Some days I wake up
and all I feel
are the fractures
in the flesh
the only me
I've ever known.
it's those exact
that let the light
hiding inside me
that found enough beauty
in the cracks
Tyler Knott Gregson
Everyone says love hurts, but that is not true. Loneliness hurts. Rejection hurts. Losing someone hurts. Envy hurts. Everyone gets these things confused with love, but in reality love is the only thing in this world that covers up all pain and makes someone feel wonderful again. Love is the only thing in this world that does not hurt.
We teach girls shame. “Close your legs. Cover yourself.” We make them feel as though being born female they’re already guilty of something. And so, girls grow up to be women who cannot say they have desire. They grow up to be women who silence themselves. They grow up to be women who cannot say what they truly think. And they grow up — and this is the worst thing we do to girls — they grow up to be women who have turned pretense into an art form.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (We Should All Be Feminists)
So much of the pain of loneliness is to do with concealment, with feeling compelled to hide vulnerability, to tuck ugliness away, to cover up scars as if they are literally repulsive. But why hide? What's so shameful about wanting, about desire, about having failed to achieve satisfaction, about experiencing unhappiness? Why this need to constantly inhabit peak states, or to be comfortably sealed inside a unit of two, turned inward from the world at large?
Olivia Laing (The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone)
Did you ever, when you were little, endure your parents’ warnings, then wait for them to leave the room, pry loose protective covers and consider inserting some metal object into an electrical outlet?
Did you wonder if for once you might light up the room?
When you were big enough to cross the street on your own, did you ever wait for a signal, hear the frenzied approach of a fire truck and feel like stepping out in front of it?
Did you wonder just how far that rocket ride might take you?
When you were almost grown, did you ever sit in a bubble bath, perspiration pooling, notice a blow dryer plugged in within easy reach, and think about dropping it into the water?
Did you wonder if the expected rush might somehow fail you?
And now, do you ever dangle your toes over the precipice, dare the cliff to crumble, defy the frozen deity to suffer the sun, thaw feather and bone, take wing to fly you home?
Ellen Hopkins (Burned (Burned, #1))
We waste so much energy trying to cover up who we are when beneath every attitude is the want to be loved, and beneath every anger is a wound to be healed and beneath every sadness is the fear that there will not be enough time.
When we hesitate in being direct, we unknowingly slip something on, some added layer of protection that keeps us from feeling the world, and often that thin covering is the beginning of a loneliness which, if not put down, diminishes our chances of joy.
It’s like wearing gloves every time we touch something, and then, forgetting we chose to put them on, we complain that nothing feels quite real. Our challenge each day is not to get dressed to face the world but to unglove ourselves so that the doorknob feels cold and the car handle feels wet and the kiss goodbye feels like the lips of another being, soft and unrepeatable.
Mark Nepo (The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have)
It’s like when you put instant rice pudding mix in a bowl in the microwave and push the button, and you take the cover off when it rings, and there you’ve got ricing pudding. I mean, what happens in between the time when you push the switch and when the microwave rings? You can’t tell what’s going on under the cover. Maybe the instant rice pudding first turns into macaroni gratin in the darkness when nobody’s looking and only then turns back into rice pudding. We think it’s only natural to get rice pudding after we put rice pudding mix in the microwave and the bell rings, but to me, that is just a presumption. I would be kind of relieved if, every once in a while, after you put rice pudding mix in the microwave and it rang and you opened the top, you got macaroni gratin. I suppose I’d be shocked, of course, but I don’t know, I think I’d be kind of relieved too. Or at least I think I wouldn’t be so upset, because that would feel, in some ways, a whole lot more real.
Haruki Murakami (The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle)
But you love books, then,” Aunt Queen was saying. I had to listen.
“Oh, yes,” Lestat said. “Sometimes they are the only thing that keeps me alive.”
“What a strange thing to say at your age,” she laughed.
“No, but one can feel desperate at any age, don’t you think? The young are eternally desperate,” he said frankly. “And books, they offer one hope —- that a whole universe might open up from between the covers, and falling into that new universe, one is saved.
Anne Rice (Blackwood Farm (The Vampire Chronicles, #9))
Most truth's are so naked that people feel sorry for them and cover them up, at least a little bit.
Edward R. Murrow
Written up in marker on a factory sign:
I struggle with the feeling that my life isn't mine
Coldplay (Mylo Xyloto #2: Cover-Up)
People always want to know what it feels like, so I’ll tell you: there’s a sting when you first slice, and then your heart speeds up when you see the blood, because you know you’ve done something you shouldn’t have, and yet you’ve gotten away with it. Then you sort of go into a trance, because it’s truly dazzling—that bright red line, like a highway route on a map that you want to follow to see where it leads. And—God—the sweet release, that’s the best way I can describe it, kind of like a balloon that’s tied to a little kid’s hand, which somehow breaks free and floats into the sky. You just know that balloon is thinking, Ha, I don’t belong to you after all; and at the same time, Do they have any idea how beautiful the view is from up here? And then the balloon remembers, after the fact, that it has a wicked fear of heights.
When reality kicks in, you grab some toilet paper or a paper towel (better than a washcloth, because the stains don’t ever come out 100 percent) and you press hard against the cut. You can feel your embarrassment; it’s a backbeat underneath your pulse. Whatever relief there was a minute ago congeals, like cold gravy, into a fist in the pit of your stomach. You literally make yourself sick, because you promised yourself last time would be the last time, and once again, you’ve let yourself down. So you hide the evidence of your weakness under layers of clothes long enough to cover the cuts, even if it’s summertime and no one is wearing jeans or long sleeves. You throw the bloody tissues into the toilet and watch the water go pink before you flush them into oblivion, and you wish it were really that easy.
Jodi Picoult (Handle with Care)
Love doesn't give you very many choices. When you love someone, you just want to be with them. If they break your heart, you will still love them. Because hearts are easy to break, and though love is tender and sometimes fragile, love isn't.
Love sort of envelops you. It covers you like a giant shadow, then pulls you in like a blanket. You are so warm. The feeling surrounds you, and no matter how you feel, it is always there. You can't escape it. But you wouldn't want to. You are so, so safe. You can't remember the last time you were this happy. Were you ever? This happy?
Every second you are apart feels like hours. Sometimes, right before you fall asleep, you miss them so much it hurts. You ache for them. Their warmth. Their touch. Their smell. You need them. When you can't sleep you wish and wish and wish that they would wake up and talk to you. When you dream of them, you wake up smiling. When pain stabs into you, you reach out for them. You cry to them, begging them to hold you and make it all go away, make everything go away.
Love addicts you to its feeling. You never, ever want to lose that feeling. Sometimes the fear of losing love drives people to do crazy things. Like buy a plane ticket. Make a phone call. Run out of a class. Cry. Write. Laugh.
Because when you love someone, you really love them. You give them your whole heart. You trust them. You never want to be away from them. Sometimes, you don't even need their words. You just need them there.
Love is such an amazing thing, and too many people take it for granted. If you're in love, don't let it go. Don't you dare let it go.
Are you happy?” “In all honesty? No. But I am curious – I am curious in my sadness, and I am curious in my joy. I am everseeking, everfeeling. I am in awe of the beautiful moments life gives us, and I am in awe of the difficult ones. I am transfixed by grief, by growth. It is all so stunning, so rich, and I will never convince myself that I cannot be somber, cannot be hurt, cannot be overjoyed. I want to feel it all – I don’t want to cover it up or numb it. So no, I am not happy. I am open, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Bianca Sparacino (Seeds Planted in Concrete)
And certain things around us will change, become easier or harder, one thing or the other, but nothing will ever really be any different. I believe that. We have made our decisions, our lives have been set in motion, and they will go on and on until they stop. But if that is true, then what? I mean, what if you believe that, but you keep it covered up, until one day something happens that should change something, but then you see nothing is going to change after all. What then? Meanwhile, the people around you continue to talk and act as if you were the same person as yesterday, or last night, or five minutes before, but you are really undergoing a crisis, your heart feels damaged…
Raymond Carver (Short Cuts: Selected Stories)
I look down at our knees, slightly touching. Jeans against jeans. Does she notice the heat transferring from her body to mine? Does she even realize what she's doing to me? I know, I know. I'm not a virgin and the slightest touch of a girl's knee is driving me insane. I don't even know what I'm feeling for Maggie, I just know that I'm feeling. It's something I've tried to avoid and deny until yesterday, when I held her in my arms while her tears spilled onto my shirt.
God, our knees touching isn't enough. I need more.
She's knotting her fingers together on her lap as if she doesn't know what to do with them. I want to touch her, but what if she pulls away like before? I've never been such a wuss with a girl in my life.
I bite my bottom lip as I slide my hand about millionth of a millimeter closer to her hand.
She doesn't seem fazed so I move closer. And closer.
When the tips of my fingers touch her wrist, she freezes. But she doesn't jerk her hand away. God, her skin is so soft, I think as my fingers trail a path from her wrist to her knuckles to her smooth, manicured nails.
I swear touching her like this is driving me nuts. It's more erotic, more intense than any other time with Kendra. I feel awkward and inexperienced as a freshman again. I look up. Everyone else is oblivious to the intensity of emotions running rampant in the back of the public bus.
When I look back down at my hand covering hers, I'm grateful she hasn't come to her senses and pulled away. As if she knows my thoughts, we both turn our hands at the same time so our hands are palm against palm...finger against finger. Her hand is dwarfed against mine. It makes her seem more delicate and petite than I'd realize. I feel a need to protect her and be her champion should she ever need one.
With a slight shift of my hand, I lace my fingers through hers.
I'm holding hands. With Maggie Armstrong.
I'm not even going to think about how wrong it is because it feels so right. She's avoided looking right at me, but now she turns her head and our eyes lock. God, how come I never noticed before how long her lashes were and how her brown eyes have specks of gold that sparkle when the sun shine on them?
The bus stops suddenly and I look out the window. It's our stop. She must have realized this because she pulls her hand away from mine and stands. I follow behind, still reeling.
Simone Elkeles (Leaving Paradise (Leaving Paradise, #1))
I miss the way he used to kiss my shoulder whenever it was bare and he was nearby. I miss how he cleared his throat before he took a sip of water and scratched his left arm with his right hand when he was nervous. I miss how he tucked my hair behind my ear when it came loose and took my temperature when I was sick or when he was bored. I miss his glasses on my nightstand. I miss watching him take Sunday afternoon naps on my couch, with the newspaper resting on his stomach like a blanket. How his hands stayed clasped, fingers intertwined, while he slept. I miss the cadence of his speech and the stupidity of his puns. I miss playing doctor when we made love, and even when we didn't. I miss his smell, like fresh laundry and honey (because of his shampoo) at his place. Fresh laundry and coconut (because of my shampoo) at mine. I miss that he used to force me to listen to French rap and would sing along in a horrible accent. I miss that he always said "I love you" when he hung up the phone with his sister, never shy or embarassed, regardless of who else was around. I miss that his ideal Friday night included a DVD, eating Chinese food right out of the carton, and cuddling on top of my duvet cover. I miss that he reread books from his childhood and then from mine. I miss that he was the only man that I have ever farted on, and with, freely. I miss that he understood that the holidays were hard for me and that he wanted me to never feel lonely.
Julie Buxbaum (The Opposite of Love)
Strigoi have red eyes, " I explained. "Do his eyes look red?"
The boy leaned forward. "No. They're brown. "
"What else do you know about Strigoi?" I asked.
"They have fangs like us, " the boy replied.
"Do you have fangs?" I asked Dimitri in a singsong voice. I had a feeling this was already-covered territory, but it took on a new feel when asked from a child's perspective. Dimitri smiled--a full, wonderful smile that caught me off guard.
"Okay, Jonathan, " said his mother anxiously. "You asked. Let's go now. "
"Strigoi are super strong, " continued Jonathan, who possibly aspired to be a future lawyer. "Nothing can hurt them. " Jonathan fixed Dimitri with a piercing gaze. "Are you super strong? Can you be hurt?"
"Of course I can, " replied Dimitri. "I'm strong, but all sorts of things can still hurt me. "
And then, being Rose Hathaway, I said something I really shouldn't have to the boy. "You should go punch him and find out. " Jonathan's mother screamed again, but he was a fast little bastard, eluding her grasp. He ran up to Dimitri before anyone could stop him--well, I could have--and pounded his tiny fist against Dimitri's knee. Then, with the same reflexes that allowed him to dodge enemy attacks, Dimitri immediately feinted falling backward, as though Jonathan had knocked him over. Clutching his knee, Dimitri groaned as though he were in terrible pain. Several people laughed, and by then, one of the other guardians had caught hold of Jonathan and returned him to his near-hysterical mother. As he was being dragged away, Jonathan glanced over his shoulder at Dimitri. "He doesn't seem very strong to me. I don't think he's a Strigoi. " This caused more laughter
Richelle Mead (Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy, #5))
Being alone is not the most awful thing in the world. You visit your museums and cultivate your interests and remind yourself how lucky you are not to be one of those spindly Sudanese children with flies beading their mouths. You make out To Do lists - reorganise linen cupboard, learn two sonnets. You dole out little treats to yourself - slices of ice-cream cake, concerts at Wigmore Hall. And then, every once in a while, you wake up and gaze out of the window at another bloody daybreak, and think, I cannot do this anymore. I cannot pull myself together again and spend the next fifteen hours of wakefulness fending off the fact of my own misery.
People like Sheba think that they know what it's like to be lonely. They cast their minds back to the time they broke up with a boyfriend in 1975 and endured a whole month before meeting someone new. Or the week they spent in a Bavarian steel town when they were fifteen years old, visiting their greasy-haired German pen pal and discovering that her hand-writing was the best thing about her. But about the drip drip of long-haul, no-end-in-sight solitude, they know nothing. They don't know what it is to construct an entire weekend around a visit to the laundrette. Or to sit in a darkened flat on Halloween night, because you can't bear to expose your bleak evening to a crowd of jeering trick-or-treaters. Or to have the librarian smile pityingly and say, ‘Goodness, you're a quick reader!’ when you bring back seven books, read from cover to cover, a week after taking them out. They don't know what it is to be so chronically untouched that the accidental brush of a bus conductor's hand on your shoulder sends a jolt of longing straight to your groin. I have sat on park benches and trains and schoolroom chairs, feeling the great store of unused, objectless love sitting in my belly like a stone until I was sure I would cry out and fall, flailing, to the ground. About all of this, Sheba and her like have no clue.
Zoë Heller (What Was She Thinking? [Notes on a Scandal])
What are you thinking?
I think you can figure it out. You can read the writing on the wall.
And as she said it, there was writing on the wall. It appeared slowly, one word at a time.
It wrote itself out, in the same curling black script as the rest of the room. Lena's cheeks flushed a little, and she covered her face with her hands. "It's going to be really embarrassing if everything I think starts showing up on the walls."
"You didn't mean to do that?"
You don't need to be embarrassed, L.
I pulled her hands away.
Because I feel the same way about you.
Kami Garcia (Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles, #1))
Why drink to cover it up because hurting is feeling and feeling is living, and isn’t it good to be alive?’” Colton
K. Bromberg (Crashed (Driven, #3))
Up! you bag of bones!"
"Magister? Gods i was hoping that was a dream.......
You're disturbing Ms. Mirabil!!!
"She's awake!! North said, kicking off his covers and kneeling beside my bed, a bright smile on his face. "Hullo my beautiful beautiful darling, feeling better today??
Alexandra Bracken (Brightly Woven)
I laid back the lounge chair and rolled to my stomach, content.
Sounds of splashing faded as I dozed.
And then I heard a beautiful voice. . . .
“Cover your arse, and nobody gets hurt.”
I lifted my head to see Kaidan crouched next to me. He was here! Just as I was about to get up and throw my arms around him, his gaze slid down my body to my butt and stayed there. Hello, stormy eyes.
I felt twice as hot under the sun as I had one minute ago.
I threw the towel over my body, which forced his eyes back to mine.
“Hey,” I whispered.
He touched my face, and I leaned into his palm.
“I feel like it’s been a year since I saw you,” he said softly. “I’ve missed you.”
I reached up and cupped his hand. “I’ve missed you, too.”
“But you’re still in trouble.” His voice was low and gravelly.
Wendy Higgins (Sweet Reckoning (Sweet, #3))
We'll earn it all back today," I say, and we both plow into our plates. Even cold, it's one of the things I've ever tasted. I abandon my fork and scrape up the last dabs of gravy with my fingers. "I can feel Effie trinket shuddering at my manners."
"Hey, Effie, watch this!" says Peeta. He tosses his fork over his shoulder and literally licks his plate his plate clean with his tongue making loud, satisfied sounds. Then he blows a kiss to her in general, and calls, "We miss you, Effie!"
I cover his hand with my mouth. But I am laughing.
"Stop! Cato could be right outside our cave."
He grabs my hand away."What do I care. I've got you to protect me now," says Peeta, pulling me to him.
"Come on," I say in exasperation, extricating myself from his grasp but not before he gets another kiss.
Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1))
Feelings are like blankets, covering you up so you can't see clearly, or like mazes you can too easily get lost inside. I am terrified of getting lost.
Corey Ann Haydu (OCD Love Story)
The day my mother died I wrote in my journal, "A serious misfortune of my life has arrived." I suffered for more than one year after the passing away of my mother. But one night, in the highlands of Vietnam, I was sleeping in the hut in my hermitage. I dreamed of my mother. I saw myself sitting with her, and we were having a wonderful talk. She looked young and beautiful, her hair flowing down. It was so pleasant to sit there and talk to her as if she had never died. When I woke up it was about two in the morning, and I felt very strongly that I had never lost my mother. The impression that my mother was still with me was very clear. I understood then that the idea of having lost my mother was just an idea. It was obvious in that moment that my mother is always alive in me.
I opened the door and went outside. The entire hillside was bathed in moonlight. It was a hill covered with tea plants, and my hut was set behind the temple halfway up. Walking slowly in the moonlight through the rows of tea plants, I noticed my mother was still with me. She was the moonlight caressing me as she had done so often, very tender, very sweet... wonderful! Each time my feet touched the earth I knew my mother was there with me. I knew this body was not mine but a living continuation of my mother and my father and my grandparents and great-grandparents. Of all my ancestors. Those feet that I saw as "my" feet were actually "our" feet. Together my mother and I were leaving footprints in the damp soil.
From that moment on, the idea that I had lost my mother no longer existed. All I had to do was look at the palm of my hand, feel the breeze on my face or the earth under my feet to remember that my mother is always with me, available at any time.
Thich Nhat Hanh (No Death, No Fear: Comforting Wisdom for Life)
No, but one can feel desperate at any age, don’t you think? The young are eternally desperate,” he said frankly. “And books, they offer hope — that a whole universe might open up from between the covers, and falling into that universe one is saved.
Anne Rice (Blackwood Farm (The Vampire Chronicles, #9))
Barack intrigued me. He was not like anyone I’d dated before, mainly because he seemed so secure. He was openly affectionate. He told me I was beautiful. He made me feel good. To me, he was sort of like a unicorn—unusual to the point of seeming almost unreal. He never talked about material things, like buying a house or a car or even new shoes. His money went largely toward books, which to him were like sacred objects, providing ballast for his mind. He read late into the night, often long after I’d fallen asleep, plowing through history and biographies and Toni Morrison, too. He read several newspapers daily, cover to cover. He kept tabs on the latest book reviews, the American League standings, and what the South Side aldermen were up to. He could speak with equal passion about the Polish elections and which movies Roger Ebert had panned and why.
Michelle Obama (Becoming)
I didn't know why something that started off feeling so good had to wind up feeling so bad. Love was a big word and it covered a lot of territory. You could spend your whole life chasing after it and wind up with nothing, be an old bitter guy with long nose hair and ear hair and no teeth, hanging out in bars, looking for somebody your age, but the chances of success went down then. After a while you got too many strikes against you.
Larry Brown (Big Bad Love)
The first thing I noticed when I woke up was that I was covered in blood.
The second thing I noticed was that this didn’t bother me the way it should have.
I didn’t feel the urge to scream or speak, to beg for help, or even to wonder where I was. Those instincts were dead, and I was calm as my wet fingers slid up the tiled wall, groping for a light switch. I found one without even having to stand. Four lights slammed on above me, one after the other, illuminating the dead body on the floor just a few feet away.
My mind processed the facts first. Male. Heavy. He was lying face down in a wide, red puddle that spread out from beneath him. The tips of his curly black hair were wet with it. There was something in his hand.
The fluorescent lights in the white room flickered and buzzed and hummed. I moved to get a better view of the body. His eyes were closed. He could have been asleep, really, if it weren’t for the blood. There was so much of it. And by one of his hands it was smeared into a weird pattern.
No. Not a pattern. Words.
My gaze flicked to his hand. His fist was curled around a small tape recorder. I moved his fingers—still warm—and pressed play. A male voice started to speak.
"Do I have your attention?" the voice said.
I knew that voice. But I couldn’t believe I was hearing it.
Michelle Hodkin (The Retribution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #3))
Everyone feels, Aspen. Some are just better at covering it up.
Linda Kage (To Professor, with Love (Forbidden Men, #2))
His mouth twisted into a perceptive, sexy smile.
"Hmm?" I looked away, flustered, automatically using irritation to cover my discomfort up. "What does 'hmm' have to do with anything? Could you ever use more than five words? All this grunting and miced words make you come across--primal."
His smile tipped higher. "Primal."
"Me Jev, you Nora."
"Stop it." But I nearly smiled in spite of myself.
"Since we're keeping it primal, you smell good," he observed. Hw moved closer, makin me acutely aware of his size, the rise and fall of his chest, the warm burn of his skin on mine. Electricity tingled along my scalp, and I shuddered with pleasure.
"It's called a shower...," I began automatically, then trailed off. My memory snagged, taken aback by a compelling and forceful sense of undue familiarity. "Soap, shampoo, hot water," I added, almost as an afterthought.
"Naked. I know the drill," Jev said, something unreadable passing over his eyes.
Unsure how to proceed, I attempted to wash away the moment with an airy laugh. "Are you flirting with me, Jev?"
"Does it feel that way to you?"
"I don't know you well enough to say either way." I tried to keep my voice level, neutral even.
"Then we'll have to change that."
Still uncertain of his motives, I cleared my throat. Two could play this game. "Running from bad guys together is your idea of playing getting-to-know-you?"
"No. This is." He dipped my body backward, drawing me up in a slow arc until he raised me flush against him. In his arms, my joints loosened, my defenses melting as he led me through the sultry steps.
Becca Fitzpatrick (Silence (Hush, Hush, #3))
If it suddenly became impossible for us to cover up all the junk we normally hide from the rest of humanity, I have a feeling we would all get real motivated to deal with the source of what ails us.
Andy Stanley (It Came from Within!: The Shocking Truth of What Lurks in the Heart)
There ARE people who won't customarily eat an entire row of cookies, or hear food calling their name from other rooms, or who don't grind up food in the garbage disposal for fear of eating it, or get it back out of the garbage so they could eat it. Of course, my binge eating was just a cover-up for the larger issue: Trying to fill the emptiness
S.A.R.K. (Transformation Soup: Healing for the Splendidly Imperfect)
I am a cutter, you see. Also a snipper, a slicer, a carver, a jabber. I am a very special case. I have a purpose. My skin, you see, screams. It's covered with words - cook, cupcake, kitty, curls - as if a knife-wielding first-grader learned to write on my flesh. I sometimes, but only sometimes, laugh. Getting out of the bath and seeing, out of the corner of my eye, down the side of a leg: babydoll. Pull on a sweater and, in a flash of my wrist: harmful. Why these words? Thousands of hours of therapy have yielded a few ideas from the good doctors. They are often feminine, in a Dick and Jane, pink vs. puppy dog tails sort of way. Or they're flat-out negative. Number of synonyms for anxious carved in my skin: eleven. The one thing I know for sure is that at the time, it was crucial to see these letters on me, and not just see them, but feel them. Burning on my left hip: petticoat.
And near it, my first word, slashed on an anxious summer day at age thirteen: wicked. I woke up that morning, hot and bored, worried about the hours ahead. How do you keep safe when your whole day is as wide and empty as the sky? Anything could happen. I remember feeling that word, heavy and slightly sticky across my pubic bone. My mother's steak knife. Cutting like a child along red imaginary lines. Cleaning myself. Digging in deeper. Cleaning myself. Pouring bleach over the knife and sneaking through the kitchen to return it. Wicked. Relief. The rest of the day, I spent ministering to my wound. Dig into the curves of W with an alcohol-soaked Q-tip. Pet my cheek until the sting went away. Lotion. Bandage. Repeat.
Gillian Flynn (Sharp Objects)
We have a lot of books in our house. They are our primary decorative motif-books in piles and on the coffee table, framed book covers, books sorted into stacks on every available surface, and of course books on shelves along most walls. Besides the visible books, there are books waiting in the wings, the basement books, the garage books, the storage locker books...They function as furniture, they prop up sagging fixtures and disguised by quilts function as tables...I can't imagine a home without an overflow of books. The point of books is to have way too many but to always feel you never have enough, or the right one at the right moment, but then sometimes to find you'd longed to fall asleep reading the Aspern Papers, and there it is.
Louise Erdrich (Books and Islands in Ojibwe Country (National Geographic Directions))
I learned a lot from the stories my uncle, aunts and grandparents told me: that no one is perfect but most people are good; that people can’t be judged by their worst or weakest moments; that harsh judgements can make hypocrites of us all; that a lot of life is just showing up and hanging on; that laughter is often the best, and sometimes the only response to pain.
