“I mean, to whom do you beautifully belong?” ––Henry James

Remember?––it was on that hot day in April when we sat out in the quad under a tree. I gave you-all the article from that month’s Atlantic on the end of whom; and asked, “Will any of us really miss it?”

Even I do not think that I will miss it; not that much, anyhow. Like a relative who passes, and condolences are sent, but you admit, “We weren’t very close.” So: it was not a question to be asked. This was not a vigil for whom. The bell had already tolled for whomWhom (denied love) dies young, Menander.

Then, you-there (singular girl) said, “How is it used?” and I said, “As an object pronoun. If you can pair it with him or her, then you should use whom. At least: that’s how I always remember.”

And just when we had almost conceded––to just let it slip away––to say, “One day they will see whom written in our literature and, like something from Shakespeare; sneer, ‘Did people really used to talk like that?‘ and”––you-there said you were going to start to use it in the everyday; to keep it, object dropped into your pocket, all the more precious for being unwanted, all the more grotesque for being half-dead, and take it out at parties or in casual conversation.

“I’m going to start to use it now that I know how,” is what you said.

And I, because it gave me such hope for some reason (so beautiful to think that one girl saying that she would not just let a derelict word go-gentle should inspire such a desperate tenderness in me: that maybe all of it still mattered, at least for a hot moment in April under the tree), I smiled then; and said, “I hope that you do, Rachael.”

For whom will beautifully belong to you now––is what I mean.

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One Response to “I mean, to whom do you beautifully belong?” ––Henry James

  1. dailypaisley says:

    For a second, I thought I was the girl. But I will miss whom, and I already use it in the everyday. Even if I will sound ridiculous; like my grandmother going to “the beauty parlor,” rather than “the salon”–for salon, to her, is a completely different place.

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