Normal People by Sally Rooney Read Online (FREE)
Yes, she said. But if you sent one I would honestly never delete it, so you probably shouldn’t.
He laughed then. No, I don’t care whether you delete it, he said.
She uncrossed her ankles. I mean I’ll take it to my grave, she said. Like I will look at it probably every day until I die.
He was really laughing then. Marianne, he said, I’m not a religious person but I do sometimes think God made you for me.
The sports centre flashes past the driver’s-side window through the blur of rainfall. Connell looks at Marianne again, then back at the road.
And you’re with this guy Jamie now, aren’t you? he says. So I hear.
He’s not a bad-looking guy.
Oh, she says. Well, okay. Thanks.
She and Jamie have been together for a few weeks now. He has certain proclivities. They have certain shared proclivities. Sometimes in the middle of the day she remembers something Jamie has said or done to her, and all her energy leaves her completely, so her body feels like a carcass, something immensely heavy and awful that she has to carry around.
Yeah, says Connell. I actually beat him in a game of pool once. You probably don’t remember.
Connell nods and adds: He always liked you. Marianne stares out the windshield at the car ahead. It’s true, Jamie always liked her. He sent her a text once implying that Connell wasn’t serious about her. She showed Connell the text and they laughed about it. They were in bed together at the time, Connell’s face illuminated by the lit display on her phone screen. You should be with someone who takes you seriously, the message read.
What about you, are you seeing anyone? she says.
Not really. Nothing serious.
Embracing the single lifestyle.
You know me, he says.
I did once.
He frowns. That’s a bit philosophical, he says. I haven’t changed much in the last few months.
Neither have I. Actually, yeah. I haven’t changed at all.
One night in May, Marianne’s friend Sophie threw a house party to celebrate the end of the exams. Her parents were in Sicily or somewhere like that. Connell still had an exam left at the time, but he wasn’t worried about it, so he came along too. All their friends were there, partly because Sophie had a heated swimming pool in her basement. They spent most of the night in their swimsuits, dipping in and out of the water, drinking and talking. Marianne sat at the side with a plastic cup of wine, while some of the others played a game in the pool. It seemed to involve people sitting on other people’s shoulders and trying to knock each other into the water. Sophie got up onto Connell’s shoulders for the second match, and said appreciatively: That’s a nice solid torso you have. Marianne looked on, slightly drunk, admiring the way Sophie and Connell looked together, his hands on her smooth brown shins, and feeling a strange sense of nostalgia for a moment that was already in the process of happening. Sophie looked over at her then.