Perhaps most important, I learned that everyone has a story – of dreams and nightmares, hope and heartache, love and loss, courage and fear, sacrifice and selfishness. All my life I’ve been interested in other people’s stories. I wanted to know them, understand them, feel them. When I grew up into politics, I always felt the main point of my work was to people a chance to have better stories. - Page 15, Paragraph 5, ‘My Life’ by Bill Clinton. –Hard cover version-
Bill Clinton (My Life)
That sound of settling into the sheets and the covers has to be one of the best things in the world. Sleep is a mercy. You can feel it coming on, like being swept up in something.
Marilynne Robinson (Lila (Gilead, #3))
You’re the one getting ready to bolt, Jesper. You just want me to run with you so you don’t have to feel so bad about it. For all your love of a fight, you’re always the first to talk about running for cover.”
“I made a mistake. I let my bad get the best of my good, but for Saints’ sake, Kaz, how long are you going to make me pay for a little forgiveness? [...] How many times have I had your back in a fight? How many times have I gotten it right? Doesn’t that count for anything?” Jesper threw up his hands. “I can’t win with you. No one can.
Leigh Bardugo (Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2))
If peace comes from seeing the whole,
then misery stems from a loss of perspective.
We begin so aware and grateful. The sun somehow hangs there in the sky. The little bird sings. The miracle of life just happens. Then we stub our toe, and in that moment of pain, the whole world is reduced to our poor little toe. Now, for a day or two, it is difficult to walk. With every step, we are reminded of our poor little toe.
Our vigilance becomes: Which defines our day—the pinch we feel in walking on a bruised toe, or the miracle still happening?
It is the giving over to smallness that opens us to misery. In truth, we begin taking nothing for granted, grateful that we have enough to eat, that we are well enough to eat. But somehow, through the living of our days, our focus narrows like a camera that shutters down, cropping out the horizon, and one day we’re miffed at a diner because the eggs are runny or the hash isn’t seasoned just the way we like.
When we narrow our focus, the problem seems everything. We forget when we were lonely, dreaming of a partner. We forget first beholding the beauty of another. We forget the comfort of first being seen and held and heard. When our view shuts down, we’re up in the night annoyed by the way our lover pulls the covers or leaves the dishes in the sink without soaking them first.
In actuality, misery is a moment of suffering allowed to become everything. So, when feeling miserable, we must look wider than what hurts. When feeling a splinter, we must, while trying to remove it, remember there is a body that is not splinter, and a spirit that is not splinter, and a world that is not splinter.
Mark Nepo (The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have)
So?” Clary said. (After she Marked Alec with the Fearless rune.)
“So what?” Alec rolled his sleeve down, covering the Mark.
“So how do you feel? Any different?”
Alec looked considering. “Not really.”
Jace threw his hands up. “So it doesn’t work.”
“No necessarily,” Luke said. “There might simply be nothing going on that might activate it. Perhaps there isn’t anything here that Alec is afraid of.”
Magnus glanced at Alec and raised his eyebrows. “Boo,” he said.
Jace was grinning. “Come on, surely you‘ve got a phobia or two. What scares you?”
Alec thought for a moment. “Spiders,” he said.
Clary turned to Luke. “Have you got a spider anywhere?”
Luke looked exasperated. “Why would I have a spider? Do I look like someone who would collect them?”
“No offense,” Jace said, “but you kind of do.”
“You know” -Alec‘s tone was sour- “maybe this was a stupid experiment.”
“What about the dark?” Clary suggested. “We could lock you in the basement.”
“I‘m a demon hunter,” Alec said, with exaggerated patience. “Clearly, I am not afraid of the dark.”
Cassandra Clare (City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments, #2))
WTF!” she says, throwing her hands in the air. “I didn’t know this was a fucked-up relationship reunion.”
Olivia covers her eyes. “Don’t judge me.”
Cammie smacks me on the butt and hugs Olivia. “I told you I’d come right away, you didn’t have to call him.”
“I called him first,” she says. “He makes me feel safer than you do.”
“It’s his massive penis, isn’t it? He could just smack Dobson with it and he’d-
Tarryn Fisher (Thief (Love Me with Lies, #3))
The first time she carved something into her skin, she used the sharp tip of an X-Acto knife. She lifted up her shirt to show me after the cuts had scabbed over. She had scrawled F*** YOU on her stomach. I stood quiet for a moment, feeling the breath get knocked out of me. I should have grabbed her arm and taken her straight to the nurse's office, into that small room with two cots covered in paper sheets and the sweet, stale medicinal smell.
I should have lifted Ingrid's shirt to show the cuts. Look, I would've said to the nurse at her little desk, eyeglasses perched on her pointed nose. Help her.
Instead, I reached my hand out and traced the words. The cuts were shallow, so the scabs only stood out a little bit. They were rough and brown. I knew that a lot of girls at our school cut themselves. They wore their long sleeves pulled down past their wrists and made slits for their thumbs so that the scars on their arms wouldn't show. I wanted to ask Ingrid if it hurt to do that to herself, but I felt stupid, like I must have been missing something, so what I said was, F*** you too, b****. Ingrid giggled, and I tried to ignore the feeling that something good between us was changing.
Nina LaCour (Hold Still)
I've learned that every feeling will pass if you give it time. And if you learn to deal with your feelings, they'll pass by faster each time. So don't rush to cover them up by medicating them. You've got to deal with them.
Brandon Stanton (Humans of New York: Stories)
Breathing in, I’m aware of the painful feeling in me. Breathing out, I’m aware of the painful feeling in me.” This is an art. We have to learn it, because most of us don’t like to be with our pain. We’re afraid of being overwhelmed by the pain, so we always seek to run away from it. There’s loneliness, fear, anger, and despair in us. Mostly we try to cover it up by consuming. There are those of us who go and look for something to eat. Others turn on the television. In fact, many people do both at the same time. And even if the TV program isn’t interesting at all, we don’t have the courage to turn it off, because if we turn it off, we have to go back to ourselves and encounter the pain inside. The marketplace provides us with many items to help us in our effort to avoid the suffering inside.
Thich Nhat Hanh (No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering)
I put back my head, looking up at the deep black sky swimming with hot stars. If you knew they were really balls of flaming gas, you could imagine them as Van Gogh saw them, without difficulty . . . and looking into that illuminated void, you understood why people have always looked up into the sky when talking to God. You need to feel the immensity of something very much bigger than yourself, and there it is - immeasurably vast, and always near at hand. Covering you.
Diana Gabaldon (Written in My Own Heart's Blood (Outlander, #8))
Every time you feel lost, confused, think about trees, remember how they grow. Remember that a tree with lots of branches and few roots will get toppled by the first strong wind, while the sap hardly moves in a tree with many roots and few branches. Roots and branches must grow in equal measure, you have to stand both inside of things and above them, because only then will you be able to offer shade and shelter, only then will you be able to cover yourself with leaves and fruit at the proper season.
And later on, when so many roads open up before you, you don't know which to take, don't pick one at random; sit down and wait. Breathe deeply, trustingly, the way you breathed on the day when you came into the world, don't let anything distract you, wait and wait some more. Stay still, be quiet, and listen to your heart. Then, when it speaks, get up and go where it takes you.
Susanna Tamaro (Follow Your Heart)
I should have known better, of course. Whenever I’m feeling up to the mark and congratulating myself, some fearful fate trips me headlong, and I find myself haring for cover with my guts churning and Nemesis in full cry after me.
George MacDonald Fraser (Flash for Freedom! (Flashman Papers #3))
There are many roles that people play and many images that they project. There is, for example, the "nice" man who is always smiling and agreeable. "Such a nice man," people say. "He never gets angry." The facade always covers its opposite expression. Inside, such a person is full of rage that he dares not acknowledge or show. Some men put up a tough exterior to hide a very sensitive, childlike quality. Even failure can be a role. Many masochistic characters engage in the game of failure to cover an inner feeling of superiority. An outward show of superiority could bring down on them the jealous wrath of the father and the threat of castration. As long as they act like failures they can retain some sexuality, since they are not a threat to her father.
Alexander Lowen (Fear Of Life)
The sign outside this tent is accompanied by a small box full of smooth black stones. The text instructs you to take one with you as you enter. Inside, the tent is dark, the ceiling covered with open black umbrellas, the curving handles hanging down like icicles. In the center of the room there is a pool. A pond enclosed within a black stone wall that is surrounded by white gravel. The air carries the salty tinge of the ocean. You walk over to the edge to look inside. The gravel crunches beneath your feet. It is shallow, but it is glowing. A shimmering, shifting light cascades up through the surface of the water. A soft radiance, enough to illuminate the pool and the stones that sit at the bottom. Hundreds of stones, each identical to the one you hold in your hand. The light beneath filters through the spaces between the stones. Reflections ripple around the room, making it appear as though the entire tent is underwater. You sit on the wall, turning your black stone over and over in your fingers. The stillness of the tent becomes a quiet melancholy. Memories begin to creep forward from hidden corners of your mind. Passing disappointments. Lost chances and lost causes. Heartbreaks and pain and desolate, horrible loneliness. Sorrows you thought long forgotten mingle with still-fresh wounds. The stone feels heavier in your hand. When you drop it in the pool to join the rest of the stones, you feel lighter. As though you have released something more than a smooth polished piece of rock.
Erin Morgenstern (The Night Circus)
I love that feeling when you first open your eyes in the morning and you don’t even know why everything seems different than usual. Then it hits you: Everything is quiet. No cars honking. No buses going down the street. Then you run over to the window, and outside everything is covered in white: the sidewalks, the trees, the cars on the street, your windowpanes. And when that happens on a school day and you find out your school is closed, well, I don’t care how old I get: I’m always going to think that that’s the best feeling in the world. And I’m never going to be one of those grown-ups that use an umbrella when it’s snowing—ever.
R.J. Palacio (Wonder)
She’s forgotten me. It’s over. I don’t want to see her again, and now I’ll have to. I won’t be able to help it. I’ll have to sit back and just watch her…live. Without me.”
The ifrit shrugs. “Then I overestimated your feelings for her.”
My jaw drops. “How dare you? Because I don’t want to see that she’s forgotten me?”
"No. Because nothing is really ever gone or forgotten. If she’s a piece of you, and you of her, then memory is merely an obstacle—our power covers the memory, it doesn’t erase it. And I should think, at least based on what I saw in your eyes last night, that it’s an obstacle worth going up against.
Jackson Pearce (As You Wish (Genies #1))
It's always the chest of the other person we lean back against for support, we only really feel supported or backed up when, as the latter verb itself indicates, there's someone behind us, someone we perhaps cannot even see and who covers our back with their chest, so close it almost brushes our back and in the end always does, and at times, that someone places a hand on our shoulder, a hand to calm us and also to hold us. That's how most married people and most couples sleep or think they sleep, the two turn to the same side when they say goodnight, so that one has his or her back to the other throughout the whole night, when he or she wakes up startled from a nightmare, or is unable to get to sleep, or is suffering from a fever or feels alone and abandoned in the darkness, they have only to turn round and see before them the face of the person protecting them, the person who will let themselves be kissed on any part of the face that is kissable (nose, eyes and mouth; chin, forehead and cheeks, the whole face) or perhaps, half-asleep, will place a hand on their shoulder to calm them, or to hold them, or even to cling to them.
Javier Marías (A Heart So White)
Big cities comforted me: the cover, the chaos, the hollow sympathy of the architecture, the Tube lines snaking underground. London could swallow you up, in a good way. There were times when I'd been broken and being subsumed into a city had made me feel part of a whole again.
Emma Jane Unsworth (Animals)
Put a damn shirt on and cover up your eighteen pack or whatever you got going on under that skin, you are making me drool.”
“Lea, stop saying crap like that to me and stop gawking, awkward.”
Lea smiled down at me, “You, sir are a bit easy on the eye, so therefore I shall stare at you. If you feel at all uncomfortable, I could always knock you over the head with something until you’re unconscious and take pictures.
Christine Zolendz (Scars and Songs (Mad World, #3))
Remember you are water. Of course you leave salt trails. Of course you are crying. Flow. P.S. If there happens to be a multitude of griefs upon you, individual and collective, or fast and slow, or small and large, add equal parts of these considerations: that the broken heart can cover more territory. that perhaps love can only be as large as grief demands. that grief is the growing up of the heart that bursts boundaries like an old skin or a finished life. that grief is gratitude. that water seeks scale, that even your tears seek the recognition of community. that the heart is a front line and the fight is to feel in a world of distraction. that death might be the only freedom. that your grief is a worthwhile use of your time. that your body will feel only as much as it is able to. that the ones you grieve may be grieving you. that the sacred comes from the limitations. that you are excellent at loving.
Adrienne Maree Brown (Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds)
I loved that vulnerable excitement when he first caught sight of something that made him feel before he could cover it up.
Emily Henry (Beach Read)
Cover your glass in France or Germany --even worse, in England - and in the voice of someone who has personally affronted, your host will ask why you're not drinking.
'Oh, I just don't feel like it this morning.'
'I guess I'm not in the mood?'
'Well, this'll put you in the mood. Here. Drink up.'
'No, really, I'm OK.'
'Just taste it.'
'Actually, I'm sort of...well, I sort of have a problem with it.'
'Then how about half a glass?
David Sedaris (When You Are Engulfed in Flames)
Bella: "Why am I covered in feathers?"
Bella:"You… bit a pillow? Why?"
Bella: "You listen to me, Edward Cullen. I am not pretending anything for your sake, okay? I didn’t even know there was a reason to make you feel better until you started being all miserable. I’ve never been so happy in all my life – I wasn’t this happy when you decided that you loved me more than you wanted to kill me, or the first morning I woke up and you were there waiting for me… Not when I heard your voice in the ballet studio, or when you said ‘I do’ and I realized that, somehow, I get to keep you forever. Those are the happiest memories I have, and this is better than any of it. So just deal with it."
Edward: "We’re just lucky it was the pillows and not you."
Edward: "You are making me insane, Bella."
Edward: "You are so human, Bella. Ruled by your hormones."
Edward :"So you seduced your all-too-willing husband. That’s not a capital offense.
Stephenie Meyer (Breaking Dawn (The Twilight Saga, #4))
We're an Ag college," I explain to them. "Not as good as the one in Yanco but we have livestock."
"Cows?" Anson Choi asks, covering his nose.
"Pigs, too. And horses. Great for growing tomatoes.
The Cadets are wanna-be soldiers. City people. They may know how to street fight but they don't know how to wade through manure.
"I'm going to throw up," one of the guys says.
"Don't feel too bad," I explain. "Some of our lot did while they were laying out this stuff. Actually, right there where you're standing.
Melina Marchetta (On the Jellicoe Road)
THE BEST FEELING in the world is popping bubble wrap. The second-best feeling in the world is waking up at seven thirty a.m. as usual, realizing it's Saturday, and diving back under the covers.
Katie Henry (Heretics Anonymous)
Family secrets can go back for generations. They can be about suicides, homicides, incest, abortions, addictions, public loss of face, financial disaster, etc. All the secrets get acted out. This is the power of toxic shame. The pain and suffering of shame generate automatic and unconscious defenses. Freud called these defenses by various names: denial, idealization of parents, repression of emotions and dissociation from emotions. What is important to note is that we can’t know what we don’t know. Denial, idealization, repression and dissociation are unconscious survival mechanisms. Because they are unconscious, we lose touch with the shame, hurt and pain they cover up. We cannot heal what we cannot feel. So without recovery, our toxic shame gets carried for generations.
John Bradshaw (Healing the Shame that Binds You)
I need her to hurt me, because pain covers up pain, and if I feel one, I won’t feel the other.
Penelope Douglas (Kill Switch (Devil's Night, #3))
Some mornings you wake up fully in your body, and you know this is all there is--the air, the shape your body makes in the air, your hand, the skin that covers your hand, the air that covers your skin, the light that fills the air, a few colors in the light, this one thought, this dream dissolving--it is a dream that, in your half-awake state, embarrasses you. You don't tell it to the woman waking up beside you, the woman you love, because it is about another woman, whom you might also love. This is the dream you need to hold onto, this is your shadow speaking, attempting to bewilder you again. Sometimes, if you lay still, you can feel the air entering each cell, sometimes you can feel the blood in your lips. Sometimes, if you lay very still, you can feel the whole web tremble.
Nick Flynn (The Ticking Is the Bomb: A Memoir)
Not easy when you can't talk, is it?" I grinned. "Well, not easy for you but I could get used to it."
He grumbled, but I could see relif in his eyes, like he was glad to see me smile.
"SO i was right, wasn't I? It's still youm even in wolf form."
"No sudden uncontrollable urges to go kill something?"
He rolled his eyes.
"Hey, you're the one who was worried." I paused. "And i don't smell like dinner, right?"
I got a real look for that one.
"Just covering all the bases."
He gave a rumbling groul, like a chuckle, and settled in, lowering his head to his front paws, gaze on me. I tried to get comfortable, but the ground was ice-cold through his swearshirt, and i was wearing only my new pajamas, a light jacket, and sneakers.
Seeing me shiver, he stretched a front leg toward the swearshirt, pawing the edge and snarling when he realized he couldnt grab it.
"The lack of opposanle thumbs is going to take some getting used to, huh?"
He motioned me closer with his muzzel. When I pretended not to understand, he twisted and gingerly took the hem of the swearshirt between his teeth, lips curled in discust as he tugged it.
"Okay, okay. I'm just trying not to croud you."
That wasnt the only reason i was uncomfortanle getting too cozy with him now, but he just grunted, again seeming to say it was fine. i moved over beside himm. He shifted, his torso making a partial wind block, the boddy heat from the change still blasting like a furnace.
"Yes, thats better.thanks. now get some rest."
i had no idea what would happen now. i doubted derek did either. he'd been focused on getting through the change. what i did know was that this was only half the process. he had to change back, and he'd need time and rest for that.
and how would it happen? did he have to wait until his body was ready, like he did with the change to a wolf? how long would that be?hours?days?
Feeling his gaze on me, i forced a smile and pushed back my worries. it would be okat. he could change. that was the important thing.
when i relaxed, he shifted closer, fur brushing my hand. i tentatively touched it, feeling the coarse top layer and soft undercoar. he leaned against my hand, as if to sat it was okaym and i buried my hand in his fur, his skin so hot from the change it was like putting my numb hands on a radiator. my cool fingers must have felt just as good, because he closed his eyes and shifte until i was leaning on him. within minutes he was asleep.
i closed my eyes, meaning to rest for just a moment, but the next thing i knew, i was waking up, curled on my side, using derek as a pillow. i jumped. he looked over at me.
"S-sorry, I didn't mean-"
He cut me short with a growl, telling me off for apologizing.
When you get older, you notice your sheets are dirty. Sometimes, you do something about it. And sometimes, you read the front page of the newspaper and sometimes you floss and sometimes you stop biting your nails and sometimes you meet a friend for lunch. You still crave lemonade, but the taste doesn’t satisfy you as much as it used to. You still crave summer, but sometimes you mean summer, five years ago.
You remember your umbrella, you check up on people to see if they got home, you leave places early to go home and make toast. You stand by the toaster in your underwear and a big t-shirt, wondering if you should just turn in or watch one more hour of television. You laugh at different things. You stop laughing at other things. You think about old loves almost like they are in a museum. The socks, you notice, aren’t organized into pairs and you mentally make a note of it. You cover your mouth when you sneeze, reaching for the box of tissues you bought, contains aloe.
When you get older, you try different shampoos. You find one you like. You try sleeping early and spin class and jogging again. You try a book you almost read but couldn’t finish. You wrap yourself in the blankets of: familiar t-shirts, caffe au lait, dim tv light, texts with old friends or new people you really want to like and love you. You lose contact with friends from college, and only sometimes you think about it. When you do, it feels bad and almost bitter. You lose people, and when other people bring them up, you almost pretend like you know what they are doing. You try to stop touching your face and become invested in things like expensive salads and trying parsnips and saving up for a vacation you really want. You keep a spare pen in a drawer. You look at old pictures of yourself and they feel foreign and misleading. You forget things like: purchasing stamps, buying more butter, putting lotion on your elbows, calling your mother back. You learn things like balance: checkbooks, social life, work life, time to work out and time to enjoy yourself.
When you get older, you find yourself more in control. You find your convictions appealing, you find you like your body more, you learn to take things in stride. You begin to crave respect and comfort and adventure, all at the same time. You lay in your bed, fearing death, just like you did. You pull lint off your shirt. You smile less and feel content more. You think about changing and then often, you do.
Alida Nugent (You Don't Have to Like Me: Essays on Growing Up, Speaking Out, and Finding Feminism)
Just as life is made up of day and night, and song is made up of music and silence, friendships, because they are of this world, are also made up of times of being in touch and spaces in-between. Being human, we sometimes fill these spaces with worry, or we imagine the silence is some form of punishment, or we internalize the time we are not in touch with a loved one as some unexpressed change of heart. Our minds work very hard to make something out of nothing. We can perceive silence as rejection in an instant, and then build a cold castle on that tiny imagined brick. The only release from the tensions we weave around nothing is to remain a creature of the heart. By giving voice to the river of feelings as they flow through and through, we can stay clear and open. In daily terms, we call this checking in with each other, though most of us reduce this to a grocery list: How are you today? Do you need any milk? Eggs? Juice? Toilet paper? Though we can help each other survive with such outer kindnesses, we help each other thrive when the checking in with each other comes from a list of inner kindnesses: How are you today? Do you need any affirmation? Clarity? Support? Understanding? When we ask these deeper questions directly, we wipe the mind clean of its misperceptions. Just as we must dust our belongings from time to time, we must wipe away what covers us when we are apart.
Mark Nepo (The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have)
The mass of your visions depends on the size of your dreams and distance they can cover within a given period of your life.
Don't let out your true behaviour in the public, even if you were born nasty, make others feel you were well bred.
Michael Bassey Johnson
I often thought that the simples fact, the mechanical fact, is no closer to the truth than a vague feeling, rumor, vision. Why repeat the facts - they cover up our feelings. The development of these feelings, the spilling of these feelings past the facts, is what fascinantes me. I try to find them, collect them, protect them.
Svetlana Alexievich (Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster)
I told her that I can't be doing with the Wonder part of these trips, but she said it should be the icing on the cake... I've never liked wedding cake due to the amount of icing, but then imagine a wedding cake without it; just a dark, stodgy, horrible dry sponge. The icing covers up the mess, and that's how I feel about most of the Wonders. They use them to get people to visit a place that you probably wouldn't think about visiting.
Karl Pilkington (An Idiot Abroad: The Travel Diaries of Karl Pilkington)
J_Doe032692 wrote: I am not a thin person. However this does not give people the right to taunt me, calling me ugly and worthless, telling me to kill myself because no one will ever want me, or to make up songs about why I am so fat and how much food I eat. NO ONE, I repeat, NO ONE HAS THE RIGHT TO HURT ANOTHER HUMAN BEING THIS BADLY.
My throat constricts. The neck brace feels as if it's shrinking and cutting off my esophagus. I reach up and cover the words with my hand and the web site dissolves.
I want to go.
Julie Anne Peters (By the Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead)
We forget how to be a whole person all by ourselves. We feel like we are only half a person and that we need someone else to make us whole. That is a lie we tell ourselves and unfortunately, that lie has ruined so many people. We get in a relationship, we get hurt and then we run to someone else to cover up the pain or fill that void in our lives, not realizing that running to the wrong person will just make it worse.
Tony A. Gaskins Jr. (Mrs. Right: A Woman's Guide to Becoming and Remaining a Wife)
Or maybe that wasn't the time it snowed. Maybe it was the time we slept in the truck and I rolled over on the bunnies and flattened them. It doesn't matter. What's important for me to remember now is that early the next morning the snow was melted off the windshield and the daylight woke me up. A mist covered everything and, with the sunshine, was beginning to grow sharp and strange. The bunnies weren't a problem yet, or they'd already been a problem and were already forgotten, and there was nothing on my mind. I felt the beauty of the morning. I could understand how a drowning man might suddenly feel a deep thirst being quenched. Or how a slave might become a friend to his master.
Denis Johnson (Jesus’ Son)
We learn that many great thinkers were convinced that the Bible contained the Ancient Mysteries, but not in the literal words—that the words on the pages were codes, and that the Bible is comprised of heavy-handed and useless story covering up something much more important and interesting. I get the feeling that [Dan Brown] is trying to tell me something, but I am not biting, reader.
I saw the folded note peeking up from behind the cover of the book in which I'd hidden it.
I brushed my fingertips across the lineny surface, my skin sparking with electricity, my fingers itching to pull it free.
I shoudn't, I told myself, even as I held my breath and watched myself withdrawing it from the book. I tried to tamp down the feeling of anticipation coursing through me at the same time I argued that it was a mistake to look at it again.
It didn't deserve anymore of my time. He didn't deserve the space he already occupied in my mind.
I glanced around to see if anyone had noticed me there, tucked beneath my desk, reading a note that I'd already memorized.
No one paid me any attention.
I held the letter, vividly picturing the six words written inside the folds. Six words that I already knew by heart. Six words that meant more to me than they should.
I unfolded the top third of the paper, then the bottom, purposely keeping my eyes unfocused for just a moment.
My heart stopped.
And then my eyesight cleared.
I pledge to keep you safe.
