Elena and Lina

After a hearty breakfast of kaya toast, soft-boiled eggs, and sweet hot tea with cream at a nearby hawker center at Sembawan Hills, I leafed through the final chapters of Elena Ferrante's The Story of a New Name, the second in her phenomenal Neapolitan series. Lina Cerullo and Elena Greco's friendship is complex, set in Naples and occasionally Pisa and Milan, all of which which make for an interesting story. They seem to idolize, and outdo, each other. Elena, having just finished a university degree, visits Lina at the sausage factory, while avoiding and antagonizing the other workers' sexual innuendos. Elena writes this passage, a beautiful and appropriate description of their unusual friendship.

I understood that I had arrived there full of pride and realized that—in good faith, certainly, with affection—I had made that whole journey mainly to show her what she had lost and what I had won. But she had known from the moment I appeared, and now, risking tensions with her workmates, and fines, she was explaining to me that I had won nothing, that in the world there is nothing to win, that her life was full of varied and foolish adventures as much as mine, and that time simply slipped away without any meaning, and it was good just to see each other every so often to hear the mad sound of the brain of one echo in the mad sound of the brain of the other.

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