time.