Kimberly Derting (The Pledge (The Pledge, #1))
He stares at the cellist, and feels himself relax as the music seeps into him. He watches as the cellist's hair smoothes itself out, his beard disappears. A dirty tuxedo becomes clean, shoes polished bright as mirrors...The building behind the cellist repairs itself. The scars of bullets and shrapnel are covered by plaster and paint, and windows reassemble, clarify and sparkle as the sun reflects off glass. The cobblestones of the road set themselves straight. Around him people stand up taller, their faces put on weight and colour. Clothes gain lost thread, brighten, smooth out their wrinkles. Kenan watches as his city heals itself around him. The cellist continues to play...
Steven Galloway (The Cellist of Sarajevo)
There is a saying that "paper is more patient than man";it came back to me on one of my slightly melancholy days,while I sat chin in hand,feeling too bored and limp even to make up my mind whether to go out or stay at home. Yes, there is no doubt that paper is patient and as I don't intend to show this cardboard-covered notebook,bearing the proud name of"diary",to anyone,unless I find a real friend,boy or girl,probably nobody cares.And now I come to the root of the matter,the reason for my starting a diary:it is that I have no such real friend.
Let me put it more clearly,since no one will believe that a girl of thirteen feels herself quite alone in the world,nor is it so.I have darling parents and a sister of sixteen.I know about thirty people whom one might call friends--I have strings of boy friends,anxious to catch a glimpse of me and who,failing that,peep at me through mirrors in class.I have relations,aunts and uncles,who are darlings too,a good home,no--I don't seem to lack anything.But it's the same with all my friends,just fun and joking,nothing more.I can never bring myself to talk of anything outside the common round.We don't seem to be able to get any closer,that is the root of the trouble.Perhaps I lack confidence,but anyway,there it is,a stubborn fact and I don't seem to be able to do anything about it.
Anne Frank (Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl)
Children. There was no particular gurney for children and few things made Benke feel as uncomfortable as seeing the empty spaces left over on the trolley when he was transporting the body of a child; the little figure under the white cover, pushed up against the headboard. The lower half empty, the sheet smooth. That flat sheet was death itself.
John Ajvide Lindqvist (Let the Right One In)
Psychedelics show you what’s in and on your mind, those subconscious thoughts and feelings that are are hidden, covered up, forgotten, out of sight, maybe even completely unexpected, but nevertheless imminently present.
Rick Strassman (DMT: The Spirit Molecule)
Knowledge drifts in and out of my mind", said Lestat with a little look of honest distress and a shake of his head. "I devour it and then I lose it and sometimes I can't reach for any knowledge that I ought to possess. I feel desolate, but then knowledge returns or I seek it out in a knew source."
"But you love books, then", Aunt Queen was saying. I had to listen.
"Oh, yes," Lestat said. "Sometimes they're the only thing that keeps me alive."
"What a thing to say at your age", she laughed.
"No, but one can feel desperate at any age, don't you think? The young are eternally desperate," he said frankly. "And books, they offer one hope - that a whole universe might open up from between the covers, and falling into that universe, one is saved.
Anne Rice (Blackwood Farm (The Vampire Chronicles, #9))
I used to have this toy, a magic slate. You wrote or drew on it and then, just by pulling up the plastic cover, everything you did disappeared and you could start new. Maybe everyone feels that on New Year's Eve: They can pull up the magic sheet and rewrite their lives.
That was what he wanted, to be baked dry and hard, to feel the vaporous worries evaporating one by one, to know finally that all the damp little doubts and hesitations that covered the floor of his being were curling up and expiring in the great furnace-blast of the sun.
Paul Bowles (Let It Come Down)
I try taking a step. Reed drops my hands so that I can move freely. My knee is a bit stiff, but otherwise, it feels fine. Examining the surface of my knee, I see a slight discoloration over the kneecap, but other than that, it’s nearly as good as new. Feeling myself panicking I cover my hands over my face as I think, I’m a monster! Don’t fall apart here—you can fall apart later… Plastering a fake smile on my face, I bring my hands down to see Reed standing just a few feet away, watching me closely. I try to think of something offhand to say, but all I can come up with is, “Amazing…I can’t wait until that third eye grows out of my forehead.
Amy A. Bartol (Inescapable (The Premonition, #1))
I used to think love was two people sucking
on the same straw to see whose thirst was stronger,
but then I whiffed the crushed walnuts of your nape,
traced jackals in the snow-covered tombstones of your teeth.
I used to think love was a non-stop saxophone solo
in the lungs, till I hung with you like a pair of sneakers
from a phone line, and you promised to always smell
the rose in my kerosene. I used to think love was terminal
pelvic ballet, till you let me jog beside while you pedaled
all over hell on the menstrual bicycle, your tongue
ripping through my prairie like a tornado of paper cuts.
I used to think love was an old man smashing a mirror
over his knee, till you helped me carry the barbell
of my spirit back up the stairs after my car pirouetted
in the desert. You are my history book. I used to not believe
in fairy tales till I played the dunce in sheep’s clothing
and felt how perfectly your foot fit in the glass slipper
of my ass. But then duty wrapped its phone cord
around my ankle and yanked me across the continent.
And now there are three thousand miles between the u
and s in esophagus. And being without you is like standing
at a cement-filled wall with a roll of Yugoslavian nickels
and making a wish. Some days I miss you so much
I’d jump off the roof of your office building
just to catch a glimpse of you on the way down. I wish
we could trade left eyeballs, so we could always see
what the other sees. But you’re here, I’m there,
and we have only words, a nightly phone call - one chance
to mix feelings into syllables and pour into the receiver,
hope they don’t disassemble in that calculus of wire.
And lately - with this whole war thing - the language machine
supporting it - I feel betrayed by the alphabet, like they’re
injecting strychnine into my vowels, infecting my consonants,
naming attack helicopters after shattered Indian tribes:
Apache, Blackhawk; and West Bank colonizers are settlers,
so Sharon is Davey Crockett, and Arafat: Geronimo,
and it’s the Wild West all over again. And I imagine Picasso
looking in a mirror, decorating his face in war paint,
washing his brushes in venom. And I think of Jenin
in all that rubble, and I feel like a Cyclops with two eyes,
like an anorexic with three mouths, like a scuba diver
in quicksand, like a shark with plastic vampire teeth,
like I’m the executioner’s fingernail trying to reason
with the hand. And I don’t know how to speak love
when the heart is a busted cup filling with spit and paste,
and the only sexual fantasy I have is busting
into the Pentagon with a bazooka-sized pen and blowing
open the minds of generals. And I comfort myself
with the thought that we’ll name our first child Jenin,
and her middle name will be Terezin, and we’ll teach her
how to glow in the dark, and how to swallow firecrackers,
and to never neglect the first straw; because no one
ever talks about the first straw, it’s always the last straw
that gets all the attention, but by then it’s way too late.
I'm sorry. I love you, but it's an enormous conflict of interest."
Her head snaps up, "You love me?"
"What?" MY face is suddenly on fire. "I never said that."
"You did. I heard it."
"I said I'd love to."
"No," Sage says, a grin splitting her face. "You didn't."
Did I? I'm so tired I don't know what the hell is coming out of my mouth. Which probably means that I don't have the faculties to cover up what I really feel for Sage Singer, with an intensity that terrifies me.
Jodi Picoult (The Storyteller)
Growing up feels like your skin no longer fits. Like you just want to crawl out of that thinly stretched space and lay down in the grass and sob for hours. Instead, I am in a cafe eating lunch and trying not to scream. Looking around wondering if anyone else in this building is doing the same thing, wondering if they ever have and, if so, how they got through it. Maybe I would calm down if I just had the assurance that other people have looked in the mirror and no longer recognized themselves. Maybe if I could sit across the table from an elderly woman and have her tell me that she lived through days where the covers over her head felt even better than an embrace and weeks where she drank her tears to keep from wetting her shirt sleeves, but that those years shaped her into an iron skeleton with a tender heart. That “worth it” was an understatement. Maybe then I would feel okay.
Kalyn Roseanne Livernois (High Wire Darlings)
Anger doesn't really cover what I feel, though. You get angry because someone almost runs you over in the bike lane. Angry because someone cuts in line at Walmart.
What's the word for when someone drinks so much, they are ruining your best friend's life? Or the word for a man so vengeful about his own past that he wants to destroy your future? What's the word for a woman who was sick for months, but refused to go to the doctor until it was too late? The word for a girl at school whose personal mission is to mess with your head?
Anger 's not the right word.
Rage. That's what this feeling is, eating me up.
Sabaa Tahir (All My Rage)
you often do not know your friends as well as you imagine. Friends often agree on things in order to avoid an argument. They cover up their unpleasant qualities so as to not offend each other. They laugh extra hard at each other’s jokes. Since honesty rarely strengthens friendship, you may never know how a friend truly feels. Friends will say that they love your poetry, adore your music, envy your taste in clothes—maybe they mean it, often they do not. When
Robert Greene (The 48 Laws of Power)
At the lip of a cliff, I look out over Lake Superior, through the bare branches of birches and the snow-covered branches of aspens and pines. A hard wind blows snow up out of a cavern and over my face. I know this place, I know its seasons - I have hiked these mountains in the summer and walked these winding pathways in the explosion of colour that is a northern fall. And now, the temperature drops well below zero and the deadly cold lake rages below, I feel the stirrings of faith that here, in this place, in my heart, spring will come again.
But first the winter must be waited out. And that waiting has worth.
Marya Hornbacher (Waiting: A Nonbeliever's Higher Power)
Many people discover relatively soon in life that the realm of their inferior function is where they are emotional, touchy and unadapted, and they therefore acquire the habit of covering up this part of their personality with a surrogate pseudo-reaction. For instance, a thinking type often cannot express his feelings normally and in the appropriate manner at the right time. It can happen that when he hears that the husband of a friend has died he cries, but when he meets the widow not a word of pity will come out. They not only look very cold, but they really do not feel anything! They had all the feeling before, when at home, but now in the appropriate situation they cannot pull it out. Thinking types are very often looked on by other people as having no feeling; this is absolutely not true. It is not that they have no feeling, but that they cannot express it at the appropriate moment. They have the feeling somehow and somewhere, but not just when they ought to produce it.
Marie-Louise von Franz (Lectures on Jung's Typology)
We all have days when we feel small. Really small. Completely inadequate but saddled with all this responsibility...I have to fight battles against people who shouldn't be my enemies - especially when there are allready plenty of enemies to go around. There are days when I would love to pull the cover over my head and say to hell with it.
But I don't do that. And most people don't do that. Most people get up and do their jobs and work their asses off for no reward at all - but just so they can get up the next day and do the whole thing over again. World isn't perfect, and some days it wears you down. You can either accept that, and face it, and be a help to others instead of a hindrance. Or you can decide the rules are too tough and they shouldn't apply to you, and you can ignore them and make things harder for everybody else. Sometimes life is about being sad and doing things anyway. Sometimes it's about being hurt and doing things anyway. The point isn't perfection. The point is doing it anyway.
Chloe Neill (Biting Cold (Chicagoland Vampires, #6))
Sometimes I get the feeling [my parents have] asked me to hold this big invisible secret for them, like a backpack full of rocks--all these things they don't want to know about themselves. I'm supposed to wear it as I hike up this trail toward my adulthood. They're already at the summit of Full Grown Mountain. They're waiting for me to get there and cheering me on, telling me I can do it, and sometimes scolding and asking why I'm not hiking any faster or why I'm not having more fun along the way. I know I'm not supposed to talk about this backpack full of their crazy, but sometimes I really wish we could all stop for a second. Maybe they could walk down the trail from the top and meet me. We could unzip that backpack, pull out all of those rocks, and leave the ones we no longer need by the side of the trail. It'd make the walk a lot easier. Maybe then my shoulders wouldn't get so tense when Dad lectures me about money or Mom starts a new diet she saw on the cover of a magazine at the grocery store.
Aaron Hartzler (What We Saw)
More relevant was the cover sheet, which set forth the psychological profile of candidates best suited to withstand the extreme conditions at the South Pole. They are "individuals with blasé attitudes and antisocial tendencies," and people who " feel comfortable spending lots of time alone in small rooms," "don't feel the need to get outside and excercise," and the kicker, "can go long stretches without showering."
For the past twenty years I've been in training for overwintering at the South Pole! I knew I was up to something.
Maria Semple (Where'd You Go, Bernadette)
You okay?" he says, touching my cheek. His hand cradles the side of my head, his long fingers slipping through my hair. He smiles and holds my head in place as he kisses me. Heat spreads through me slowly.And fear, buzzing like an alarm in my chest.
His lips still on mine,he pushes the jacket from my shoulders.I flinch when I hear it drop,and push him back,my eyes burning. I don't know why I feel this way. I didn't feel like this when he kissed me on the train.I press my palms to my face,covering my eyes.
"What? What's wrong?"
I shake my head.
"Don't tell me it's nothing." His voice is cold.He grabs my arm. "Hey. Look at me."
I take my hands from my face and lift my eyes to his.The hurt in his eyes and the anger in his clenched jaw surprise me.
"Sometimes I wonder," I say,as calmly as I can, "what's in it for you. This...whatever it is."
"What's in it for me," he repeats. He steps back,shaking his head. "You're an idiot,Tris."
"I am not an idiot," I say. "Which is why I know that it's a little weird that,of all the girls you could have chosen,you chose me.So if you're just looking for...um,you know...that..."
"What? Sex?" He scowls at me. "You know, if that was all I wanted, you probably wouldn't be the first person I would go to."
I feel like he just punched me in the stomach. Of course I'm not the first person he would go to-not the first, not the prettiest,not desirable. I press my hands to my abdomen and look away, fighting off tears. I am not the crying type.Nor am I the yelling type. I blink a few times, lower my hands, and stare up at him.
"I'm going to leave now," I say quietly. And I turn toward the door.
"No,Tris." He grabs my wrist and wrenches me back. I push him away,hard, but he grabs my other wrist, holding our crossed arms between us.
"I'm sorry I said that," he says. "What I meant was that you aren't like that. Which I knew when I met you."
"You were an obstacle in my fear landscape." My lower lip wobbles. "Did you know that?"
"What?" He releases my wrists, and the hurt look is back. "You're afraid of me?"
"Not you," I say. I bite my lip to keep it still. "Being with you...with anyone. I've never been involved with someone before,and...you're older, and I don't know what your expectations are,and..."
"Tris," he says sternly, "I don't know what delusion you're operating under,but this is all new to me, too."
"Delusion?" I repeat. "You mean you haven't..." I raise my eyebrows. "Oh. Oh.I just assumed..." That because I am so absorbed by him, everyone else must be too. "Um. You know."
"Well,you assumed wrong." He looks away. His cheeks are bright,like he's embarrassed. "You can tell me anything, you know," he says. He takes my face in his hands,his fingertips cold and his palms warm. "I am kinder than I seemed in training. I promise."
I believe him.But this has nothing to do with his kindness.
He kisses me between the eyebrows, and on the tip of my nose,and then carefully fits his mouth to mine. I am on edge.I have electricity coursing through my veins instead of blood. I want him to kiss me,I want him to; I am afraid of where it might go.
Veronica Roth (Divergent (Divergent, #1))
But in all His relationships, God reaches for man. Reaches for you who have fallen and scraped your heart raw, for you who feel the shame of words that have snaked off your tongue and poisoned corners of your life, for you who keep trying to cover up pain with perfectionism.
Ann Voskamp (The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas)
Now I see what the audience saw, how he misled the Careers about me, stayed awake the entire night under the traker jacker tree, fought Cato to let me escape and even while he lay in that mud bank, whispered my name in his sleep. I seem heartless in comparison- dodging fireballs, dropping nests, and blowing up supplies- until I go hunting for Rue. They play her death in full, the spearing, my failed rescue attempt, my arrow through the boy from District 1's throat, Rue drawing her last breath in my arms. And the song. I get to sing every note of the song. Something inside me shuts down and I'm too numb to feel anything. It's like watching complete strangers in another Hunger Games. But I do notice they omit the part where I covered her in flowers.
Right. Because even that smacks of rebellion.
Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1))
I cover my eyes with both hands. I think I'm either going to vomit or cry. At the moment, I can't decide which would make me feel better. I part my fingers to look at Matty. "It was only a few emails and texts."
"And maybe I showed up at ShopRite once or twice when he was getting off work.
"Good way to keep busy after a breakup. Hoping incarceration would fill those empty hours?" Matty says.
Jennifer Salvato Doktorski (How My Summer Went Up in Flames)
It is natural to want to employ your friends when you find yourself in times of need. The world is a harsh place, and your friends soften the harshness. Besides, you know them. Why depend on a stranger when you have a friend at hand? Men are more ready to repay an injury than a benefit, because gratitude is a burden and revenge a pleasure. TACITUS, c. A.D. 55-120 The problem is that you often do not know your friends as well as you imagine. Friends often agree on things in order to avoid an argument. They cover up their unpleasant qualities so as to not offend each other. They laugh extra hard at each other’s jokes. Since honesty rarely strengthens friendship, you may never know how a friend truly feels. Friends will say that they love your poetry, adore your music, envy your taste in clothes—maybe they mean it, often they do not. When you decide to hire a friend, you gradually discover the qualities he or she has kept hidden. Strangely enough, it is your act of kindness that unbalances everything. People want to feel they deserve their good fortune. The receipt of a favor can become oppressive: It means you have been chosen because you are a friend, not necessarily because you are deserving. There is almost a touch of condescension in the act of hiring friends that secretly afflicts them. The injury will come out slowly: A little more honesty, flashes of resentment and envy here and there, and before you know it your friendship fades. The more favors and gifts you supply to revive the friendship, the less gratitude you receive. Ingratitude has a long and deep history. It has demonstrated its powers for so many centuries, that it is truly amazing that people continue to underestimate them. Better to be wary. If you never expect gratitude from a friend, you will be pleasantly surprised when they do prove grateful. The problem with using or hiring friends is that it will inevitably limit your power. The friend is rarely the one who is most able to help you; and in the end, skill and competence are far more important than friendly feelings.
Robert Greene (The 48 Laws of Power)
Psychedelics show you what’s in and on your mind, those subconscious thoughts and feelings that are are hidden, covered up, forgotten, out of sight, maybe even completely unexpected, but nevertheless imminently present. Depending upon set and setting, the same drug, at the same dose, can cause vastly different responses in the same person. One day, very little happens; another day, you soar, full of ecstatic and insightful discoveries; the next, you struggle through a terrifying nightmare. The generic nature of psychedelic, a term wide open to interpretation, suits these effects.
Hello, Anne’s clitoris. It’s me, Malcolm, your lord and master.” “Oh, god, no.” I covered my face with my hands. “Please don’t.” “Shh. This is a private conversation.” He brushed hot, feverish kisses up and down the lips of my sex. My stomach tensed so hard it hurt. “Look at you all pretty, pink, and excited. Don’t worry, I’ll look after you.” “If you don’t stop talking to my vagina I’m going to kill you.” I put a hand down, trying to cover myself. The bastard slapped it. Hard too. I would get him back for that later. “You’re beautiful, Anne’s pussy. Just beautiful. And I’m not mean like her. I’m on your side and I love you very much because you feel fucking amazing wrapped around my dick.” “Malcolm, I mean it. You’re ruining oral sex for me forever. Cut
Kylie Scott (Play (Stage Dive, #2))
It’s also quite possible she still detests me.”
Tyler dismissed this with a wave. “You’re going to let a thing like that stop you?”
“I was thinking intense despisement might be an obstacle in pursuing her, yes.”
“No, see, that’s what makes it all the more interesting,” Tyler said. He adopted a grandly dramatic tone. “‘Does our fair Ms. Kendall truly loathe the arrogant Mr. Jameson as she so ardently proclaims, or is it all just a charade to cover more amorous feelings for a man she reluctantly admires?’”
Up front, the cabdriver snorted loudly. He appeared to be enjoying the show.
“Psych 101 again?” J.D. asked.
Tyler shook his head. “Lit 305: Eighteenth-Century Women’s Fiction.” He caughtJ.D.’s look and quickly defended himself. “What? I took it because of the girls in the class. Anyway, I see a bit of a P and P dynamic going on between you and Payton.”
J.D. didn’t think he wanted to know. Really. But he asked anyway. “P and P?”
Tyler shot him a look, appalled. “Uh, hello—Pride and Prejudice?” His tone said only a cretin wouldn’t know this.
“Oh right, P and P,” J.D. said. “You know, Tyler, you might want to pick up your balls—I think they just fell right off when you said that.”
Up front, the cabdriver let out a good snicker.
Julie James (Practice Makes Perfect)
3. Blame. Whenever things don’t turn out as planned, blame yourself or others. Blame is another defensive cover-up for shame. Blame maintains the balance in a dysfunctional system when control has broken down. 4. Denial of the Five Freedoms. The five freedoms, first enunciated by Virginia Satir, describe full personal functionality. Each freedom has to do with a basic human power: the power to perceive, to think and interpret, to feel, to want and choose, and the power to imagine. In shame-based families, the perfectionist rule prohibits the full expression of these powers. It says you shouldn’t perceive, think, feel, desire or imagine the way you do. You should do these the way the perfec-tionistic ideal demands.
John Bradshaw (Healing the Shame that Binds You)
So successfully have we disguised from ourselves the intensity of our own feelings, the sensibility of our own hearts, that plays in the tragic tradition have begun to seem untrue. For a couple of hours we may surrender ourselves to a world of fiercely illuminated values in conflict, but when the stage is covered and the auditorium lighted, almost immediately there is a recoil of disbelief. "Well, well!" we say as we shuffle back up the aisle, while the play dwindles behind us with the sudden perspective of an early Chirico painting. By the time we have arrived at Sardi's, if not as soon as we pass beneath the marquee, we have convinced ourselves once more that life has as little resemblance to the curiously stirring and meaningful occurrences on the stage as a jingle has to an elegy of Rilke.
Tennessee Williams (Where I Live: Selected Essays)
When I was a fairly precocious young man I became thoroughly impressed with the futility of the hopes and strivings that chase most men restlessly through life. Moreover, I soon discovered the cruelty of that chase, which in those years was much more carefully covered up by hypocrisy and glittering words than is the case today. By the mere existence of his stomach everyone was condemned to participate in that chase. The stomach might well be satisfied by such participation, but not man insofar as he is a thinking and feeling being.
Both the veil and makeup are often seen as voluntary behaviours by women, taken up by choice and to express agency. But in both cases there is considerable evidence of the pressures arising from male dominance that cause the behaviours. For instance, the historian of commerce Kathy Peiss suggests that the beauty products industry took off in the USA in the 1920s/1930s because this was a time when women were entering the public world of offices and other workplaces (Peiss, 1998). She sees women as having made themselves up as a sign of their new freedom. But there is another explanation. Feminist commentators on the readoption of the veil by women in Muslim countries in the late twentieth century have suggested that women feel safer and freer to engage in occupations and movement in the public world through covering up (Abu-Odeh, 1995). It could be that the wearing of makeup signifies that women have no automatic right to venture out in public in the west on equal grounds with men. Makeup, like the veil, ensures that they are masked and not having the effrontery to show themselves as the real and equal citizens that they should be in theory. Makeup and the veil may both reveal women’s lack of entitlement.
Sheila Jeffreys (Beauty and Misogyny: Harmful Cultural Practices in the West)
People always, always talk about confidence, it’s supposed to be such an attractive thing. I wonder why though, why is it supposed to be such an attractive thing? When confidence hides so many other things that are so much more beautiful! When you think of being confident, you think of tucking away all those other things that you consider to be nuisances; but those nuisances make up whom you are! And those nuisances are beautiful. They are beautiful and they are you and they’re always going to be there, even when you try to cover them up! So what happens when they all come out one day? Are you going to feel like less of a person? Are the people who are supposed to love you, going to see you as less of a person? I say that it’s not about going out into the world and putting on a certain face— it’s just about going out into the world. I’ve gone out into the world! And I don’t put on that face! Or any other face, as a matter of fact! I don’t want to hide the way I play with my hair to feel more secure or the way I laugh at all the wrong times. I don’t want to hide those things because those things are a part of me. And I can still go out into the world— and all alone, too! I know so, because I’ve actually done it! So more important than confidence— is serenity and acceptance. The serenity comes from having a deep acceptance of all those little things about you that add up like the trillions of molecules and atoms you are made up of! And that’s just beautiful. Being beautiful is something rooted and strong; being confident is just a matter of putting on something that isn’t even a real part of you. Falling in love with the molecules that make up your essence is so much more attractive. And maybe that’s what confidence really means— the acceptance and belief in every single atom that you are.
C. JoyBell C.
A person with internalized shame believes he is inherently flawed, inferior and defective.Such a feeling is so painful that defending scripts (or strategies) are developed to cover it up. These scripts are the roots of violence, criminality, war and all forms of addiction. What I’ll mainly describe in the first part of this book is how the affect shame can become the source of self-loathing, hatred of others, cruelty, violence, brutality, prejudice and all forms of destructive addictions. As an internalized identity, toxic shame is one of the major sources of the demonic in human life.
John Bradshaw (Healing the Shame that Binds You)
Hi. How are you feeling?"
"Downright perky, thanks for asking."
She smiled a little until she came up to him. With her night vision, she saw that he was lying on top of the covers with only a pair of boxers on. He had a gauze pad around his belly and was covered with bruises. And-oh God-his leg...
"Don't worry,". he said dryly. I haven't had that foot-and-shin combo for over a century. And I really am okay. Just some aesthetic damage."
"Then why are you wearing that bandage like a sash?"
"It makes my ass look smaller.
