This sentence — can you tell it's from "The Great Gatsby"? — is for betamax3000, the upstart genius of the Althouse commentariat, who's vocally jonesing for another "Gatsby" sentence (after a couple of Gatsbyless days on this blog).
On post #1 today — "How the police handled this — they were the judge, the jury and the executioner" — he was all: "Dang. I thought we had segued from Fitzgerald sentences to Mickey Spillane."
And on post #2 — "And down the street is a retro-chic bakery, where... the windows are decorated with bird silhouettes — the universal symbol for 'hipsters welcome'" — he was in full-on "Gatsby" project mode:
"There is no confusion like the confusion of a simple mind, and as we drove away Brad Pitt was feeling the hot antlers of panic."...Don't understand the references? Maybe this post is not for you.
"She went out of the room calling 'Pitt!' and returned in a few minutes accompanied by an embarrassed, slightly worn young man, with shell-rimmed glasses and scanty blond goatee."...
"They knew that presently dinner would be over and a little later the antlers, too, would be over and casually put away."
This post is for betamax3000 and the rest of the subcategory of commentariat that is coming along for the ride in the careening car that is the isolated, ripped-out-of-context "Gatsby" sentence. Scanning my e-book just now, I hear myself mutter "ah, there's a great gatsby sentence," and I wonder if I'm saying "a 'Great Gatsby' sentence" or "a great 'Gatsby' sentence." But I'm saving that one for tomorrow. It's a doozy. A daisy. Today's sentence is a bit more subtle. Subtle and wan and vague and faded and sadly smiling over all the things that might have been but were never pursued.
Here's this woman with whom the narrator not only has no relationship, he only imagines following her off the main avenue down the hidden street where her apartment would presumably be on a corner. By not following her, you don't have to see that she would not turn back at you and smile. But in your mind, she could smile. And then even in your fantasy, she goes into her apartment without you. And she doesn't even forthrightly go in — she fades through. And there isn't even a real interior space where real people could embrace. There's only warm darkness.
Ah! But warm darkness... fading into... hidden street... We're not talking about the the landscape of the city at all, are we? It's the landscape of the female body. And, of course, when you see a woman walking on the avenue, you can only imagine traversing that place.