J.R. Ward (Lover Awakened (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #3))
What is your least favorite part of the male anatomy?” “Uh…what?” “Come on.” I nudged her shoulder. “You have to have a least favorite part.” Marie stared at me for a beat then blinked rapidly. “Really? I just pour out my heart to you and….” “Balls,” Ashley announced unceremoniously from her place on the floor. Elizabeth snickered. “Oh, my lord.” Marie covered her face with her hands and shook her head. I ignored her and leaned closer to Ashley. “I know, right? I mean, shouldn’t those things be on the inside?” Janie’s thoughtfully distracted voice chimed in. “I feel like the rest of the male body makes a lot of sense. And then…balls.” “Yes!” “It makes me think maybe God is an alien or ran out of alluring parts before he got to the male reproductive system.” “They never look nice; it’s basically impossible. You can’t dress them up, and I’ve seen a lot of balls in the ER. I’ve never seen a man’s balls and thought to myself, Now that guy has a great set of testicles
Penny Reid (Love Hacked (Knitting in the City, #3))
Question," says Christina, leaning forward. "The leaders who were watching your fear landscape...they were laughing at something."
"Oh?" I bite my lip hard. "I'm glad my terror amuses them."
"Any idea which obstacle it was?" she asks.
"You're lying," she says. "You always bite the inside of your cheek when you lie. It's your tell."
I stop biting the inside of my cheek.
"Will's is pinching his lips together, if it makes you feel better," she adds.
Will covers his mouth immediately.
"Okay,fine.I was afraid of...intimacy," I say.
"Intimacy," repeats Chrstina. "Like...sex?"
I tense up.And force myself to nod.Even if it was just Christina, and no one else was around,I would still want to strangle her right now. I go over a few ways to inflict maximum injury with minimum force in my head. I try to throw flames from my eyes.
"What was that like?" she says. "I mean,did someone just...try to do it with you? Who was it?"
"Oh,you know. Faceless...unidentifiable male," I say. "How were your moths?"
"You promised you would never tell!" cries Christina,smacking my arm.
"Moths," repeats Will. "You're afraid of moths?"
"Not just a cloud of moths," she says, "like...a swarm of them. Everywhere. All those wings and legs and..." She shudders and shakes her head.
"Terrifying," Will says with mock seriousness. "That's my girl. Tough as cotton balls."
Veronica Roth (Divergent (Divergent, #1))
He didn’t even apologize as he sat up, staring down at her. Was
he angry? She guessed not when he began to speak to his erection.
“I know. I can’t believe she left us like this either. Cruel wench,
After the long, frightening, horrible day she had, this was not
remotely how she expected to end it. And, against her will, she
“Look. Now she’s laughing at us.”
Desperately fighting a bout of laughter, she ordered, “Stop
talking to it.”
He shrugged. “Well you won’t talk to him…and he’s feeling
awfully lonely. And I think you hurt his feelings.” Then he made it
bounce twice in agreement.
Talaith covered her face and sighed. What exactly did her
mother tell her the seven signs of madness were? Well, a dragon
talking to his own shaft had to be one of them.
G.A. Aiken (About a Dragon (Dragon Kin, #2))
When I saw that, the evidence left by two people, of love or something like it, desire at least, at least touch, between two people now perhaps old or dead, I covered the bed again and lay down on it. I looked up at the blind plaster eye in the ceiling. I wanted to feel Luke lying beside me. I have them, these attacks of the past, like faintness, a wave sweeping over my head. Sometimes it can hardly be borne. What is to be done, what is to be done, I thought. There is nothing to be done. They also serve who only stand and wait. Or lie down and wait. I know why the glass in the window is shatterproof, and why they took down the chandelier. I wanted to feel Luke lying besides me, but there wasn't room.
Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid’s Tale (The Handmaid's Tale, #1))
Lately she can read a novel in two hours. She has always been an avid reader, but these days she can read much faster. The colors, the conversations, everything is much more vibrant and inclusive, as if opening a book releases genies trapped inside. The scenes and people between their covers sometimes seem more vivid than real life, with their sunny, pearl-toothed characters, the witty conversation, the handsome stranger squeezed into a subway car or knocking about on the street. Sometimes, when she finishes a book at record speed, Dana feels a slight letdown, as if a good friend has hung up the phone in the middle of a conversation.
Susan H. Crawford (The Pocket Wife)
I spent the afternoon in a bookstore. There were no books in it. None had been printed for nearly half a century. And how I have looked forward to them, after the micro films that made up the library of the Prometheus! No such luck. No longer was it possible to browse among shelves, to weigh volumes in hand, to feel their heft, the promise of ponderous reading. The bookstore resembled, instead, an electronic laboratory. The books were crystals with recorded contents. They can be read the aid of an opton, which was similar to a book but had only one page between the covers. At a touch, successive pages of the text appeared on it. But optons were little used, the sales-robot told me. The public preferred lectons - like lectons read out loud, they could be set to any voice, tempo, and modulation.
Stanisław Lem (Return From the Stars)
Ladies and Gentlemen, I'd planned to speak to you tonight to report on the state of the Union, but the events of earlier today have led me to change those plans. Today is a day for mourning and remembering. Nancy and I are pained to the core by the tragedy of the shuttle Challenger. We know we share this pain with all of the people of our country. This is truly a national loss.
Nineteen years ago, almost to the day, we lost three astronauts in a terrible accident on the ground. But we've never lost an astronaut in flight. We've never had a tragedy like this. And perhaps we've forgotten the courage it took for the crew of the shuttle. But they, the Challenger Seven, were aware of the dangers, but overcame them and did their jobs brilliantly. We mourn seven heroes: Michael Smith, Dick Scobee, Judith Resnik, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Gregory Jarvis, and Christa McAuliffe. We mourn their loss as a nation together.
For the families of the seven, we cannot bear, as you do, the full impact of this tragedy. But we feel the loss, and we're thinking about you so very much. Your loved ones were daring and brave, and they had that special grace, that special spirit that says, "Give me a challenge, and I'll meet it with joy." They had a hunger to explore the universe and discover its truths. They wished to serve, and they did. They served all of us.
We've grown used to wonders in this century. It's hard to dazzle us. But for twenty-five years the United States space program has been doing just that. We've grown used to the idea of space, and, perhaps we forget that we've only just begun. We're still pioneers. They, the members of the Challenger crew, were pioneers.
And I want to say something to the schoolchildren of America who were watching the live coverage of the shuttle's take-off. I know it's hard to understand, but sometimes painful things like this happen. It's all part of the process of exploration and discovery. It's all part of taking a chance and expanding man's horizons. The future doesn't belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave. The Challenger crew was pulling us into the future, and we'll continue to follow them.
I've always had great faith in and respect for our space program. And what happened today does nothing to diminish it. We don't hide our space program. We don't keep secrets and cover things up. We do it all up front and in public. That's the way freedom is, and we wouldn't change it for a minute.
We'll continue our quest in space. There will be more shuttle flights and more shuttle crews and, yes, more volunteers, more civilians, more teachers in space. Nothing ends here; our hopes and our journeys continue.
I want to add that I wish I could talk to every man and woman who works for NASA, or who worked on this mission and tell them: "Your dedication and professionalism have moved and impressed us for decades. And we know of your anguish. We share it."
There's a coincidence today. On this day three hundred and ninety years ago, the great explorer Sir Francis Drake died aboard ship off the coast of Panama. In his lifetime the great frontiers were the oceans, and a historian later said, "He lived by the sea, died on it, and was buried in it." Well, today, we can say of the Challenger crew: Their dedication was, like Drake's, complete.
The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and "slipped the surly bonds of earth" to "touch the face of God."
If I am alive this is my book, and my father lives now in the afterlife that is a book, a thing not vague or virtual but something you can hold and feel and smell because to my mind heaven like life must be a thing sensual and real. And my book will be a river and have the Salmon literal and metaphoric leaping inside it and be called History of the Rain, so that his book does not perish, and you will know my book exists because of him and because of his books and his aspiration to leap up, to rise. You will know that I found him in his books, in the covers his hands held, the pages they turned, in the paper and the print, but also in the worlds those books contained, where now I have been and you have been too. You will know the story goes from the past to the present and into the future, and like a river flows.
Niall Williams (History of the Rain)
Listen to me. I did not say I was falling in love with you, if only you would hide some part of yourself or change some aspect to try to please me. I said I was falling in love with you—all of you. I don’t want you to curb yourself, deny yourself, cover up your face or head or any part of your body. I don’t want you to lose or gain weight, or watch what you say, or deny how you feel, or try to be anything but who you are, because who you are is the most beautiful person in the world to me.
Thea Harrison (Devil's Gate (Elder Races, #4.6))
Many social justice or social activist movements have been rooted in a position. A position is usually against something. Any position will call up its opposition. If I say up, it generates down. If I say right, it really creates left. If I say good, it creates bad. So a position creates its opposition. A stand is something quite distinct from that.
There are synonyms for “stand” such as “declaration” or “commitment,” but let me talk for just a few moments about the power of a stand. A stand comes from the heart, from the soul. A stand is always life affirming. A stand is always trustworthy. A stand is natural to who you are. When we use the phrase “take a stand” I’m really inviting you to un-cover, or “unconceal,” or recognize, or affirm, or claim the stand that you already are.
Stand-takers are the people who actually change the course of history and are the source of causing an idea’s time to come. Mahatma Gandhi was a stand-taker. He took a stand so powerful that it mobilized millions of people in a way that the completely unpredictable outcome of the British walking out of India did happen. And India became an independent nation. The stand that he took… or the stand that Martin Luther King, Jr. took or the stand that Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony took for women’s rights—those stands changed our lives today. The changes that have taken place in history as a result of the stand-takers are permanent changes, not temporary changes. The women in this room vote because those women took so powerful a stand that it moved the world.
And so the opportunity here is for us to claim the stand that we already are, not take a position against the macro economic system, or a position against this administration, although some of you may have those feelings. What’s way more powerful than that is taking a stand, which includes all positions, which allows all positions to be heard and reconsidered, and to begin to dissolve.
When you take a stand, it actually does shift the whole universe and unexpected, unpredictable things happen.
I have a dream.
And in this dream I’m under the covers in bed, just a few scant inches away from Carter’s body. I stare at his prone form lying next to me, the greenish-blue glow from the alarm clock on the bedside table providing just enough illumination for me to see the shallow rise and fall of his chest. The sheet is draped low over his hips as he sleeps peacefully with one arm flung over his eyes and the other resting on his taut, naked stomach. I slide my body ever so slowly across the bed, careful not to disturb him, until I’m so close I can feel the heat from his skin warming me from head to toe. I pull my arms out from under the sheet and my hands reach out towards him. I connect with his smooth, muscular chest, slide my fingers up his body, and…choke the ever living shit out of him.
Tara Sivec (Futures and Frosting (Chocolate Lovers, #2))
A quiet but indomitable voice behind me said, “I believe this is my dance.”
It was Ren. I could feel his presence. The warmth of him seeped into my back, and I quivered all over like spring leaves in a warm breeze.
Kishan narrowed his eyes and said, “I believe it is the lady’s choice.”
Kishan looked down at me. I didn’t want to cause a scene, so I simply nodded and removed my arms from his neck. Kishan glared at his replacement and stalked angrily off the dance floor.
Ren stepped in front of me, took my hands gently in his, and placed them around his neck, bringing my face achingly close to his. Then he slid his hands slowly and deliberately over my bare arms and down my sides, until they encircled my waist. He traced little circles on my exposes lower back with his fingers, squeezed my waist, and drew my body up tightly against him.
He guided me expertly through the slow dance. He didn’t say anything, at least not with words, but he was still sending lots of signals. He pressed his forehead against mine and leaned down to nuzzle my ear. He buried his face in my hair and lifted his hand to stroke down the length of it. His fingers played along my bare arm and at my waist.
When the song ended, it took both of us a min to recover our senses and remember where we were. He traced the curve of my bottom lip with his finger then reached up to take my hand from around his neck and led me outside to the porch.
I thought he would stop there, but he headed down the stairs and guided me to a wooded area with stone benches. The moon made his skin glow. He was wearing a white shirt with dark slacks. The white made me think of him as the tiger.
He pulled me under the shadow of a tree. I stood very still and quiet, afraid that if I spoke I’d say something I’d regret.
He cupped my chin and tilted my face up so he could look in my eyes. “Kelsey, there’s something I need to say to you, and I want you to be silent and listen.”
I nodded my head hesitantly.
“First, I want to let you know that I heard everything you said to me the other night, and I’ve been giving your words some very serious thought. It’s important for you to understand that.”
He shifted and picked up a lock of hair, tucked it behind my ear, and trailed his fingers down my cheek to my lips. He smiled sweetly at me, and I felt the little love plant bask in his smile and turn toward it as if it contained the nourishing rays of the sun. “Kelsey,” he brushed a hand through his hair, and his smile turned into a lopsided grin, “the fact is…I’m in love with you, and I have been for some time.”
I sucked in a deep breath.
He picked up my hand and played with my fingers. “I don’t want you to leave.” He began kissing my fingers while looking directly into my eyes. It was hypnotic. He took something out of his pocket. “I want to give you something.” He held out a golden chain covered with small tinkling bell charms. “It’s an anklet. They’re very popular here, and I got this one so we’d never have to search for a bell again.”
He crouched down, wrapping his hand around the back of my calf, and then slid his palm down to my ankle and attached the clasp. I swayed and barely stopped myself from falling over. He trailed his warm fingers lightly over the bells before standing up. Putting his hands on my shoulders, he squeezed, and pulled me closer.
“Kells . . . please.” He kissed my temple, my forehead, and my cheek. Between each kiss, he sweetly begged, “Please. Please. Please. Tell me you’ll stay with me.” When his lips brushed lightly against mine, he said, “I need you,” then crushed his lips against mine.
Colleen Houck (Tiger's Curse (The Tiger Saga, #1))
The pavement artist thought for a bit, then agreed. 'I can start tomorrow morning.'
'Good, good. But one question. Will you be able to draw enough to cover 300 feet? I mean, do you know enough different gods to fill the whole wall?'
The artist smiled. 'There is no difficulty. I can cover 300 miles if necessary. Using assorted religions and their gods, saints, and prophets. Hindu, Sikh, Judaic, Christian, Muslim, Zoroastrian, Buddhist, Jainist. Actually, Hinduism alone can produce enough. But I always like to mix them up, include a variety in my drawings. Makes me feel I am doing something to promote tolerance and understanding in the world.
Rohinton Mistry (Such a Long Journey)
Women have been programmed to view our bodies only in terms of how they look and feel to others, rather than how they feel to ourselves, and how we wish to use them. We are surrounded by media images portraying women as essentially decorative machines of consumer function, constantly doing battle with rampant decay. (Take your vitamins every day and he might keep you, if you don’t forget to whiten your teeth, cover up your smells, color your grey hair and iron out your wrinkles....) As women, we fight this depersonalization every day, this pressure toward the conversion of one’s own self-image into a media expectation of what might satisfy male demand.
Audre Lorde (The Cancer Journals)
She bit her lip and looked him up and down..
Lucy eye's zoned in on Cam's junk.
He covered his dick with both his hands. "I mean it, Lucy."
He took a step back.
She took a step forward.
"Quit objectifying me!" he yelled. "I have feelings, you know!"
She took a few more steps forward until she was in front of him. She placed her hand over his; still covering his parts, and raised her eyebrows.
"No," he warned.
"No," he said again.
She licked her lips.
"Oh, fuck it!" he grunted, before lifting her over his shoulders. He bumped fists with me on the way out.
Jay McLean (More Than Her (More Than, #2))
It’s a blur—dense, raucous, exhausting—feelings and thoughts all jumbled together into days and semesters, routines and first times, rolling along, rambling along, summer nights with all the windows open, lying on top of the covers, and darkening autumn mornings when no one wants to get out of bed, getting ready, getting better at things, wins and losses and days when it doesn’t go anyone’s way at all, and then, just as chaos begins to take some kind of shape, present itself not as a random series of emergencies and things you could have done better, the calendar, the months and years and year after year, stacked up in a messy pile starts to make sense, the sweetness of it all, right at that moment, the first times start turning into last times, as in, last first day of school, last time he crawls into bed with us, last time you’ll all sleep together like this, the three of you. There are a few years when you make almost all of your important memories. And then you spend the next few decades reliving them.
Charles Yu (Interior Chinatown)
My past still haunted me: an anxious, dizzy feeling every time I heard sirens, or heavy footsteps, or shouting men. This, I had learned, is trauma: a nearly constant feeling in my gut that something is wrong, or that something terrible is about to happen, the automatic fear responses in my body telling me to run away, to take cover, to hide myself from the danger that is everywhere. My trauma can still rise up out of mundane encounters. A sudden sight, a particular smell, can transport me back to the past.
Edith Eger (The Choice: Embrace the Possible)
He hated them all. They didn’t understand his higher calling. Gerry was answerable only to God. God loved him and approved of his efforts with children. In fact, his first experiences with the children were encouraged by a visit from the Lord. In his vision, the Lord told him to “teach them diligently unto thy children.” He told him young boys needed encouragement near puberty to experience the physical pleasures their young bodies were capable of feeling. Shortly after that, Gerry ‘educated’ his first child . . .
Mark M. Bello (Betrayal of Faith (Zachary Blake Legal Thriller, #1))
Yes?” Came the thin and reedy voice.
I winced as I pushed the door open. Beth sounded terrible. And when I got an eyeful of her, she looked just as bad. Sitting up against the headboard with a mountain of blankets piled around her, she had dark circles under her eyes. Her pale, waiflike features were sharp, and her hair was an unwashed, tangled mess. I tried not to breathe too deeply, because the room smelled of vomit and sweat.
I halted at the bed, shocked to my core. “Are you sick?”
Her unfocused gaze drifted away from me, landing on the door to the adjoined bathroom, it didn’t make sense. Hybrids—we couldn’t get sick. Not the common cold or the most dangerous cancer. Like the Luxen, we were immune to everything out there in terms of disease, but Beth? Yeah, she wasn’t looking too good.
A great sense of unease blossomed in my belly, stiffening my muscles. “Beth?”
Her watery stare finally drifted to me. “Is Dawson back yet?”
My heart turned over heavily, almost painfully. The two of them have been through so much, more than Daemon and I had, and this . . . God, this wasn’t fair. “No, he’s not back yet, but you? You look sick.”
She raised a slim, pale hand to her throat. “I'm not feeling very well.”
I didn’t know how bad this was, and I was almost afraid to find out. “What’s wrong?”
One shoulder rose, and it looked like it had taken great effort. “You shouldn’t be worried,” she said, her voice low as she picked at the hem of a blanket. “It’s not a big deal. I’ll be okay once Dawson comes back.” Her gaze floated off again, and as she dropped the edge of the blanket, she reached down, put her hand over her blanket-covered belly, and said, “We’ll be okay once Dawson comes back.”
“We’ll be . . . ?” I trailed off as my eyes widened. My jaw came unhinged and dropped as I gaped at her.
I stared at where her hand was and watched in dawned horror as she rubbed her belly in slow, steady circles.
Oh no. oh, hell to the no to the tenth power.
I started forward and then stopped. “Beth, are you . . . are you pregnant?
Jennifer L. Armentrout (Opposition (Lux, #5))
Six days, and I have eaten nothing. It is night. I am sitting in my chair. Ah, God! I wonder have any ever felt the horror of life that I have come to know? I am swathed in terror. I feel ever the burning of this dread growth. It has covered all my right arm and side, and is beginning to creep up my neck. To-morrow, it will eat into my face. I shall become a terrible mass of living corruption. There is no escape. Yet, a thought has come to me, born of a sight of the gun-rack, on the other side of the room. I have looked again—with the strangest of feelings. The thought grows upon me. God, Thou knowest, Thou must know, that death is better, aye, better a thousand times than This. This! Jesus, forgive me, but I cannot live, cannot, cannot! I dare not! I am beyond all help—there is nothing else left. It will, at least, spare me that final horror… … .
"I think I must have been dozing. I am very weak, and oh! so miserable, so miserable and tired—tired. The rustle of the paper, tries my brain[…]
William Hope Hodgson (The House on the Borderland)
It was that summer, too, that I began the cutting, and was almost as devoted to it as to my newfound loveliness. I adored tending to myself, wiping a shallow red pool of my blood away with a damp washcloth to magically reveal, just above my naval: queasy. Applying alcohol with dabs of a cotton ball, wispy shreds sticking to the bloody lines of: perky. I had a dirty streak my senior year, which I later rectified. A few quick cuts and cunt becomes can't, cock turns into back, clit transforms to a very unlikely cat, the l and i turned into a teetering capital A.
The last words I ever carved into myself, sixteen years after I started: vanish.
Sometimes I can hear the words squabbling at each other across my body. Up on my shoulder, panty calling down to cherry on the inside of my right ankle. On the underside of a big toe, sew uttering muffled threats to baby, just under my left breast. I can quiet them down by thinking of vanish, always hushed and regal, lording over the other words from the safety of the nape of my neck.
Also: At the center of my back, which was too difficult to reach, is a circle of perfect skin the size of a fist.
Over the years I've made my own private jokes. You can really read me. Do you want me to spell it out for you? I've certainly given myself a life sentence. Funny, right? I can't stand to look myself without being completely covered. Someday I may visit a surgeon, see what can be done to smooth me, but now I couldn't bear the reaction. Instead I drink so I don't think too much about what I've done to my body and so I don't do any more. Yet most of the time that I'm awake, I want to cut. Not small words either. Equivocate. Inarticulate. Duplicitous. At my hospital back in Illinois they would not approve of this craving.
For those who need a name, there's a gift basket of medical terms. All I know is that the cutting made me feel safe. It was proof. Thoughts and words, captured where I could see them and track them. The truth, stinging, on my skin, in a freakish shorthand. Tell me you're going to the doctor, and I'll want to cut worrisome on my arm. Say you've fallen in love and I buzz the outlines of tragic over my breast. I hadn't necessarily wanted to be cured. But I was out of places to write, slicing myself between my toes - bad, cry - like a junkie looking for one last vein. Vanish did it for me. I'd saved the neck, such a nice prime spot, for one final good cutting. Then I turned myself in.
Gillian Flynn (Sharp Objects)
Have you ever wondered
What happens to all the
poems people write?
The poems they never
let anyone else read?
Perhaps they are
Too private and personal
Perhaps they are just not good enough.
Perhaps the prospect
of such a heartfelt
expression being seen as
overwrought obscure stupid
is enough to give any aspiring
poet good reason to
hide their work from
Naturally many poems are IMMEDIATELY DESTROYED.
Burnt shredded flushed away
Occasionally they are folded
Into little squares
And wedged under the corner of
An unstable piece of furniture
(So actually quite useful)
a loose brick
the back of an
old alarm clock
put between the pages of
AN OBSCURE BOOK
that is unlikely
to ever be opened.
someone might find them one day,
BUT PROBABLY NOT
The truth is that unread poetry
Will almost always be just that.
to join a vast invisible river
of waste that flows out of suburbia.
On rare occasions,
Some especially insistent
pieces of writing will escape
into a backyard
or a laneway
be blown along
a roadside embankment
and finally come
to rest in a
as so many
It is here that
two or more pieces of poetry
drift toward each other
through a strange
force of attraction
and ever so slowly
to form a tiny,
this ball gradually
becomes larger and rounder as other
stray musings wishes and unsent
one by one.
Such a ball creeps
through the streets
Like a tumbleweed
for months even years
If it comes out only at night it has a good
Chance of surviving traffic and children
and through a
slow rolling motion
(its number one predator)
At a certain size, it instinctively
shelters from bad weather, unnoticed
but otherwise roams the streets
thought and feeling.
time and luck
the poetry ball becomes
large HUGE ENORMOUS:
A vast accumulation of papery bits
That ultimately takes to the air, levitating by
The sheer force of so much unspoken emotion.
It floats gently
above suburban rooftops
when everybody is asleep
inspiring lonely dogs
to bark in the middle
of the night.
a big ball of paper
no matter how large and
buoyant, is still a fragile thing.
it will be surprised by
gust of wind
in a matter
everyone will wake up
to find a pulpy mess
covering front lawns
clogging up gutters
and plastering car
Traffic will be delayed
unable to figure out
where it all came from
Will be the
Every lump of
faded words pressed into accidental
but undeniably present
To each reader
they will whisper
hilarious profound and perfect
No one will be able to explain the
Strange feeling of weightlessness
or the private smile
Long after the street sweepers
have come and gone.
Shaun Tan (Tales from Outer Suburbia)
You make out with a boy because he’s cute, but he has no substance, no words to offer you. His mouth tastes like stale beer and false promises. When he touches your chin, you offer your mouth up like a flower to to be plucked, all covered in red lipstick to attract his eye. When he reaches his hand down your shirt, he stops, hand on boob, and squeezes, like you’re a fruit he’s trying to juice. He doesn’t touch anything but skin, does not feel what’s within. In the morning, he texts you only to say, “I think I left the rest of my beer at your place, but it’s cool, you can drink it. Last night was fun.”
You kiss a girl because she’s new. Because she’s different and you’re twenty two, trying something else out because it’s all failed before. After spending six weekends together, you call her, only to be answered by a harsh beep informing you that her number has been disconnected. You learn that success doesn’t come through experimenting with your sexuality, and you’re left with a mouth full of ruin and more evidence that you are out of tune.
You fall for a boy who is so nice, you don’t think he can do any harm. When he mentions marriage and murder in the same sentence, you say, “Okay, okay, okay.” When you make a joke he does not laugh, but tilts his head and asks you how many drinks you’ve had in such a loving tone that you sober up immediately. He leaves bullet in your blood and disappears, saying, “Who wants a girl that’s filled with holes?”
You find out that a med student does. He spots you reading in a bar and compliments you on the dust spilling from your mouth. When you see his black doctor’s bag posed loyally at his side, you ask him if he’s got the tools to fix a mangled nervous system. He smiles at you, all teeth, and tells you to come with him. In the back of his car, he covers you in teethmarks and says, “There, now don’t you feel whole again.” But all the incisions do is let more cold air into your bones.
You wonder how many times you will collapse into ruins before you give up on rebuilding. You wonder if maybe you’d have more luck living amongst your rubble instead of looking for someone to repair it. The next time someone promises to flood you with light to erase your dark, you insist them you’re fine the way you are. They tell you there’s hope, that they had holes in their chest too, that they know how to patch them up. When they offer you a bottle in exchange for your mouth, you tell them you’re not looking for a way out. No, thank you, you tell them. Even though you are filled with ruins and rubble, you are as much your light as you are your dark.
Either peace or happiness, let it enfold you. When I was a young man I felt these things were dumb, unsophisticated. I had bad blood, a twisted mind, a precarious upbringing. I was hard as granite, I leered at the sun. I trusted no man and especially no woman... I challenged everything, was continually being evicted, jailed, in and out of fights, in and out of my mind... Peace and happiness to me were signs of inferiority, tenants of the weak, an addled mind. But as I went on...it gradually began to occur to me that I wasn't different from the others, I was the same... Everybody was nudging, inching, cheating for some insignificant advantage, the lie was the weapon and the plot was empty... Cautiously, I allowed myself to feel good at times. I found moments of peace in cheap rooms just staring at the knobs of some dresser or listening to the rain in the dark. The less I needed the better I felt... I re-formulated. I don't know when, date, time, all that but the change occured. Something in me relaxed, smoothed out. I no longer had to prove that I was a man, I didn’t have to prove anything. I began to see things: coffee cups lined up behind a counter in a cafe. Or a dog walking along a sidewalk. Or the way the mouse on my dresser top stopped there with its body, its ears, its nose, it was fixed, a bit of life caught within itself and its eyes looked at me and they were beautiful. Then...it was gone. I began to feel good, I began to feel good in the worst situations and there were plenty of those... I welcomed shots of peace, tattered shards of happiness... And finally I discovered real feelings of others, unheralded, like lately, like this morning, as I was leaving for the track, I saw my wife in bed, just the shape of her head there...so still, I ached for her life, just being there under the covers. I kissed her in the forehead, got down the stairway, got outside, got into my marvelous car, fixed the seatbelt, backed out the drive. Feeling warm to the fingertips, down to my foot on the gas pedal, I entered the world once more, drove down the hill past the houses full and empty of people, I saw the mailman, honked, he waved back at me.
Why are Muslims being “preserved” in some time capsule of centuries gone by? Why is it okay that we continue to live in a world where our women are compared to candy waiting to be consumed? Why is it okay for women of the rest of the world to fight for freedom and equality while we are told to cover our shameful bodies? Can’t you see that we are being held back from joining this elite club known as the 21st century? Noble liberals like yourself always stand up for the misrepresented Muslims and stand against the Islamophobes, which is great but who stands in my corner and for the others who feel oppressed by the religion? Every time we raise our voices, one of us is killed or threatened. . . . What you did by screaming “racist!” was shut down a conversation that many of us have been waiting to have. You helped those who wish to deny there are issues, deny them. What is so wrong with wanting to step into the current century? There should be no shame. There is no denying that violence, misogyny and homophobia exist in all religious texts, but Islam is the only religion that is adhered to so literally, to this day. In your culture you have the luxury of calling such literalists “crazies.” . . . In my culture, such values are upheld by more people than we realise. Many will try to deny it, but please hear me when I say that these are not fringe values. It is apparent in the lacking numbers of Muslims willing to speak out against the archaic Shariah law. The punishment for blasphemy and apostasy, etc, are tools of oppression. Why are they not addressed even by the peaceful folk who aren’t fanatical, who just want to have some sandwiches and pray five times a day? Where are the Muslim protestors against blasphemy laws/apostasy? Where are the Muslims who take a stand against harsh interpretation of Shariah?7
Ayaan Hirsi Ali (Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now)
The people they had been last summer, the person she had been--Dicey guessed she'd never be afraid again, not the way she
had been all summer. She had taken care of them all, sometimes well, sometimes badly. And they had covered the distances.
For most of the summer, they had been unattached. Nobody knew who they were or what they were doing. It didn't matter
what they did, as long as they all stayed together. Dicey remembered that feeling, of having things pretty much her own way.
And she remembered the feelings of danger. It was a little bit like being a wild animal, she thought to herself.
Dicey missed that wildness. She knew she would never have it again.
And she missed the sense of Dicey Tillerman against the whole world and doing all right.
Cynthia Voigt (Dicey's Song (Tillerman Cycle, #2))
I often tease Peter because I have a master’s and he doesn’t—his Rhodes Scholarship covered a second bachelor’s. Nevertheless, I still have to listen to his introduction five times a day: “Harvard-educated Rhodes Scholar who was elected the youngest mayor of a town over one hundred thousand, who took a seven-month leave of absence to serve his country in Afghanistan.” There’s no animosity here, because he always builds me up, especially when it comes to areas I excel in. If anyone in this relationship is bragging too much about the other at dinner parties, it’s him. He never makes me feel like the dumber one in the relationship, even though I totally am the dumber one in the relationship. Not to be self-deprecating—I just married a polyglot superhuman.
Chasten Glezman Buttigieg (I Have Something to Tell You)
It is perfectly possible to live a life from cradle to grave that is entirely dishonest.One might never reveal one's true identity, the yearnings and cravings of one's innermost self, even to the most intimate circle of family and friends; never really speak the truth to anyone. Priests and psychotherapists may believe that the confessional-box or the analysis session reveals truths, but you know and I know and every human being knows that we lie all the time to all the world. Lying is as much a part of us as wearing clothes. Indeed Man's first act in Eden was to give names to everything on earth, our first act of possession and falsehood was to take away a stone's right to be a stone by imprisoning it with the name "stone". There are in reality, as Fenellosa said, no nouns in the universe. Man's next great act was to cover himself up. We have been doing so ever since. We feel that our true identities shame us. Lying is a deep part of us. TO take it away is to make us something less than, not more than, human.
Stephen Fry (The Liar)
In winter you wake up in this city, especially on Sundays, to the chiming of its innumerable bells, as though behind your gauze curtains a gigantic china teaset were vibrating on a silver tray in the pearl-gray sky. You fling the window open and the room is instantly flooded with this outer, peal-laden haze, which is part damp oxygen, part coffee and prayers. No matter what sort of pills, and how many, you've got to swallow this morning, you feel it's not over for you yet. No matter, by the same token, how autonomous you are, how much you've been betrayed, how thorough and dispiriting in your self-knowledge, you assume there is still hope for you, or at least a future. (Hope, said Francis Bacon, is a good breakfast but bad supper.) This optimism derives from the haze, from the prayer part of it, especially if it's time for breakfast. On days like this, the city indeed acquires a porcelain aspect, what with all its zinc-covered cupolas resembling teapots or upturned cups, and the tilted profile of campaniles clinking like abandoned spoons and melting in the sky. Not to mention the seagulls and pigeons, now sharpening into focus, now melting into air. I should say that, good though this place is for honeymoons, I've often thought it should be tried for divorces also - both in progress and already accomplished. There is no better backdrop for rapture to fade into; whether right or wrong, no egoist can star for long in this porcelain setting by crystal water, for it steals the show. I am aware, of course, of the disastrous consequence the above suggestion may have for hotel rates here, even in winter. Still, people love their melodrama more than architecture, and I don't feel threatened. It is surprising that beauty is valued less than psychology, but so long as such is the case, I'll be able to afford this city - which means till the end of my days, and which ushers in the generous notion of the future.
Another sob came, harder than the first, but she couldn't cover her face and her mastectomy scars at the same time when he raised his head. When she tried, Luke merely caught her wrists and lightly pinned them on either side of her head.
"It's all right, Em. Tears are part of this," he whispered, bending to kiss them away. He moved gently within her, another tender caress that soothed as much as it stimulated. It broke the seal on the dam of her tears. They came out in a quiet rush while he stayed above her, eyes on her face as he murmured soothing things she didn't quite catch. And when the tears slowed, she looked up into his handsome face with a sniffle and the smile he gave her filled her heart to overflowing. Dear God she loved him. Had always loved him and would never love another man but him.
Her heart had known it all along. And so had her body.
Still, she tensed when he released one of her wrists to touch the skin beneath her right collarbone. Luke shook his dark head, those liquid eyes looking right into her soul. "I won't let you hide from me. Or from yourself." Embedded deep inside her, he raised his upper body to gaze at her, and all she could do was close her eyes in resistance. "Look at me."
After a long hesitation, she did.
He stared down at her with a powerful mixture of tenderness and hunger. "You think a scar's going to change how I see you? Feel about you?"
She swallowed and struggled to find her voice. "It's ugly."
"You're beautiful to me, Em. Always." She opened her mouth to say something but he leaned down to kiss her again. "Give me your hand," he coaxed, his voice a seductive whisper. She did, tentatively, and his fingers closed around hers in a warm grip. Strong and reassuring. "Accept who you are. Be proud of your body. It's fighting a war for you.
I know I get crazy when it comes to you, but God knows I’m tryin’, Pidge. I don’t wanna screw this up.”
“This is hard for me, ya know. I feel like any second you’re going to figure out what a piece of shit I am and leave me. When you were dancing last night, I saw a dozen different guys watching you. You go to the bar, and I see you thank that guy for your drink. Then that douchebag on the dance floor grabs you.”
“You don’t see me throwing punches every time a girl talks to you. I can’t stay locked up in the apartment all the time. You’re going to have to get a handle on your temper.”
“I will. I’ve never wanted a girlfriend before, Pigeon. I’m not used to feeling this way about someone…about anyone. If you’ll be patient with me, I swear I’ll get it figured out.”
“Let’s get something straight; you’re not a piece of shit, you’re amazing. It doesn’t matter who buys me drinks, or who asks me to dance, or who flirts with me. I’m going home with you. You’ve asked me to trust you, and you don’t seem to trust me.”
He frowned. “That’s not true.”
“If you think I’m going to leave you for the next guy that comes along, then you don’t have much faith in me.”
He tightened his grip. “I’m not good enough for you, Pidge. That doesn’t mean I don’t trust you, I’m just bracing for the inevitable.”
“Don’t say that. When we’re alone, you’re perfect. We’re perfect. But then you let everyone else ruin it. I don’t expect a one-eighty, but you have to pick your battles. You can’t come out swinging every time someone looks at me.”
He nodded. “I’ll do anything you want. Just…tell me you love me.”
“You know I do.”
“I need to hear you say it,” he said, his brows pulling together.
“I love you,” I said, touching my lips to his. “Now quit being such a baby.”
He laughed, crawling into the bed with me. We spent the next hour in the same spot under the covers, giggling and kissing, barely noticing when Kara returned from the shower.
Jamie McGuire (Beautiful Disaster (Beautiful, #1))
What You Missed That Day You Were Absent from Fourth Grade"
Mrs. Nelson explained how to stand still and listen
to the wind, how to find meaning in pumping gas,
how peeling potatoes can be a form of prayer. She took questions
on how not to feel lost in the dark.
After lunch she distributed worksheets
that covered ways to remember your grandfather’s
voice. Then the class discussed falling asleep
without feeling you had forgotten to do something else—
something important—and how to believe
the house you wake in is your home. This prompted
Mrs. Nelson to draw a chalkboard diagram detailing
how to chant the Psalms during cigarette breaks,
and how not to squirm for sound when your own thoughts
are all you hear; also, that you have enough.
The English lesson was that I am
is a complete sentence.
And just before the afternoon bell, she made the math equation look easy. The one that proves that hundreds of questions,
and feeling cold, and all those nights spent looking
for whatever it was you lost, and one person
add up to something.
Brad Aaron Modlin (Everyone at This Party Has Two Names)
There's a feeling you get driving down to Casper at night from the north, and not only there, other places where you come through hours of darkness unrelieved by any lights except the crawling wink of some faraway ranch truck. You come down a grade and all at once the shining town lies below you, slung out like all western towns, and with the curved bulk of mountain behind it. The lights trail away to the east in a brief and stubby cluster of yellow that butts hard up against the dark. And if you've ever been to the lonely coast you've seen how the shore rock drops off into the black water and how the light on the point is final. Beyond are the old rollers coming on for millions of years. It is like that here at night but instead of the rollers it's the wind. But the water was here once. You think about the sea that covered this place hundreds of millions of years ago, the slow evaporation, mud turned to stone. There's nothing calm in those thoughts. It isn't finished, it can still tear apart. Nothing is finished. You take your chances.
Annie Proulx (Close Range: Wyoming Stories)
Ms. Lane.”Barrons’ voice is deep, touched with that strange Old World accent and mildly pissed off. Jericho Barrons is often mildly pissed off. I think he crawled from the swamp that way, chafed either by some condition in it, out of it, or maybe just the general mass incompetence he encountered in both places. He’s the most controlled, capable man I’ve ever known.
After all we’ve been through together, he still calls me Ms. Lane, with one exception: When I’m in his bed. Or on the floor, or some other place where I’ve temporarily lost my mind and become convinced I can’t breathe without him inside me this very instant. Then the things he calls me are varied and nobody’s business but mine.
I reply: “Barrons,” without inflection. I’ve learned a few things in our time together. Distance is frequently the only intimacy he’ll tolerate. Suits me. I’ve got my own demons. Besides I don’t believe good relationships come from living inside each other’s pockets. I believe divorce comes from that.
I admire the animal grace with which he enters the room and moves toward me. He prefers dark colors, the better to slide in and out of the night, or a room, unnoticed except for whatever he’s left behind that you may or may not discover for some time, like, say a tattoo on the back of one’s skull.
“What are you doing?”
“Reading,” I say nonchalantly, rubbing the tattoo on the back of my skull. I angle the volume so he can’t see the cover. If he sees what I’m reading, he’ll know I’m looking for something. If he realizes how bad it’s gotten, and what I’m thinking about doing, he’ll try to stop me.
He circles behind me, looks over my shoulder at the thick vellum of the ancient manuscript. “In the first tongue?”
“Is that what it is?” I feign innocence.
He knows precisely which cells in my body are innocent and which are thoroughly corrupted. He’s responsible for most of the corrupted ones. One corner of his mouth ticks up and I see the glint of beast behind his eyes, a feral crimson backlight, bloodstaining the whites.
It turns me on. Barrons makes me feel violently, electrically sexual and alive. I’d march into hell beside him.
But I will not let him march into hell beside me. And there’s no doubt that’s where I’m going.
I thought I was strong, a heroine. I thought I was the victor. The enemy got inside my head and tried to seduce me with lies.
It’s easy to walk away from lies.
Power is another thing.
Temptation isn’t a sin that you triumph over once, completely and then you’re free. Temptation slips into bed with you each night and helps you say your prayers. It wakes you in the morning with a friendly cup of coffee, and knows exactly how you take it.
He skirts the Chesterfield sofa and stands over me. “Looking for something, Ms. Lane?”
I’m eye level with his belt but that’s not where my gaze gets stuck and suddenly my mouth is so dry I can hardly swallow and I know I’m going to want to. I’m Pri-ya for this man. I hate it. I love it. I can’t escape it.
I reach for his belt buckle. The manuscript slides from my lap, forgotten. Along with everything else but this moment, this man. “I just found it,” I tell him.
Karen Marie Moning (Burned (Fever, #7))
This vacillation between assertion and denial in discussions about organised abuse can be understood as functional, in that it serves to contain the traumatic kernel at the heart of allegations of organised abuse. In his influential ‘just world’ theory, Lerner (1980) argued that emotional wellbeing is predicated on the assumption that the world is an orderly, predictable and just place in which people get what they deserve. Whilst such assumptions are objectively false, Lerner argued that individuals have considerable investment in maintaining them since they are conducive to feelings of self—efficacy and trust in others. When they encounter evidence contradicting the view that the world is just, individuals are motivated to defend this belief either by helping the victim (and thus restoring a sense of justice) or by persuading themselves that no injustice has occurred. Lerner (1980) focused on the ways in which the ‘just world’ fallacy motivates victim-blaming, but there are other defences available to bystanders who seek to dispel troubling knowledge. Organised abuse highlights the severity of sexual violence in the lives of some children and the desire of some adults to inflict considerable, and sometimes irreversible, harm upon the powerless. Such knowledge is so toxic to common presumptions about the orderly nature of society, and the generally benevolent motivations of others, that it seems as though a defensive scaffold of disbelief, minimisation and scorn has been erected to inhibit a full understanding of organised abuse.
Despite these efforts, there has been a recent resurgence of interest in organised abuse and particularly ritualistic abuse (eg Sachs and Galton 2008, Epstein et al. 2011, Miller 2012).
Michael Salter (Organised Sexual Abuse)
No need to be embarassed. After seeing you in my cousin's nightgown, you've got nothing to hide. But why were you crying in the shower?" he murmured into her hair. She could feel his lips moving against her scalp, and feel the press of his hips through the covers, but his arms were an unyielding cage. She tried to turn over to face him, to welcome him under the covers with her, but he wouldn't let her.
"I was crying because I'm frustrated! Why are you doing this?" she whispered into her pillow.
"We can't, Helen," was all he said. He kissed her neck and said he was sorry over and over, but try as she might, he wouldn't let her face him. She began to feel like she was being used.
"Please be patient," he begged as he stopped her hand from reaching back to touch him. She tried to sit up, to push him out of her bed, anything but suffer lying next to someone who would play with her so terribly. They wrestled a bit, but he was much better at it than she was and felt even heavier than he looked. He easily blocked every attempt she made to wrap her arms or legs or lips around him.
"Do you want me at all, or do you just think it's fun to tease me like this?" she asked, feeling rejected and humiliated. "Won't you even kiss me?" She finally struggled onto her back where she could at least see his face.
"If I kiss you, I won't stop," he said in a desperate whisper as he propped himself up on his elbows to look her in the eye.
She looked back at him, really seeing him for the first time that night. His expression was vulnerable and uncertain. His mouth was swollen with want. His body was shaking and there was a fine layer of anxious sweat wilting his clothes. Helen relaxed back into the bed with a sigh. For some reason that obviously had nothing to do with desire, he wouldn't allow himself to be with her.
"You're not laughing at me, are you?" she asked warily, just as a precaution.
"No. There's nothing funny about this," he answered. He shifted himself off her and lay back down alongside her, still breathing hard.
"But for some reason, you and I will never happen," she said, feeling calm.
"Never say never," he said urgently, rolling back on top of her and using all of his unusually heavy mass to press her deep into the cocoon of her little-girl bed. "The gods love to toy with people who use absolutes."
Lucas ran his lips around her throat and let her put her arms around him, but that was all.
Josephine Angelini (Starcrossed (Starcrossed, #1))
Setting aside the truth value of the UFO phenomenon, it is an interesting sociological reality that so many people are unwilling to discuss the most - and at times traumatic - experience of their lives. What does it say about our society that this is so? My feeling is that, by its very nature, it represents a form of repression. If you are a reader who believes UFOs to be nonsense of some sort, I can nevertheless assure you that you have a friend or relation who has seen one. They have simply learned not to discuss it. Many people can live perfectly well within the constraints of repression and denial; they simply learn to shut off certain parts of their mind. It is sad, but it happens all of the time.
But not everyone is the same. Not everyone is willing to do this, or even can do this. By any estimate, there are may millions of people on this planet who have had a powerful UFO experience. They cannot and will not be silenced indefinitely.
Richard M. Dolan (UFOs and the National Security State: The Cover-up Exposed 1973-1991)
Nick turned at the tentative, feminine voice, to find two young women standing nearby, watching him eagerly. Nick spoke, wary.
“We—” one of them began to speak, then stopped, uncertain. The other nudged her toward him.
“We are fans.”
Nick blinked. “Of?”
“Indeed!” The second girl smiled broadly and stepped closer, holding out what looked suspiciously like—
Nick swore under his breath.
“Would you be willing to autograph our magazine? ”
Nick held up a hand. “I would, girls, but you’ve got the wrong brother.” He pointed to Gabriel. “That is Lord Nicholas.”
Rock snorted as the two shifted their attention to the Marquess of Ralston, a dazzlingly handsome copy of their prey, and tittered their excitement.
Gabriel instantly eased into his role, turning a brilliant smile on the girls. “I would be happy to autograph your magazine.” He took the journal and the pen they proffered and said, “You know, I must confess, this is the first time I’ve ever drawn the attention of ladies when in the company of my brother. Ralston has always been considered the more handsome of us.”
“No!” the girls protested.
Nick rolled his eyes.
“Indeed. Ask anyone. They’ll tell you it’s the marquess who is the best specimen. Surely you’ve heard that.” He looked up at them with a winning smile. "You can admit it, girls. My feelings shan’t be hurt."
Gabriel held up the magazine, displaying the cover, which boasted: Inside! London’s Lords to Land! “Yes … there’s no question that this is going to do wonders for my reputation. I’m so happy to see that it’s getting around that I’m on the hunt for a wife!”
The girls nearly expired from delight.
Sarah MacLean (Ten Ways to Be Adored When Landing a Lord (Love By Numbers, #2))
The War on Men Through the Degradation of Woman” - "How is man to recognize his full self, his full power through the eye’s of an incomplete woman? The woman who has been stripped of Goddess recognition and diminished to a big ass and full breast for physical comfort only. The woman who has been silenced so she may forget her spiritual essence because her words stir too much thought outside of the pleasure space. The woman who has been diminished to covering all that rots inside of her with weaves and red bottom shoes.
I am sure the men, who restructured our societies from cultures that honored woman, had no idea of the outcome. They had no idea that eventually, even men would render themselves empty and longing for meaning, depth and connection.
There is a deep sadness when I witness a man that can’t recognize the emptiness he feels when he objectifies himself as a bank and truly believes he can buy love with things and status. It is painful to witness the betrayal when a woman takes him up on that offer.
He doesn’t recognize that the [creation] of a half woman has contributed to his repressed anger and frustration of feeling he is not enough. He then may love no woman or keep many half women as his prize.
He doesn’t recognize that it’s his submersion in the imbalanced warrior culture, where violence is the means of getting respect and power, as the reason he can break the face of the woman who bore him 4 four children.
When woman is lost, so is man. The truth is, woman is the window to a man’s heart and a man’s heart is the gateway to his soul.
Power and control will NEVER out weigh love.
May we all find our way.
Jada Pinkett Smith
His hands shift to my shoulders, and his fingers brush over the edge of my bandage. He pulls back with a puckered brow.
“Are you hurt?” he asks.
“No. It’s another tattoo. It’s healed, I just…wanted to keep it covered up.”
“Can I see?”
I nod, my throat tight. I pull my sleeve down and slip my shoulder out of it. He stares down at my shoulder for a second, and then runs his fingers over it. They rise and fall with my bones, which stick out farther than I’d like. When he touches me, I feel like everywhere his skin meets mine is changed by the connection. It sends a thrill through my stomach. Not just fear. Something else, too. A wanting.
He peels the corner of the bandage away. His eyes roam over the symbol of Abnegation, and he smiles.
“I have the same one,” he says, laughing. “On my back.”
“Really? Can I see it?”
He presses the bandage over the tattoo and pulls my shirt back over my shoulder.
“Are you asking me to undress, Tris?”
A nervous laugh gurgles from my throat. “Only…partially.
Veronica Roth (Divergent (Divergent, #1))
So, what do you go for in a girl?”
He crows, lifting a lager to his lips
Gestures where his mate sits
Downs his glass
“He prefers tits I prefer ass. What do you go for in a girl?”
I don’t feel comfortable
The air left the room a long time ago
All eyes are on me
Well, if you must know I want a girl who reads
I’m not trying to call you a chauvinist
Cos I know you’re not alone in this but…
I want a girl who reads
Who needs the written word & uses the added vocabulary
She gleans from novels and poetry
To hold lively conversation In a range of social situations
I want a girl who reads
Who’s heart bleeds at the words of Graham Greene Or even Heat magazine
Who’ll tie back her hair while reading Jane Eyre
And goes cover to cover with each water stones three for two offer but
I want a girl who doesn’t stop there
I want a girl who reads
Who feeds her addiction for fiction
With unusual poems and plays
That she hunts out in crooked bookshops for days and days and days
She’ll sit addicted at breakfast, soaking up the back of the cornflakes box
And the information she gets from what she reads makes her a total fox
Cos she’s interesting & unique & her theories make me go weak at the knees
I want a girl who reads
A girl who’s eyes will analyze
The menu over dinner
Who’ll use what she learns to kick my ass in arguments so she always ends the winner
But she’ll still be sweet and she’ll still be flirty
Cos she loves the classics and the classics are dirty
So late at night she’d always have me in a stupor
As she paraphrases the raunchier moments from the works of
Jilly Cooper See, some guys prefer asses
Some prefer tits
And I’m not saying that I don’t like those bits
But what’s more important
Is a girl with passion, wit and dreams
So I’d like a girl who reads.
I could feel the warmth of the dog through my nightgown; I must have gotten hot during the night and thrown off the sheet. I drowsily patted the animal's head and began to stroke his fur, my fingers running idly through the thick hair. He wriggled even closer, sniffed my face, put his arm around me.
I was off the bed and shrieking in one move.
In my bed, Sam propped himself on his elbows, sunny side up, and looked at me with some amusement.
"Oh, ohmyGod! Sam, how'd you get here? What are you doing? Where's Dean?" I covered my face with my hands and turned back, but I'd certainly seen all there was to see of Sam.
"Woof," said Sam, from a human throat, and the truth stomped over me in combat boots.
I whirled back to face him, so angry I felt like I was going to blow a gasket.
"You watched me undress last night, you ... you ... damn dog!
Charlaine Harris (Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse, #1))
Releasing me, he backs up and strips off his shirt then shucks his jeans.
I burst into laughter.
“If you think you’re going to Slytherin to my bed with those on, you’re wrong. I only allow full-fledged Hufflepuffs in there.”
Zach glances down at his underwear and hangs his head. “Why did I have to wear this pair today? Why?”
“What? I think they’re hot.”
“You think my Harry Potter underwear are hot?” I nod. “You are my dream girl.”
I grin and shake my head as I make my way to my bed. I do my best to straighten the covers before pulling back my side and climbing in.
“I think you were right earlier.”
“About?” he asks, standing on the other side.
“This bed isn’t big enough for two. I think we’ll have to snuggle.”
He smirks as he slides in, getting as close to me as possible. I don’t hesitate to match his movements—though I probably should. I should be weirded out that Zach’s in my bed. I shouldn’t gravitate toward him like I do.
But I can’t help it. Zach makes me feel…comfortable. Safe. Warm. Wanted.
We’re lying face to face in the middle of the bed, the blanket draped over our waists, grinning at each other like fools.
“What?” I whisper.
“I made it in.”
“What?” I ask again, confused.
“Your special Hufflepuff-only chamber of secrets.”
“Did you really just…” Laughter consumes me and I’m rolling to my back and covering my face in embarrassment…for him. “You are such a nerd, Zach.
Teagan Hunter (Let's Get Textual (Texting, #1))
Those on the far right I came to know felt two things. First, they felt the deep story was true. Second, they felt that liberals were saying it was not true, and that they themselves were not feeling the right feelings. Blacks and women who were beneficiaries of affirmative action, immigrants, refugees, and public employees were not really stealing their place in line, liberals said. So don't feel resentful. Obama's help to these groups was not really a betrayal, liberals said. The success of those who cut ahead was not really at the expense of white men and their wives. In other words, the far right felt that the deep story was their real story and that there was a false PC cover-up of that story. They felt scorned. "People think we're not good people if we don't fee sorry for blacks and immigrants and Syrian refugees," one man told me. "But I am a good person and I don't feel sorry for them."
With the cover-up, as my new friends explained to me, came the need to manage the appearance of their real feelings and even, to some extent, the feelings themselves. They didn't have to do this with friends, neighbors, and family. But they realized that the rest of America did not agree. ("I know liberals want us to feel sorry for blacks. I know they think they are so idealistic and we aren't," one woman told me.) My friends on the right felt obliged to try to modify their feelings, and they didn't like having to do that; they felt under the watchful eye of the "PC police." In the realm of emotions, the right felt like they were being treated as the criminals, and the liberals had the guns.
Arlie Russell Hochschild (Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right)
We Don't Need to Leave Yet, Do We? Or, Yes We Do
One kind of person when catching a train always wants to allow an hour to cover the ten-block trip to the terminus,
And the other kind looks at them as if they were verminous,
And the second kind says that five minutes is plenty and will even leave one minute over for buying the tickets,
And the first kind looks at them as if they had cerebral rickets.
One kind when theater-bound sups lightly at six and hastens off to the play,
And indeed I know one such person who is so such that it frequently arrives in time for the last act of the matinee,
And the other kind sits down at eight to a meal that is positively sumptuous,
Observing cynically that an eight-thirty curtain never rises till eight-forty, an observation which is less cynical than bumptious.
And what the first kind, sitting uncomfortably in the waiting room while the train is made up in the yards, can never understand,
Is the injustice of the second kind's reaching their scat just as the train moves out, just as they had planned,
And what the second kind cannot understand as they stumble over the first kind's heel just as the footlights flash on at last
Is that the first kind doesn't feel the least bit foolish at having entered the theater before the cast.
Oh, the first kind always wants to start now and the second kind always wants to tarry,
Which wouldn't make any difference, except that each other is what they always marry.
I didn't have a choice."
"Are you saying...What are you saying?" Is he...could he be talking about me?
He runs a hand through his hair. I've never seen him this emotional before. He's always so controlled, so sure of himself. "I'm saying you're what I want, Emma. I'm saying I'm in love with you."
He steps forward and lifts his hand to my cheek, blazing a line of fire with his fingertips as they trace down to my mouth. "How do you think it would make me feel to see you with Grom?" he whispers. "Like someone ripped my heart out and put it through Rachel's meat grinder, that's how. Probably worse. It would probably kill me. Emma, please don't cry."
I throw my hands in the air. "Don't cry? Are you serious? Why did you come here, Galen? Did you think it would make me feel better to know that you do love me, but that it still won't work out? That I still have to mate with Grom for the greater good? Don't you tell me not to cry, Galen! I...c...c...can't h...h...help-" The waterworks soak me. Galen looks at me, hands by his side, helpless as a trapped crab. I'm bordering on hyperventilation, and pretty soon I'll start hiccupping. This is too much.
His expression is so severe, it looks like he's in physical pain. "Emma," he breathes. "Emma, does this mean you feel the same way? Do you care for me at all?"
I laugh, but it sounds sharper than I intended, because of a hiccup. "What does it matter how I feel, Galen? I think we pretty much covered why. No need to rehash things, right?"
"It matters, Emma." He grabs my hand and pulls me to him again. "Tell me right now. Do you care for me?"
"If you can't tell that I'm stupid in love with you, Galen, then you aren't a very good ambassador for the hum-"
His mouth covers mine, cutting me off. This kiss isn't gentle like the first one. It's definitely not sweet. It's rough, demanding, searching. And disorienting. There's not a part of me that isn't melting against Galen, not a part that isn't combusting with his fevered touch.
I accidentally moan into his lips. He takes it for his cue to lift me off my feet, to pull me up to his height for more leverage. I take his groan for my cue to kiss him harder.
He ignores his cell phone ringing in his pocket. I ignore the rest of the universe. Even when headlights approach, I'm willing to overlook their intrusion and keep kissing. But, prince that he is, Galen is a little more refined than me at this moment. He gently pries his lips from mine and sets me down. His smile is both intoxicated and intoxicating. "We still need to talk."
"Right," I say, but I'm shaking my head.
He laughs. "I didn't come all the way to Atlantic City to make you cry."
"I'm not crying." I lean into him again. He doesn't refuse my lips, but he doesn't do them justice either, planting a measly little kiss on them before stepping back.
Anna Banks (Of Poseidon (The Syrena Legacy, #1))
America I’ve given you all and now I’m nothing.
America two dollars and twentyseven cents January 17, 1956.
I can’t stand my own mind.
America when will we end the human war?
Go fuck yourself with your atom bomb.
I don’t feel good don’t bother me.
I won’t write my poem till I’m in my right mind.
America when will you be angelic?
When will you take off your clothes?
When will you look at yourself through the grave?
When will you be worthy of your million Trotskyites?
America why are your libraries full of tears?
America when will you send your eggs to India?
I’m sick of your insane demands.
When can I go into the supermarket and buy what I need with my good looks?
America after all it is you and I who are perfect not the next world.
Your machinery is too much for me.
You made me want to be a saint.
There must be some other way to settle this argument.
Burroughs is in Tangiers I don’t think he’ll come back it’s sinister.
Are you being sinister or is this some form of practical joke?
I’m trying to come to the point.
I refuse to give up my obsession.
America stop pushing I know what I’m doing.
America the plum blossoms are falling.
I haven’t read the newspapers for months, everyday somebody goes on trial for murder.
America I feel sentimental about the Wobblies.
America I used to be a communist when I was a kid I’m not sorry.
I smoke marijuana every chance I get.
I sit in my house for days on end and stare at the roses in the closet.
When I go to Chinatown I get drunk and never get laid.
My mind is made up there’s going to be trouble.
You should have seen me reading Marx.
My psychoanalyst thinks I’m perfectly right.
I won’t say the Lord’s Prayer.
I have mystical visions and cosmic vibrations.
America I still haven’t told you what you did to Uncle Max after he came over from Russia.
I’m addressing you.
Are you going to let your emotional life be run by Time Magazine?
I’m obsessed by Time Magazine.
I read it every week.
Its cover stares at me every time I slink past the corner candystore.
I read it in the basement of the Berkeley Public Library.
It’s always telling me about responsibility. Businessmen are serious. Movie producers are serious. Everybody’s serious but me.
It occurs to me that I am America.
I am talking to myself again.
Allen Ginsberg (Howl and Other Poems)
The loneliness, bleakness, wretchedness you feel without this person you love existed before you fell in love. What you call love is merely stimulation, the temporary covering-up of your emptiness. You escaped from loneliness through a person, used this person to cover it up. Your problem is not this relationship but rather it is the problem of your own emptiness. Escape is very dangerous because, like some drug, it hides the real problem. It is because you have no love inside you that you continually look for love to fill you from the outside.
There is a difference between understanding the futility of this escape and deciding not to get involved in this kind of relationship. A decision is no good because it strengthens the thing you are deciding against. Understanding is quite different.
J. Krishnamurti (Meeting Life: Writings and Talks on Finding Your Path Without Retreating from Society)
I stared down at the white bikini in horror. My cleavage was out in full form, while the bikini bottoms hugged my hips, tinier than anything I’d ever dare buy for myself. What the hell was Gavin Fletcher thinking putting me in something like this? And he wanted me to go outside in it, much less get my picture taken?
Yeah, right! That was absolutely not happening.
“We haven’t got all day, Lani,” Martin barked from on deck.
I put my head in my hands, sighing deeply before brushing my hair back from my eyes. What the hell had I gotten myself into?
There was a gentle rapping on the bedroom door, and I opened it, wishing I had a towel to cover up with. Gavin’s gold-flecked eyes met mine, and I stepped back to let him in. He sucked in a breath, looking me over in that brash way of his, his lips curling into a grin.
“Now that’s what I’ve been hoping for,” he said.
I laughed nervously and crossed my arms in front of my body. “I don’t know if I can do this. You heard Martin out there.”
Gavin reached forward and put a hand on my arm, smoothing his large palm over my skin. I shivered beneath his touch, feeling the heat from a connection I wondered if he felt, too. Judging by the heat in his gaze, he did, but how was that even possible? I couldn’t be reading him right.
“You look stunning, Aolani,” he said, that dangerous, bad-boy smile of his making my toes curl. “You’re exactly what I’ve been waiting for. Exactly what this campaign needs. Please say you’ll try? For me?
Delilah Fawkes (Lush Curves (Lush Curves , #1))
I like your hair," he said quietly, "but I think you'd look good whatever you did with it."
Here's the thing.He looked like he meant it, and like it had been the most natural thing in the world to say. I blinked at him.
"Okay," I said. "You want to know something about me that I don't really want to tell you? How about this. I dont get it.This.I hate that I don't. I wish I were the kind of girl who took guys like you as my sovereign right in life. But I don't."
"Yeah,I've sorta figured that out,too." He let go of my hair and put his hand on my waist, so his thumb was against my skin. I shivered. "Here's my first reveal for the night. One day, not so long ago, I'm just sitting in the dining room, digesting, minding my own business-literally. Trying to decide whether the second hamburger had been such a good idea and whether to break up with my girlfriend of a year and a half. Then I try to stand up, and suddenly there's this really pretty girl doubled over and looking at my book like it was covered with crap-"
"Yeah.You were. So there you were, with that amazing face and a yard of hair that smelled like flowers, and all this stuff drawn on your jeans. I really liked that."
"You liked my jeans."
"Among other things.But, jeez, Ella. After that, if you weren't making me feel like I had the IQ of a stone, your friends were looking at me like I'd crawled out from under one. I won't even go into what you obviously think of my friends."
"Chase Vere is a reptile.
Melissa Jensen (The Fine Art of Truth or Dare)
You think I hate men. I guess I do, although some of my best friends...I don't like this position. I mistrust generalized hatred. I feel like one of those twelfth century monks raving on about how evil women are and how they must cover themselves up completely when they go out lest they lead men into evil thoughts. The assumption that the men are the ones who matter, and that the women exist only in relation to them, is so silent and underrunning that ever we never picked it up until recently. But after all, look at what we read. I read Schopenhauer and Nietzsche and Wittgenstein and Freud and Erikson; I read de Montherlant and Joyce and Lawrence and sillier people like Miller and Mailer and Roth and Philip Wylie. I read the Bible and Greek myths and didn't question why all later redactions relegated Gaea-Tellus and Lilith to a footnote and made Saturn the creator of the world. I read or read about, without much question, the Hindus and the Jews, Pythagoras and Aristotle, Seneca, Cato, St.Paul, Luther, Sam Johnson, Rousseau, Swift...well, you understand. For years I didn't take it personally.
So now it is difficult for me to call others bigots when I am one myself. I tell people at once, to warn them, that I suffer from deformation of character. But the truth is I am sick unto death of four thousand years of males telling me how rotten my sex is. Especially it makes me sick when I look around and see such rotten men and such magnificent women, all of whom have a sneaking suspicion that the four thousand years of remarks are correct. These days I feel like an outlaw, a criminal. Maybe that's what the people perceive who look at me so strangely as I walk the beach. I feel like an outlaw not only because I think that men are rotten and women are great, but because I have come to believe that oppressed people have the right to use criminal means to survive. Criminal means being, of course, defying the laws passed by the oppressors to keep the oppressed in line. Such a position takes you scarily close to advocating oppression itself, though. We are bound in by the terms of the sentence. Subject-verb-object. The best we can do is turn it around. and that's no answer, is it?
Marilyn French (The Women's Room)
Samuel said that Tom was quavering over greatness, trying to decide whether he could take the cold responsibility. Samuel knew his son’s quality and felt the potential of violence, and it frightened him, for Samuel had no violence—even when he hit Adam Trask with his fist he had no violence. And the books that came into the house, some of them secretly—well, Samuel rode lightly on top of a book
and he balanced happily among ideas the way a man rides white rapids in a canoe. But Tom got into a book, crawled and groveled between the covers, tunneled like a mole among the thoughts, and came up with the book all over his face and hands. Violence and shyness—Tom’s loins needed women and at the same time he did not think himself worthy of a woman. For long periods he would welter in a howling celibacy, and then he would take a
train to San Francisco and roll and wallow in women, and then he would come silently back to the ranch, feeling weak and unfulfilled and unworthy, and he would punish himself with work, would plow and plant unprofitable land, would cut tough oakwood until his back was breaking and his arms were weary rags.
John Steinbeck (East of Eden)
It’s weird being alone in the museum. It’s dark and eerily quiet: Only the after-hours lights are on—just enough to illuminate the hallways and stop you from tripping over your own feet—and the background music that normally plays all the time is shut off.
I quickly organize the flashlights and check their batteries, and when I don’t hear Porter walking around, I stare at the phone sitting at the information desk. How many chances come along like this? I pick up the receiver, press the little red button next to the word ALL, and speak into the phone in a low voice. “Paging Porter Roth to the information desk,” I say formally, my voice crackling through the entire lobby and echoing down the corridors. Then I press the button again and add, “While you’re at it, check your shoes to make sure they’re a match, you bastard. By the way, I still haven’t quite forgiven you for humiliating me. It’s going to take a lot more than a kiss and a cookie to make me forget both that and the time you provoked me in the Hotbox.”
I’m only teasing, which I hope he knows. I feel a little drunk on all my megaphone power, so I page one more thing:
“PS—You look totally hot in those tight-fitting security guard pants tonight, and I plan to get very handsy with you at the movies, so we better sit in the back row.”
I hang up the phone and cover my mouth, silently laughing at myself. Two seconds later, Porter’s footfalls pound down Jay’s corridor—Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! He sounds like a T. rex running from Godzilla. He races into the lobby and slides in front of the information desk, grabbing onto the edge to stop himself, wild curls flying everywhere. His grin is enormous.
“Whadidya say ’bout where you want to be puttin’ your hands on me?” he asks breathlessly.
“I think you have me confused with someone else,” I tease.
His head sags against the desk. I push his hair away from one of his eyes. He looks up at me and asks, “You really still haven’t forgiven me?”
“Maybe if you put your hands onme, I might.”
“Don’t go getting my hopes up like that.”
“Oh, your hopes should be up. Way up.”
“Dear God, woman,” he murmurs. “And here I was, thinking you were a classy dame.”
“Pfft. You don’t know me at all.”
“I aim to find out. What are we still doing here? Let’s blow this place and get to the theater, fast.
Jenn Bennett (Alex, Approximately)
I’m not sure how the ponies happened, though I have an inkling: “Can I get you anything?” I’ll say, getting up from a dinner table, “Coffee, tea, a pony?” People rarely laugh at this, especially if they’ve heard it before. “This party’s ‘sposed to be fun,” a friend will say. “Really? Will there be pony rides?” It’s a nervous tic and a cheap joke, cheapened further by the frequency with which I use it. For that same reason, it’s hard to weed it out of my speech – most of the time I don’t even realize I’m saying it. There are little elements in a person’s life, minor fibers that become unintentionally tangled with your personality. Sometimes it’s a patent phrase, sometimes it’s a perfume, sometimes it’s a wristwatch. For me, it is the constant referencing of ponies.
I don’t even like ponies. If I made one of my throwaway equine requests and someone produced an actual pony, Juan-Valdez-style, I would run very fast in the other direction. During a few summers at camp, I rode a chronically dehydrated pony named Brandy who would jolt down without notice to lick the grass outside the corral and I would careen forward, my helmet tipping to cover my eyes. I do, however, like ponies on the abstract. Who doesn’t? It’s like those movies with the animated insects. Sure, the baby cockroach seems cute with CGI eyelashes, but how would you feel about fifty of her real-life counterparts living in your oven? And that’s precisely the manner in which the ponies clomped their way into my regular speech: abstractly. “I have something for you,” a guy will say on our first date. “Is it a pony?” No. It’s usually a movie ticket or his cell phone number. But on our second date, if I ask again, I’m pretty sure I’m getting a pony.
And thus the Pony drawer came to be. It’s uncomfortable to admit, but almost every guy I have ever dated has unwittingly made a contribution to the stable. The retro pony from the ‘50s was from the most thoughtful guy I have ever known. The one with the glitter horseshoes was from a boy who would later turn out to be straight somehow, not gay. The one with the rainbow haunches was from a librarian, whom I broke up with because I felt the chemistry just wasn’t right, and the one with the price tag stuck on the back was given to me by a narcissist who was so impressed with his gift he forgot to remover the sticker. Each one of them marks the beginning of a new relationship. I don’t mean to hint. It’s not a hint, actually, it’s a flat out demand: I. Want. A. Pony. I think what happens is that young relationships are eager to build up a romantic repertoire of private jokes, especially in the city where there’s not always a great “how we met” story behind every great love affair. People meet at bars, through mutual friends, on dating sites, or because they work in the same industry. Just once a coworker of mine, asked me out between two stops on the N train. We were holding the same pole and he said, “I know this sounds completely insane, bean sprout, but would you like to go to a very public place with me and have a drink or something...?” I looked into his seemingly non-psycho-killing, rent-paying, Sunday Times-subscribing eyes and said, “Sure, why the hell not?” He never bought me a pony. But he didn’t have to, if you know what I mean.
Sloane Crosley (I Was Told There'd Be Cake: Essays)
…I notice that people always make gigantic arrangements for bathing when they are going anywhere near the water, but that they don’t bathe much when they are there.
It is the same when you go to the sea-side. I always determine—when thinking over the matter in London—that I’ll get up early every morning, and go and have a dip before breakfast, and I religiously pack up a pair of drawers and a bath towel. I always get red bathing drawers. I rather fancy myself in red drawers. They suit my complexion so. But when I get to the sea I don’t feel somehow that I want that early morning bathe nearly so much as I did when I was in town.
On the contrary, I feel more that I want to stop in bed till the last moment, and then come down and have my breakfast. Once or twice virtue has triumphed, and I have got out at six and half-dressed myself, and have taken my drawers and towel, and stumbled dismally off. But I haven’t enjoyed it. They seem to keep a specially cutting east wind, waiting for me, when I go to bathe in the early morning; and they pick out all the three-cornered stones, and put them on the top, and they sharpen up the rocks and cover the points over with a bit of sand so that I can’t see them, and they take the sea and put it two miles out, so that I have to huddle myself up in my arms and hop, shivering, through six inches of water. And when I do get to the sea, it is rough and quite insulting.
One huge wave catches me up and chucks me in a sitting posture, as hard as ever it can, down on to a rock which has been put there for me. And, before I’ve said “Oh! Ugh!” and found out what has gone, the wave comes back and carries me out to mid-ocean. I begin to strike out frantically for the shore, and wonder if I shall ever see home and friends again, and wish I’d been kinder to my little sister when a boy (when I was a boy, I mean). Just when I have given up all hope, a wave retires and leaves me sprawling like a star-fish on the sand, and I get up and look back and find that I’ve been swimming for my life in two feet of water. I hop back and dress, and crawl home, where I have to pretend I liked it.
Jerome K. Jerome (Three Men in a Boat (Three Men, #1))
Some alters are what Dr Ross describes in Multiple Personality Disorder as 'fragments'. which are 'relatively limited psychic states that express only one feeling, hold one memory, or carry out a limited task in the person's life. A fragment might be a frightened child who holds the memory of one particular abuse incident.' In complex multiples, Dr Ross continues, the 'personalities are relatively full-bodied, complete states capable of a range of emotions and behaviours.' The alters will have 'executive control some substantial amount of time over the person's life'. He stresses, and I repeat his emphasis, 'Complex MPD with over 15 alter personalities and complicated amnesia barriers are associated with 100 percent frequency of childhood physical, sexual and emotional abuse.' Did I imagine the castle, the dungeon, the ritual orgies and violations? Did Lucy, Billy, Samuel, Eliza, Shirley and Kato make it all up? I went back to the industrial estate and found the castle. It was an old factory that had burned to the ground, but the charred ruins of the basement remained. I closed my eyes and could see the black candles, the dancing shadows, the inverted pentagram, the people chanting through hooded robes. I could see myself among other children being abused in ways that defy imagination. I have no doubt now that the cult of devil worshippers was nothing more than a ring of paedophiles, the satanic paraphernalia a cover for their true lusts: the innocent bodies of young children.
Alice Jamieson (Today I'm Alice: Nine Personalities, One Tortured Mind)
The majority of things in life are about picking your battles. You'll learn that too. And that will never be clearer than when you're at IKEA. You'd have to visit a Danish vacation village after two weeks of pouring rain and no beer to come across as many couples arguing as you'll hear in the IKEA section for changeable sofa covers on any given Tuesday. People take this whole interior design thing really seriously these days. It's become a national pastime to over interpret the symbolism of the fact that "he wants frosted glass, that just proves he never listens to my FEELINGS." "Ahhhhh! She wants beech veneer. Do you hear me? Beech veneer! Sometimes, it feels like I've woken up next to a stranger!" That's how it is, every single time you go there. And I'm not going to lecture you, but if there's just one thing I can get across then let it be this: no one has ever, in the history of the world, had an argument in IKEA that really is about IKEA. People can say whatever they life, but when a couple who has been married for ten years walks around the bookshelves section calling one another words normally only used by alcoholic crime fiction detectives, they might be arguing about a number of things, but trust me: cupboard doors is not one of them. Believe me. You're a Backman. Regardless of how many shortcomings the person you fall in love with might have, I can guarantee that you still come out on top of that bargain. So find someone who doesn't love you for the person you are, but despite the person you are. And when you're standing there, in the storage section at IKEA, don't focus too much on the furniture. Focus on the fact that you've actually found someone who can see themselves storing their crap in the same place as your crap. Because, hand on heart: you have a lot of crap.
Fredrik Backman (Saker min son behöver veta om världen)
I don't know for sure what ever became of Hatsumomo. A few years after the war, I heard she was making a living as a prostitute in the Miyagawa-cho district. She couldn't have been there long, because on the night I heard it, a man at the same party swore that if Hatsumomo was a prostitute, he would find her and give her some business of his own. He did go looking for her, but she was nowhere to be found. Over the years, she probably succeeded in drinking herself to death. She certainly wouldn't have been the first geisha to do it.
In just the way that a man can grow accustomed to a bad leg, we'd all grown accustomed to having Hatsumomo in our okiya. I don't think we quite understood all the ways her presence had afflicted us until long after she'd left, when things that we hadn't realized were ailing slowly began to heal. Even when Hatsumomo had been doing nothing more than sleeping in her room, the maids had known she was there, and that during the course of the day she would abuse them. They'd lived with the kind of tension you feel if you walk across a frozen pond whose ice might break at any moment. And as for Pumpkin, I think she'd grown to be dependent on her older sister and felt strangely lost without her.
I'd already become the okiya's principal asset, but even I took some time to weed out all the peculiar habits that had taken root because of Hatsumomo. Every time a man looked at me strangely, I found myself wondering if he'd heard something unkind about me from her, even long after she was gone. Whenever I climbed the stairs to the second floor of the okiya, I still kept my eyes lowered for fear that Hatsumomo would be waiting there on the landing, eager for someone to
abuse. I can't tell you how many times I reached that last step and looked up suddenly with the realization that there was no Hatsumomo, and there never would be again. I knew she was gone, and yet the very emptiness of the hall seemed to suggest something of her presence. Even now, as an older woman, I sometimes lift the brocade cover on the mirror of my makeup stand, and have the briefest flicker of a thought that I may find her there in the glass, smirking at me.
Arthur Golden (Memoirs of a Geisha)
I always felt that someone, a long time ago, organized the affairs of the world into areas that made sense-catagories of stuff that is perfectible, things that fit neatly in perfect bundles. The world of business, for example, is this way-line items, spreadsheets, things that add up, that can be perfected. The legal system-not always perfect, but nonetheless a mind-numbing effort to actually write down all kinds of laws and instructions that cover all aspects of being human, a kind of umbrella code of conduct we should all follow.
Perfection is crucial in building an aircraft, a bridge, or a high-speed train. The code and mathematics residing just below the surface of the Internet is also this way. Things are either perfectly right or they will not work. So much of the world we work and live in is based upon being correct, being perfect.
But after this someone got through organizing everything just perfectly, he (or probably a she) was left with a bunch of stuff that didn't fit anywhere-things in a shoe box that had to go somewhere.
So in desperation this person threw up her arms and said, 'OK! Fine. All the rest of this stuff that isn't perfectible, that doesn't seem to fit anywhere else, will just have to be piled into this last, rather large, tattered box that we can sort of push behind the couch. Maybe later we can come back and figure where it all is supposed to fit in. Let's label the box ART.'
The problem was thankfully never fixed, and in time the box overflowed as more and more art piled up. I think the dilemma exists because art, among all the other tidy categories, most closely resembles what it is like to be human. To be alive. It is our nature to be imperfect. The have uncategorized feelings and emotions. To make or do things that don't sometimes necessarily make sense.
Art is all just perfectly imperfect.
Once the word ART enters the description of what you're up to , it is almost getting a hall pass from perfection. It thankfully releases us from any expectation of perfection.
In relation to my own work not being perfect, I just always point to the tattered box behind the couch and mention the word ART, and people seem to understand and let you off the hook about being perfect a go back to their business.
Brené Brown (Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead)
And so I make my way across the room steadily, carefully. Hands shaking, I pull the string, lifting my blinds. They rise slowly, drawing more moonlight into the room with every inch
And there he is, crouched low on the roof. Same leather jacket. The hair is his, the cheekbones, the perfect nose . . . the eyes: dark and mysterious . . . full of secrets. . . . My heart flutters, body light. I reach out to touch him, thinking he might disappear, my fingers disrupted by the windowpane.
On the other side, Parker lifts his hand and mouths:
I mouth “Hi” back.
He holds up a single finger, signalling me to hold on. He picks up a spiral-bound notebook and flips open the cover, turning the first page to me. I recognize his neat, block print instantly: bold, black Sharpie. I know this is unexpected . . . , I read. He flips the page.
. . . and strange . . .
I lift an eyebrow.
. . . but please hear read me out.
He flips to the next page.
I know I told you I never lied . . .
. . . but that was (obviously) the biggest lie of all. The truth is: I’m a liar.
I lied to myself . . .
. . . and to you.
Parker watches as I read. Our eyes meet, and he flips the page.
But only because I had to.
I wasn’t supposed to fall in love with you, Jaden . . .
. . . but it happened anyway.
I clear my throat, and swallow hard, but it’s squeezed shut again, tight.
And it gets worse.
Not only am I a liar . . .
Selfish enough to want it all.
And I know if I don’t have you . . .
I hold my breath, waiting.
. . . I don’t have anything.
He turns another page, and I read:
I’m not Parker . . .
. . . and I’m not going to give up . . .
. . . until I can prove to you . . .
. . . that you are the only thing that matters. He flips to the next page.
So keep sending me away . . .
. . . but I’ll just keep coming back to you. Again . . .
He flips to the next page.
. . . and again . . .
And the next:
. . . and again.
Goose bumps rise to the surface of my skin. I shiver, hugging myself tightly.
And if you can ever find it in your (heart) to forgive me . . .
There’s a big, black “heart” symbol where the word should be.
I will do everything it takes to make it up to you. He closes the notebook and tosses it beside him. It lands on the roof with a dull thwack. Then, lifting his index finger, he draws an X across his chest. Cross my heart.
I stifle the happy laugh welling inside, hiding the smile as I reach for the metal latch to unlock my window. I slowly, carefully, raise the sash. A burst of fresh honeysuckles saturates the balmy, midnight air, sickeningly sweet, filling the room. I close my eyes, breathing it in, as a thousand sleepless nights melt, slipping away. I gather the lavender satin of my dress in my hand, climb through the open window, and stand tall on the roof, feeling the height, the warmth of the shingles beneath my bare feet, facing Parker. He touches the length of the scar on my forehead with his cool finger, tucks my hair behind my ear, traces the edge of my face with the back of his hand. My eyes close.
“You know you’re beautiful? Even when you cry?”
He smiles, holding my face in his hands, smearing the tears away with his thumbs.
I breathe in, lungs shuddering.
“I’m sorry,” he whispers, black eyes sincere. I swallow. “I know why you had to.”
“Doesn’t make it right.”
“Doesn’t matter anymore,” I say, shaking my head. The moon hangs suspended in the sky, stars twinkling overhead, as he leans down and kisses me softly, lips meeting mine, familiar—lips I imagined, dreamed about, memorized a mil ion hours ago. Then he wraps his arms around me, pulling me into him, quelling every doubt and fear and uncertainty in this one, perfect moment.
Katie Klein (Cross My Heart (Cross My Heart, #1))
No, Pasha,” whispered Alexander. “No.” He felt Pasha’s head. He closed Pasha’s eyes. For a few moments he stood over Pasha, and then he sank to the ground. Wrapping him tightly with the trench coat, Alexander took Pasha’s body into his arms and, cradling him from the cold, closed his own eyes. For the rest of the night Alexander sat on an empty road, his back against the tree, not moving, not opening his eyes, not speaking, holding Tatiana’s brother in his arms. If Ouspensky spoke to him, he did not hear. If he slept, he did not feel it, not the cold air, nor the hard ground, nor the rough bark of the tree against his back, against his head. When morning broke, and gray close light rose over Saxony, Alexander opened his eyes. Ouspensky was sleeping on his side, wrapped in his trench coat next to them. Pasha’s body was rigid, very cold. Alexander got up from under Pasha, washed his own face with whisky, rinsed out his mouth with whisky, and then got his titanium trench tool and started to carve a hole in the ground. Ouspensky woke up, helped him. It took them three hours of scraping at the earth, to make a hole a meter deep. Not deep enough, but it would have to do. Alexander covered Pasha’s face with the trench coat so the earth wouldn’t fall on it. With two small branches and a piece of string, Alexander made a cross and laid it on top of Pasha’s chest, and then they lifted him and lowered him into the hole, and Alexander, his teeth grit the entire time, filled the shallow grave with fresh dirt. On a wide thick branch, he carved out the name PASHA METANOV, and the date, Feb 25, 1945, and tying it to another longer branch made another cross and staked it into the ground. Alexander and Ouspensky
Paullina Simons (Tatiana and Alexander (The Bronze Horseman, #2))
You’re lucky you’re good in
“Oh.” He grabbed at my foot. “I think you keep me around for other reasons.”
I slanted him a look out of the corner of my eye. “Right now, for the life of me I can’t think what those reasons are.”
Braden tugged harder on my foot, raising his fingers towards it. “Take it back or the foot getsit.”
Oh hell no! I yanked at my appendage.
Deaf to my warning, he started to tickle me,his grip tightening as I laughed breathlessly and
kicked out, trying to get free.
He wouldn’t stop. Ruthless!
“Braden,” I panted hysterically, attempting to shove at him with my arms but struggling as he continued his war on my feet. I laughed harder,
ribs aching, and then… horror.
I broke wind.
Braden immediately let go of my feet, his loud, rumbling laugh filling the room, laughter that only deepened when I lost balance, from kicking out
at him and then being abruptly let go, and fell off the couch with an undignified thud.
Mortified as he collapsed against the couch
belly laughing at my fart then fall, I grabbed a cushion and launched it at him from my position on the floor.
Of course this only made the idiot laugh
harder. I warred between feeling humiliation at farting in front of him, something you just didn’t do in
company, and laughing, since his was so
infectious. “Braden!” I whined. “Shut up. It’s not funny,” I huffed, my lips caught in part smile, part
“Oh babe,” he tried to catch his breath, wiping
a tear from the corner of his eye as he grinned
down at me. “That was definitely funny.” He held out a hand to help me up.
I slapped it away. “You’re such an immature a-hole.”
“Hey, I’m not the one who just let off.”
Oh God, it was so awful. I groaned, falling onto my back and covering my eyes with my hands.
“Jocelyn,” I felt his hand on my knee and heard the amusement in his voice. “Babe, why are you so embarrassed? It was just a fart.
Brilliantly timed I might add.”
I sucked in the mortification. “Oh my God, shut up.” He chuckled again and I snapped open my furious eyes. “You’re enjoying this!”
“Well yeah,” he huffed, eyes bright. “I’ve never seen you embarrassed before. Even when I walked in on you naked you gave me attitude and acted like you didn’t care. That you’re
mortified by a fart is really quite adorable.”
“I am not adorable!”
“Oh I think you are.
The one-eyed man stood helplessly by. "I'll help ya if ya want," he said. "Know what that son-of-a-bitch done? He come by an' he got on white pants. An' he says, 'Come on, le's go out to my yacht.' By God, I'll whang him some day!" He breathed heavily. "I ain't been out with a woman sence I los' my eye. An' he says stuff like that." And big tears cut channels in the dirt beside his nose.
Tom said impatiently, "Whyn't you roll on? Got no guards to keep ya here."
"Yeah, that's easy to say. Ain't so easy to get a job - not for a one-eye' man."
Tom turned on him. "Now look-a-here, fella. You got that eye wide open. An' ya dirty, ya stink. Ya jus' askin' for it. Ya like it. Lets ya feel sorry for yaself. 'Course ya can't get no woman with that empty eye flappin' aroun'. Put somepin over it an' wash ya face. You ain't hittin' nobody with no pipe wrench."
"I tell ya, a one-eye' fella got a hard row," the man said. "Can't see stuff the way other fellas can. Can't see how far off a thing is. Ever'thing's jus' flat."
Tom said, "Ya full of crap. Why, I knowed a one-legged whore one time. Think she was takin' two-bits in a alley? No, by God! She's gettin' half a dollar extra. She says, 'How many one-legged women you slep' with? None!' she says. 'O.K.,' she says. 'You got somepin pretty special here, an it's gonna cos' ya half a buck extry.' An' by God, she was gettin' 'em, too, an' the fellas comin' out thinkin' they're pretty lucky. She says she's good luck. An' I knowed a hump-back in - in a place I was. Make his whole livin' lettin' folk rub his hump for luck. Jesus Christ, an' all you got is one eye gone."
The man said stumblingly, "Well, Jesus, ya see somebody edge away from ya, an' it gets into ya."
"Cover it up then, goddamn it. Ya stickin' it out like a cow's ass. Ya like to feel sorry for yaself. There ain't nothin' the matter with ya. Buy yaself some white pants. Ya gettin' drunk and cryin' in ya bed, I bet."
The one-eyed man said softly, "Think - somebody'd like - me?"
"Why, sure," said Tom. "Tell 'em ya dong's growed sence you los' your eye.
John Steinbeck (The Grapes of Wrath)
We carry old secrets too painful to utter, too shameful to acknowledge, too burdensome to bear, of failures we cannot undo, of alienations we regret but cannot fix, of grandiose exhibits we cannot curb. And you know them. You know them all. And so we take a deep sigh in your presence, no longer needing to pretend and cover up and deny. We mostly do not have big sins to confess, only modest shames that do not fit our hoped-for selves. And then we find that your knowing is more powerful than our secrets. You know and do not turn away, and our secrets that seemed too powerful are emptied of strength, secrets that seemed too burdensome are now less severe. We marvel that when you find us out you stay with us, taking us seriously, taking our secrets soberly, but not ultimately, overpowering our little failure with your massive love and abiding patience. We long to be fully, honestly exposed to your gaze of gentleness. In the moment of your knowing we are eased and lightened, and we feel the surge of joy move in our bodies, because we are not ours in cringing but yours in communion. We are yours and find the truth before you makes us free for wonder, love, and praise—and new life.
Walter Brueggemann (Prayers for a Privileged People)
Jack was behind it,waiting, with the corner of his lip pulled up in not quite a smile. "What?" he demanded.
"What what?" I asked.
He held my note up in front of my face. "What do you remember?"
Everything. But I couldn't tell him that. I shrugged and said, "Things." Then I made a move to leave,but Jack's strong arm blocked my way,his hand pressing against the locker behind my back.
"No you don't.You can't leave a note like this"-he waved the paper-"and then say 'things.' I want to know what, exactly, you remember."
People in the hallway stared and I could feel my face going red. Jack noticed, and put his other arm up against the lockers,blocking me in. My pulse went nuts.It had to be visible on my wrists.
Jack's face was inches from mine. His breath was minty, and I could smell the rustic scent of his aftershave,and whatever strong emotion he was feeling, it tasted sweet. I breathed it in, and the inhalation was embarrassingly loud.
His eyes searched mine. "This is the first opening you've given me, and I'm not letting you get out of it." He paused. "What do you remember?"
I looked behind him, at the curious spectators, and squinted my eyes shut, unable to bear the scrutiny anymore.
"Say something,Becks. Say anything."
"You," I said. "I remember you." I kept my eyes shut,and felt his hands drop. He didn't move back.
"What do you remember about me?" There was strong emotion behind his voice. Something he fought to control.
With my eyes closed,I could easily picture the other side of the century.
"I remember the way your hand could cover my entire shoulder. The way your lower lip stuck out when you were working out a problem in your head. And how you flick you ring finger with your thumb when you get impatient."
I opened my eyes,and the words no longer got stuck in my throat on their way out. They flowed. "And when something surprises you and you don't know what to say,you get a tiny wrinkle in between your eyebrows." I reached up to touch the divot,then hesitated and lowered my hand. "It showed on the day the coach told you you'd made first-string quarterback.And it's showing now."
For a moment the space between us held no tension,no questions, no accusations.
Finally he leaned back, a stunned expression on his face. "Where do we go from here?"
"Nowhere,really," I whispered. "It doesn't change anything."
Eyebrows still drawn together, he said, "We'll see." Then he turned and left.
I tucked this moment away.
In the dark,dank world of the Tunnels, I would call upon this memory. And there would be a flicker of candlelight. If only for a moment.
I closed my eyes,as if my eyelids were the levers of a printing press,etching the fibers into my mind.Memories were outside Cole's reach.As long as I held them,memories were mine and mine alone.
Brodi Ashton (Everneath (Everneath, #1))
She's probably just tired of seeing you miserable.Like we all are," I add. "I'm sure...I'm sure she's as crazy about you as ever."
"Hmm." He watches me put away my own shoes and empty the contents of my pockets. "What about you?" he asks, after a minute.
"What about me?"
St. Clair examines his watch. "Sideburns. You'll be seeing him next month."
He's reestablishing...what? The boundary line? That he's taken, and I'm spoken for? Except I'm not. Not really.
But I can't bear to say this now that he's mentioned Ellie. "Yeah,I can't wait to see him again. He's a funny guy, you'd like him.I'm gonna see his band play at Christmas. Toph's a great guy, you'd really like him. Oh. I already said that,didn't I? But you would. He's really...funny."
Shut up,Anna. Shut.Up.
St. Clair unbuckles and rebuckles and unbuckles his watchband.
"I'm beat," I say. And it's the truth. As always, our conversation has exhausted me. I crawl into bed and wonder what he'll do.Lie on my floor? Go back to his room? But he places his watch on my desk and climbs onto my bed. He slides up next to me. He's on top of the covers, and I'm underneath. We're still fully dressed,minus our shoes, and the whole situation is beyond awkward.
He hops up.I'm sure he's about to leave,and I don't know whether to be relieved or disappointed,but...he flips off my light.My room is pitch-black. He shuffles back toward my bed and smacks into it.
"Oof," he says.
"Hey,there's a bed there."
"Thanks for the warning."
"It's freezing in here.Do you have a fan on or something?"
"It's the wind.My window won't shut all the way.I have a towel stuffed under it, but it doesn't really help."
He pats his way around the bed and slides back in. "Ow," he says.
"My belt.Would it be weird..."
I'm thankful he can't see my blush. "Of course not." And I listen to the slap of leather as he pulls it out of his belt loops.He lays it gently on my hardwood floor.
"Um," he says. "Would it be weird-"
"Oh,piss off.I'm not talking trousers. I only want under the blankets. That breeze is horrible." He slides underneath,and now we're lying side by side. In my narrow bed. Funny,but I never imagined my first sleepover with a guy being,well,a sleepover.
"All we need now are Sixteen Candles and a game of Truth or Dare."
He coughs. "Wh-what?"
"The movie,pervert.I was just thinking it's been a while since I've had a sleepover."
A pause. "Oh."
"Your elbow is murdering my back."
"Bollocks.Sorry." He shifts,and then shifts again,and then again,until we're comfortable.One of his legs rests against mine.Despite the two layers of pants between us,I feel naked and vulnerable. He shifts again and now my entire leg, from calf to thigh, rests against his. I smell his hair. Mmm.
I swallow,and it's so loud.He coughs again. I'm trying not to squirm. After what feels like hours but is surely only minutes,his breath slows and his body relaxes.I finally begin to relax, too. I want to memorize his scent and the touch of his skin-one of his arms, now against mine-and the solidness os his body.No matter what happens,I'll remember this for the rest of my life.
I study his profile.His lips,his nose, his eyelashes.He's so beautiful.
Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1))
I put both of my hands on the desk. 'Just tell me why you hate me. Once and for all.'
His long fingers smooth over the wood of Dain's desk. 'You really want honesty?'
'I am the one with the crossbow, not shooting you because you promised me answers. What do you think?'
'Very well.' He fixes me with a spiteful look. 'I hate you because your father loves you even though you're a human brat born to his unfaithful wife, while mine never cared for me, though I am a prince of Faerie. I hate you because you don't have a brother who beats you. And I hate you because Locke used you and your sister to make Nicasia cry after he stole her from me. Besides which, after the tournament, Balekin never failed to throw you in my face as the mortal who could best me.'
'Is that all?' I demand. 'Because it's ridiculous. You can't be jealous of me. You don't have to live at the sufferance of the same person who murdered your parents. You don't have to stay angry because if you don't, there's a bottomless well of fear ready to open up under you.' I stop speaking abruptly, surprised at myself.
I said I wasn't going to be charmed, but I let him trick me in to opening up to him.
As I think that, Cardan's smile turns in to a more familiar sneer. 'Oh, really? I don't know about being angry? I don't know about being afraid? You're not the one bargaining for your life.'
'That's really why you hate me?' I demand. 'Only that? There's no better reason?'
For a moment, I think he's ignoring me, but then I realise he's not answering me because he can't lie and he doesn't want to tell the truth.
'Well?' I say, lifting the crossbow again, glad to have a reason to reassert my position as the person in charge. 'Tell me!'
He leans in and closes his eyes. 'Most of all, I hate you because I think of you. Often. It's disgusting, and I can't stop.'
I am shocked in to silence.
'Maybe you should shoot me after all,' he says, covering his face with one long-fingered hand.
Holly Black (The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air, #1))
It took several minutes before I was strong enough to say more than a few words of welcome to Aurelia. She returned my gratitude by saying, “You both are going to smell horrid, and now I’ll smell too. Honestly, Nic, I’m beginning to wonder what your attraction is to sewage.”
“It’s not what attracts me down here as much as what repels me up there,” I said. Despite being covered in filth I didn’t even want to think about, I felt only happiness for being here now. This was the second time the Cloaca Maxima had saved my life. And much more than the second time that Aurelia had come to save me.
I stood and helped Livia to her feet. She was obviously disgusted by the smells around us, but hid her revulsion as well as anyone could. When she faced Aurelia, I made the introductions.
“Your brother has told me so much about you,” Aurelia said with a polite bow to Livia.
Livia bowed back. “And the same for you. From Nic’s descriptions, I feel as if I already know you.”
“He described me?” Aurelia glanced my way with a broad grin. I felt myself blushing and hoped it wasn’t visible in the torchlight.
“This is a terrible place for such silly talk,” I said. “Let’s go.”
Aurelia and Livia began walking, with me trailing them. “What did Nic say about me?” Aurelia asked.
“That you’re loud and you ask too many questions,” I replied before Livia could speak.
Livia giggled. “No, that wasn’t it.”
Then Aurelia giggled too, which left me thoroughly confused. What did giggling mean anyway? It sounded happy, but it certainly wasn’t making me feel any better. Considering they had just met, what unspoken joke could they already have in common?
Oh. It was me.
Jennifer A. Nielsen (Rise of the Wolf (Mark of the Thief, #2))
There is the type of man who has great contempt for "immediacy," who tries to cultivate his interiority, base his pride on something deeper and inner, create a distance between himself and the average man. Kierkegaard calls this type of man the "introvert." He is a little more concerned with what it means to be a person, with individuality and uniqueness. He enjoys solitude and withdraws periodically to reflect, perhaps to nurse ideas about his secret self, what it might be. This, after all is said and done, is the only real problem of life, the only worthwhile occupation preoccupation of man: What is one's true talent, his secret gift, his authentic vocation? In what way is one truly unique, and how can he express this uniqueness, give it form, dedicate it to something beyond himself? How can the person take his private inner being, the great mystery that he feels at the heart of himself, his emotions, his yearnings, and use them to live more distinctively, to enrich both himself and mankind with the peculiar quality of his talent? In adolescence, most of us throb with this dilemma, expressing it either with words and thoughts or with simple numb pain and longing. But usually life suck us up into standardized activities. The social hero-system into which we are born marks out paths for our heroism, paths to which we conform, to which we shape ourselves so that we can please others, become what they expect us to be. And instead of working our inner secret we gradually cover it over and forget it, while we become purely external men, playing successfully the standardized hero-game into which we happen to fall by accident, by family connection, by reflex patriotism, ro by the simple need to eat and the urge to procreate.
Ernest Becker (The Denial of Death)
This was why love was so dangerous. Love turned the world into a garden, so beguiling it was easy to forget that rose petals sails appeared charmed. They blazed red in the day and silver at night, like a magician’s cloak, hinting at mysteries concealed beneath, which Tella planned to uncover that night.
Drunken laughter floated above her as Tella delved deeper into the ship’s underbelly in search of Nigel the Fortune-teller. Her first evening on the vessel she’d made the mistake of sleeping, not realizing until the following day that Legend’s performers had switched their waking hours to prepare for the next Caraval. They slumbered in the day and woke after sunset.
All Tella had learned her first day aboard La Esmeralda was that Nigel was on the ship, but she had yet to actually see him. The creaking halls beneath decks were like the bridges of Caraval, leading different places at different hours and making it difficult to know who stayed in which room. Tella wondered if Legend had designed it that way, or if it was just the unpredictable nature of magic.
She imagined Legend in his top hat, laughing at the question and at the idea that magic had more control than he did. For many, Legend was the definition of magic.
When she had first arrived on Isla de los Sueños, Tella suspected everyone could be Legend. Julian had so many secrets that she’d questioned if Legend’s identity was one of them, up until he’d briefly died. Caspar, with his sparkling eyes and rich laugh, had played the role of Legend in the last game, and at times he’d been so convincing Tella wondered if he was actually acting. At first sight, Dante, who was almost too beautiful to be real, looked like the Legend she’d always imagined. Tella could picture Dante’s wide shoulders filling out a black tailcoat while a velvet top hat shadowed his head. But the more Tella thought about Legend, the more she wondered if he even ever wore a top hat. If maybe the symbol was another thing to throw people off. Perhaps Legend was more magic than man and Tella had never met him in the flesh at all.
The boat rocked and an actual laugh pierced the quiet.
The laughter ceased but the air in the thin corridor shifted. What had smelled of salt and wood and damp turned thick and velvet-sweet. The scent of roses.
Tella’s skin prickled; gooseflesh rose on her bare arms.
At her feet a puddle of petals formed a seductive trail of red.
Tella might not have known Legend’s true name, but she knew he favored red and roses and games.
Was this his way of toying with her? Did he know what she was up to?
The bumps on her arms crawled up to her neck and into her scalp as her newest pair of slippers crushed the tender petals. If Legend knew what she was after, Tella couldn’t imagine he would guide her in the correct direction, and yet the trail of petals was too tempting to avoid. They led to a door that glowed copper around the edges.
She turned the knob.
And her world transformed into a garden, a paradise made of blossoming flowers and bewitching romance. The walls were formed of moonlight. The ceiling was made of roses that dripped down toward the table in the center of the room, covered with plates of cakes and candlelight and sparkling honey wine.
But none of it was for Tella.
It was all for Scarlett. Tella had stumbled into her sister’s love story and it was so romantic it was painful to watch.
Scarlett stood across the chamber. Her full ruby gown bloomed brighter than any flowers, and her glowing skin rivaled the moon as she gazed up at Julian.
They touched nothing except each other. While Scarlett pressed her lips to Julian’s, his arms wrapped around her as if he’d found the one thing he never wanted to let go of.
This was why love was so dangerous. Love turned the world into a garden, so beguiling it was easy to forget that rose petals were as ephemeral as feelings, eventually they would wilt and die, leaving nothing but the thorns.
Stephanie Garber (Legendary (Caraval, #2))
Brushing through my hair was usually bad enough after a shower. Letting it dry without brushing it was a terrible mistake. It was full of painful tangles, and I hadn’t made much progress when the door at the end of the veranda opened and Ren walked out. I squeaked in alarm and hid behind my hair. Perfect, Kells.
He was still barefoot, but had on khaki pants and a sky-blue button-down shirt that matched his eyes. The effect was magnetic, and here I was in flannel pajamas with giant tumbleweed hair.
He sat across from me and said, “Good evening, Kells. Did you sleep well?”
“Uh, yes. Did you?”
He grinned a dazzling white smile and nodded his head slightly. “Are you having trouble?” he asked and watched my detangling progress with an amused expression.
“Nope. I’ve got it all under control.”
I wanted to divert his attention away from my hair, so I said, “How’s your back and your, um, arm, I guess it would be?”
He smiled. “They’re completely fine. Thank you for asking.”
“Ren, why aren’t you wearing white? That’s all I’ve ever seen you wear. Is it because your white shirt was torn?”
He responded, “No, I just wanted to wear something different. Actually, when I change to a tiger and back, my white clothes reappear. If I changed to a tiger now and then switch back to a man again, my current clothes would be replaced with my old white ones.”
“Would they still be torn and bloody?”
“No. When I reappear, they’re clean and whole again.”
“Hah. Lucky for you. It would be pretty awkward if you ended up naked every time you changed.”
I bit my tongue as soon as the words came out and blushed a brilliant shade of red. Nice, Kells. Way to go. I covered up my verbal blunder by tugging my hair in front of my face and yanking through the tangles.
He grinned. “Yes. Lucky for me.”
I tugged the brush through my hair and winced. “That brings up another question.”
Ren rose and took the brush out of my hand.
“What…what are you doing?” I stammered.
“Relax. You’re too edgy.”
He had no idea.
Moving behind me, Ren picked up a section of my hair and started gently brushing through it. I was nervous at first, but his hands in my hair were so warm and soothing that I soon relaxed in the chair, closed my eyes, and leaned my head back.
After a minute of brushing, he pulled a lock away from my neck, leaned down by my ear, and whispered, “What was it you wanted to ask me?”
“Umm…what?” I mumbled disconcertingly.
“You wanted to ask me a question.”
“Oh, right. It was, uh-that feels nice.”
Did I say that out loud?
Ren laughed softly. “That’s not a question.”
Apparently, I did.
“Was it something about me changing into a tiger?”
“Oh, yes. I remember now. You can change back a forth several times per day, right? Is there a limit?”
“No. There’s no limit as long as I don’t remain human for more than a total of twenty-four minutes in a twenty-four hour day.” He moved to another section of hair. “Do you have any more questions, sundari?
Colleen Houck (Tiger's Curse (The Tiger Saga, #1))
But there comes a point when your partner behaves in ways that fail to meet your needs, or rather those of your ego. The feelings of fear, pain, and lack that are an intrinsic part of egoic consciousness but had been covered up by the “love relationship” now resurface. Just as with every other addiction, you are on a high when the drug is available, but invariably there comes a time when the drug no longer works for you. When those painful feelings reappear, you feel them even more strongly than before, and what is more, you now perceive your partner as the cause of those feelings. This means that you project them outward and attack the other with all the savage violence that is part of your pain. This attack may awaken the partner's own pain, and he or she may counter your attack. At this point, the ego is still unconsciously hoping that its attack or its attempts at manipulation will be sufficient punishment to induce your partner to change their behavior, so that it can use them again as a cover-up for your pain. Every addiction arises from an unconscious refusal to face and move through your own pain. Every addiction starts with pain and ends with pain. Whatever the substance you are addicted to — alcohol, food, legal or illegal drugs, or a person — you are using something or somebody to cover up your pain. That is why, after the initial euphoria has passed, there is so much unhappiness, so much pain in intimate relationships. They do not cause pain and unhappiness. They bring out the pain and unhappiness that is already in you. Every addiction does that. Every addiction reaches a point where it does not work for you anymore, and then you feel the pain more intensely than ever. This is one reason why most people are always trying to escape from the present moment and are seeking some kind of salvation in the future. The first thing that they might encounter if they focused their attention on the Now is their own pain, and this is what they fear. If they only knew how easy it is to access in the Now the power of presence that dissolves the past and its pain, the reality that dissolves the illusion. If they only knew how close they are to their own reality, how close to God.
Eckhart Tolle (Practicing the Power of Now)
She felt him relax and his voice softened. “Is that what this is all about? You feel like you can’t talk to me anymore? We haven’t changed; we’re still the same people.”
She slipped her hands beneath the front of his shirt, slowly running her fingertips over his chest and back down to his waist. He turned in her arms and smiled, but his grin was filled with mocking suspicion. “Are you trying to distract me, Violet Ambrose?”
“I guess you’re smarter than you look,” she teased as he pushed her backward so that they both fell on her bed.
“And you are not as funny as you think you are.” His mouth hovered over hers, his arms tightening, crushing her against him. Violet giggled and tried to squirm free, but Jay wouldn’t let her. He kissed her throat, his lips teasing her until it wasn’t his grip that made it hard for Violet to breathe.
“Oh, and Violet,” he whispered against her ear, his breath tickling her cheek, “I’m still your best friend. Don’t ever forget it.” His words were fervent and touching.
Violet tried to think of a response that made sense, something appropriate, but all she could manage was: “Please. Don’t stop.”
She didn’t mind begging if it meant getting her way.
Apparently that was enough to satisfy Jay, and he kissed her possessively. Thoroughly. Deeply.
He eased her back until she was lying against the pillows, and she waited for him to stop, to tell her that they’d gone far enough for tonight. But she didn’t want him to. She wanted him to keep going. She wanted him to touch her, to kiss her, to explore her. Her body ached for it. She reached for him, clinging so tightly that her fingers hurt. Everything inside of her hurt.
Jay settled over her, covering her with his body, reacting to her. Violet wrapped her legs around him, pulling his hip closer, telling him with her every movement that she wanted him, that she wanted this. Now.
“Are you sure?” Jay asked into the warm breath between them, barely lifting his mouth from hers.
She nodded, but when she tried to speak, her voice trembled. She hoped he didn’t read it wrong. “Of course I am.” She was nervous and terrified and thrilled all at the same time.
He smiled against her mouth, still kissing her, and she melted into him, unable to stop her heart from thundering.
He reached around for his wallet. “I have a condom.” His voice was rough.
Violet smiled. She’d been waiting for this moment for far too long not to be prepared, but she was happy to hear that he’d been considering it seriously also. “Me too,” she told him, reaching into her nightstand drawer and pulling out a handful of them. “I knew you’d give in.”
He groaned, his lips moving to her neck as he tugged at his shirt and pulled it over his head.
Violet thought he was beautiful. He was right for her; he always had been.
And as he slowly slid her shirt up, his fingertips stroking her bare skin and making goose bumps prickle in the wake of his touch, she wondered why it had taken them so long to get to this place.
Kimberly Derting (Desires of the Dead (The Body Finder, #2))
I released a breath I didn’t remember holding. Turned to Ben.
Found him looking at me, face inches from mine on Sewee’s deck.
Panic flared, white hot, paralyzing me as I lay beside him.
Our gazes met. I saw fear in his dark brown eyes. Indecision. Doubt.
Ben went rigid, his chest rising and falling like a bellows. Then something changed. His face relaxed, a small smile playing on his lips.
Before I could blink, his mouth covered mine.
We shared a breath. A tingle ran my spine.
Then I pulled back, breathing hard, unsure what either my mind or body were doing.
Ben’s unsure look returned. Then vanished.
He pulled me near again, his lips melting into mine. Strong, calloused fingers stroked the side of my face. His smell enveloped me. Earthy. Masculine. Ben.
Fire rolled through my body.
So this is what it’s like.
I broke away again, gasping slightly for breath. Reality crashed home.
I sat up and scooted a few feet away, rubbing my face with both hands. What was I doing?
His hand rose to cut me off. He leaned against the bench, face suddenly serious. “I’m not going to pretend anymore. One way or another, I’m going to say how I feel.” Ben snorted softly. “Make my case.”
We sat still in the darkness, Sewee rocking gently, the scene dream-like and surreal.
“You don’t have to make a case.” I stared at my shoes, had no idea where I wanted this conversation to go. “It’s just, things are—”
Our heads whipped in the voice’s direction. Ben scrambled to a crouch, scanning the silent bulk of Tern Point, as if just now recalling we were adrift at sea.
The voice called down again, suddenly familiar. “What, are you guys paddling around the island? I don’t have a boat license, but that seems dumb.”
“Shut up, Hi!” Ben shouted, with more heat than was necessary. Scowling, he slid behind the controls and fired the engine.
I scurried to the bow, as far from the captain’s chair as I could manage and stay dry.
You’ve done it now, Tory Brennan. Better hope there’s a life preserver somewhere.
A glance back. Ben was watching me, looking for all the world like he had more to say.
I quickly turned away.
Nope. Nope nope nope.
I needed some time to think about this one. Perhaps a decade?
“Where are we?” I asked, changing the subject.
Ben must’ve sensed that my “personal” shop was closed for business.
Kathy Reichs (Terminal (Virals, #5))
At first Alexander could not believe it was his Tania. He blinked and tried to refocus his eyes. She was walking around the table, gesturing, showing, leaning forward, bending over. At one point she straightened out and wiped her forehead. She was wearing a short-sleeved yellow peasant dress. She was barefoot, and her slender legs were exposed above her knee. Her bare arms were lightly tanned. Her blonde hair looked bleached by the sun and was parted into two shoulder-length braids tucked behind her ears. Even from a distance he could see the summer freckles on her nose. She was achingly beautiful. And alive. Alexander closed his eyes, then opened them again. She was still there, bending over the boy’s work. She said something, everyone laughed loudly, and Alexander watched as the boy’s arm touched Tatiana’s back. Tatiana smiled. Her white teeth sparkled like the rest of her. Alexander didn’t know what to do. She was alive, that was obvious. Then why hadn’t she written him? And where was Dasha? Alexander couldn’t very well continue to stand under a lilac tree. He went back out onto the main road, took a deep breath, stubbed out his cigarette, and walked toward the square, never taking his eyes off her braids. His heart was thundering in his chest, as if he were going into battle. Tatiana looked up, saw him, and covered her face with her hands. Alexander watched everyone get up and rush to her, the old ladies showing unexpected agility and speed. She pushed them all away, pushed the table away, pushed the bench away, and ran to him. Alexander was paralyzed by his emotion. He wanted to smile, but he thought any second he was going to fall to his knees and cry. He dropped all his gear, including his rifle. God, he thought, in a second I’m going to feel her. And that’s when he smiled. Tatiana sprang into his open arms, and Alexander, lifting her off her feet with the force of his embrace, couldn’t hug her tight enough, couldn’t breathe in enough of her. She flung her arms around his neck, burying her face in his bearded cheek. Dry sobs racked her entire body. She was heavier than the last time he felt her in all her clothes as he lifted her into the Lake Ladoga truck. She, with her boots, her clothes, coats, and coverings, had not weighed what she weighed now. She smelled incredible. She smelled of soap and sunshine and caramelized sugar. She felt incredible. Holding her to him, Alexander rubbed his face into her braids, murmuring a few pointless words. “Shh, shh…come on, now, shh, Tatia. Please…” His voice broke. “Oh, Alexander,” Tatiana said softly into his neck. She was clutching the back of his head. “You’re alive. Thank God.” “Oh, Tatiana,” Alexander said, hugging her tighter, if that were possible, his arms swaddling her summer body. “You’re alive. Thank God.” His hands ran up to her neck and down to the small of her back. Her dress was made of very thin cotton. He could almost feel her skin through it. She felt very soft. Finally he let her feet touch the ground. Tatiana looked up at him. His hands remained around her little waist. He wasn’t letting go of her. Was she always this tiny, standing barefoot in front of him? “I like your beard,” Tatiana said, smiling shyly and touching his face. “I love your hair,” Alexander said, pulling on a braid and smiling back. “You’re messy…” He looked her over. “And you’re stunning.” He could not take his eyes off her glorious, eager, vivid lips. They were the color of July tomatoes— He bent to her—
I'm just asking you to accept that there are some people who will go to extraordinary lengths to cover up the facts that they are abusing children.
What words are there to describe what happened to me, what was done to me? Some call it ritual abuse, others call it organised abuse. There are those that call it satanic. I've heard all the phrases, not just in relation to me, but also with regard to those I work with and try to help. Do you know what I think? It doesn't matter how you dress it up, it doesn't matter what label you put on it. It is abuse, pure and simple. It is adults abusing children. It is adults deciding - actually making a conscious decision, a conscious choices that what they want, what they convince themselves they need, is more important than anything else; certainly more important than the safety or feelings or sanity of a child.
However, there can be differences which are layered on top of that abuse. I'm not saying that some abuse is worse than others, or that someone 'wins' the competition to have the worst abuse inflicted on them, but ritual and organised abuse is at the extreme end of the spectrum. If we try to think of a continuum where there are lots of different things imposed on children (or, for that matter, anyone who is forced into these things — and that force can take many forms, it can be threats and promises, as well as kicks and punches), then ritual and organised abuse is intense and complicated.
It often involves multiple abusers of both sexes. There can be extreme violence, mind control, systematic torture and even, in some cases, a complex belief system which is sometimes described as religion. I say 'described as' religion because, to me, I think that when this aspect is involved, it is window dressing. I'm not religious. I cried many times for God to save me. I was always ignored — how could I believe? However, I think that ritual abusers who do use religious imagery or 'beliefs' are doing so to justify it all to themselves, or to confuse the victim, or to hide their activities.
Ritual abuse is highly organised and, obviously, secretive. It is often linked with other major crimes such as child pornography, child prostitution, the drugs industry, trafficking, and many other illegal and heinous activities. Ritual abuse is organised sexual, physical and psychological abuse, which can be systematic and sustained over a long period of time. It involves the use of rituals - things which the abusers 'need' to do, or 'need' to have in place - but it doesn't have to have a belief system. There doesn't have to be God or the Devil, or any other deity for it to be considered 'ritual'. It involves using patterns of learning and development to keep the abuse going and to make sure the child stays quiet.
Laurie Matthew (Groomed)
Jay showed up after school with a bouquet of flowers and an armful of DVDs, although Violet couldn’t have cared less about either . . . he was all she wanted. She couldn’t help the electric thrill of excitement she felt when he came strolling in, grinning at her foolishly as if he hadn’t seen her in weeks rather than hours. He scooped her up from the couch and dropped her onto his lap as he sat down where she had been just a moment before. He was careful to arrange her ankle on a neatly stacked pile of pillows beside him.
He stubbornly refused to hide his affection for her, and if Violet hadn’t known better she would have sword that he was going out of his way to make her self-conscious in her own home. Fortunately her parents were giving them some space for the time being, and they were left by themselves most of the time.
“Did you miss me?” he asked arrogantly as he gently brushed his lips over hers, not bothering to wait for an answer.
She smiled while she kissed him back, loving the topsy-turvy feeling that her stomach always got when he was so close to her. She wound her arms around his neck, forgetting that she was in the middle of the family room and not hidden away in the privacy of her bedroom.
He pulled away from her, suddenly serious. “You know, we didn’t get much time alone yesterday. And I didn’t get a chance to tell you . . .”
Violet was mesmerized by the thick timbre of his deep voice. She barely heard his words but rather concentrated on the fluid masculinity of his tone.
“I feel like I’ve waited too long to finally have you, and then yesterday . . . when . . .” He stopped, seemingly at a loss, and he tried another approach. His hand stroked her cheek, igniting a response from deep within her. “I can’t imagine living without you,” he said, tenderly kissing her forehead, his warm breath fanning her brow. He paused thoughtfully for a moment before speaking again. “I love you, Violet. More than I ever could have imagined. And I don’t want to lose you . . . I can’t lose you.”
It was her turn to look arrogant as she glanced up at him. “I know,” she stated smugly, shrugging her shoulder.
He shoved her playfully but held on to her tightly so that she never really went anywhere. “What do you mean, ‘I know’? What kind of response is that?” His righteous indignation bordered on comical. He pulled her down into his arms so that his face was directly above hers. “Say it!” he commanded.
She shook her head, pretending not to understand him. “What? What do you want me to say?” But then she giggled and ruined her baffled façade.
He teased her with his mouth, leaning down to kiss her and then pulling away before his lips ever reached hers. He nuzzled her neck tantalizingly, only to stop once she responded. She wrapped her arms around his neck, trying to pull him closer, frustrated by his mocking ambush of her senses.
“Sat it,” he whispered, his breath warm against her neck.
She groaned, wanting him to put her out of her misery. “I love you too,” she rasped as she clung to him. “I love you so much . . .”
His mouth moved to cover hers in an exhausting kiss that left them both breathless and craving more than they could have. Violet collapsed into his arms, gathering her wits and hoping that no one walking in on them anytime soon.
Kimberly Derting (The Body Finder (The Body Finder, #1))
Vulnerability is usually attacked, not with fists but with shaming. Many children learn quickly to cover up any signs of weakness, sensitivity, and fragility, as well as alarm, fear, eagerness, neediness, or even curiosity. Above all, they must never disclose that the teasing has hit its mark. Carl Jung explained that we tend to attack in others what we are most uncomfortable with in ourselves. When vulnerability is the enemy, it is attacked wherever it is perceived, even in a best friend.
Signs of alarm may provoke verbal taunts such as “fraidy cat” or “chicken.” Tears evoke ridicule. Expressions of curiosity can precipitate the rolling of eyes and accusations of being weird or nerdy. Manifestations of tenderness can result in incessant teasing. Revealing that something caused hurt or really caring about something is risky around someone uncomfortable with his vulnerability. In the company of the desensitized, any show of emotional openness is likely to be targeted.
The vulnerability engendered by peer orientation can be overwhelming even when children are not hurting one another. This vulnerability is built into the highly insecure nature of peer-oriented relationships. Vulnerability does not have to do only with what is happening but with what could happen — with the inherent insecurity of attachment. What we have, we can lose, and the greater the value of what we have, the greater the potential loss. We may be able to achieve closeness in a relationship, but we cannot secure it in the sense of holding on to it — not like securing a rope or a boat or a fixed interest-bearing government bond.
One has very little control over what happens in a relationship, whether we will still be wanted and loved tomorrow. Although the possibility of loss is present in any relationship, we parents strive to give our children what they are constitutionally unable to give to one another: a connection that is not based on their pleasing us, making us feel good, or reciprocating in any way. In other words, we offer our children precisely what is missing in peer attachments: unconditional acceptance.
Gabor Maté (Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers)
I wish you’d told me this before.”
“It wouldn’t have changed anything.”
“Maybe not. But talking about wounds can help heal them.”
“You don’t talk about yours,” she pointed out.
He sat down on the sofa facing her and leaned forward. “But I do,” he said seriously. “I talk to you. I’ve never told anyone else about the way my father treated us. That’s a deeply personal thing. I don’t share it. I can’t share it with anyone but you.”
“I’m part of your life,” she said heavily, smoothing her hair back again. “Neither of us can help that. You were my comfort when Mama died, my very salvation when my stepfather hurt me. But I can’t expect you to go on taking care of me. I’m twenty-five years old, Tate. I have to let you go.”
“No, you don’t.” He caught her wrists and pulled her closer. He was more solemn than she’d ever seen him. “I’m tired of fighting it. Let’s find out how deep your scars ago. Come to bed with me, Cecily. I know enough to make it easy for you.”
She stared at him blankly. “Tate…” She touched his lean cheek hesitantly. He was offering her paradise, if she could face her own demons in bed with him. “This will only make things worse, whatever happens.”
“You want me,” he said gently. “And I want you. Let’s get rid of the ghosts. If you can get past the fear, I won’t have anyone else from now on except you. I’ll come to you when I’m happy, when I’m sad, when the world falls on me. I’ll lie in your arms and comfort you when you’re sad, when you’re frightened. You can come to me when you need to be held, when you need me. I’ll cherish you.”
“And you’ll make sure I never get pregnant.”
His face tautened. “You know how I feel about. I’ve never made a secret of it. I won’t compromise on that issue, ever.”
She touched his long hair, thinking how beautiful he was, how beloved. Could she live with only a part of him, watch him leave her one day to marry another woman? If he never knew the truth about his father, he might do that. She couldn’t tell him about Matt Holden, even to insure her own happiness.
He glanced at her, puzzled by the expression on her face. “I’ll be careful,” he said. “And very slow. I won’t hurt you, in any way.”
“Colby might come back…”
He shook his head. “No. He won’t.” He stood up, pulling her with him. He saw the faint indecision in her face. “I won’t ask for more than you can give me,” he said quietly. “If you only want to lie in my arms and be kissed, that’s what we’ll do.”
She looked up into his dark eyes and an unsteady sigh passed her lips. “I would give…anything…to let you love me,” she said huskily. “For eight long years…!”
His mouth covered the painful words, stilling them.
Diana Palmer (Paper Rose (Hutton & Co. #2))
Fellow-citizens, pardon me, allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here to-day? What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us? And am I, therefore, called upon to bring our humble offering to the national altar, and to confess the benefits and express devout gratitude for the blessings resulting from your independence to us?
I am not included within the pale of this glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you this day rejoice are not enjoyed in common. The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity, and independence bequeathed by your fathers is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought life and healing to you has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak today?
What, to the American slave, is your Fourth of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days of the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is a constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are, to Him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy—a thin veil to cover up crimes that would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation of the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of these United States at this very hour.
At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. O! had I the ability, and could reach the nation’s ear, I would, to-day, pour forth a stream, a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, the earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and the crimes against God and man must be proclaimed and denounced.
Frederick Douglass (Frederick Douglass: Selected Speeches and Writings)
And now, dear Emma, I'll show you just what you have to be wary of," he said, and his head moved down, blotting out the light.
This was no slow, sensuous caress of mouth and lip. This was no chaste salute, nor was it the wet awkwardness of an untried boy or a randy old man. He opened his mouth over hers and kissed her, using his tongue, his teeth, and all the clever weapons he had in his arsenal.
She told herself she was being kissed by a practiced rake. She told herself it meant nothing, it was a trick, an act, a small skill that anyone could acquire. She told herself that as her body trembled and melted beneath him, as her mouth opened to his skillful insistence. She told herself it meant absolutely nothing as his tongue pushed into her mouth, and the moan that came from deep inside her had to be one of displeasure, didn't it?
It wasn't one kiss, it was twenty, it was a long series of unending kisses, leading one into another, so that she barely had time to begin to regain her sanity when he stripped it away once more. He kissed her eyelids, the side of her mouth, the beating pulse at the base of her neck. He kissed her nose and her chin, he bit her earlobe, and then he covered her mouth once more, kissing her with a devastating thoroughness that had her damp and trembling in his arms.
His hands were on her petticoats, slowly drawing them up her long legs, and her hips cradled him. He was hard against her, she belatedly recognized that fact, and the knowledge panicked her.e wanted her, his body wanted to claim hers, and there was no way she could stop him. No way, God help her, that she wanted to stop him.
He broke the kiss, rising up over her as she lay on the bed, staring down at her with a hooded expression in his eyes. His mouth was wet from hers, and his breathing was slightly labored. It would have been the only sign of his arousal, had it not been for the heat pressing against her hips.
"Do you want me, Emma?" he murmured, his voice low and insistent. "You don't have to say a word. Just put your mouth against mine."
Oh, God, she did want him, as terrifying as that notion was. She wanted to touch him, to feel his skin against hers, and she felt a dark burning deep inside her that she knew only he could assuage. She wanted his mouth, she wanted his heart, she wanted his soul.
Anne Stuart (To Love a Dark Lord)
The English word Atonement comes from the ancient Hebrew word kaphar, which means to cover. When Adam and Eve partook of the fruit and discovered their nakedness in the Garden of Eden, God sent Jesus to make coats of skins to cover them. Coats of skins don’t grow on trees. They had to be made from an animal, which meant an animal had to be killed. Perhaps that was the very first animal sacrifice. Because of that sacrifice, Adam and Eve were covered physically. In the same way, through Jesus’ sacrifice we are also covered emotionally and spiritually. When Adam and Eve left the garden, the only things they could take to remind them of Eden were the coats of skins. The one physical thing we take with us out of the temple to remind us of that heavenly place is a similar covering. The garment reminds us of our covenants, protects us, and even promotes modesty. However, it is also a powerful and personal symbol of the Atonement—a continuous reminder both night and day that because of Jesus’ sacrifice, we are covered. (I am indebted to Guinevere Woolstenhulme, a religion teacher at BYU, for insights about kaphar.)
Jesus covers us (see Alma 7) when we feel worthless and inadequate. Christ referred to himself as “Alpha and Omega” (3 Nephi 9:18). Alpha and omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. Christ is surely the beginning and the end. Those who study statistics learn that the letter alpha is used to represent the level of significance in a research study. Jesus is also the one who gives value and significance to everything. Robert L. Millet writes, “In a world that offers flimsy and fleeting remedies for mortal despair, Jesus comes to us in our moments of need with a ‘more excellent hope’ (Ether 12:32)” (Grace Works, 62).
Jesus covers us when we feel lost and discouraged. Christ referred to Himself as the “light” (3 Nephi 18:16). He doesn’t always clear the path, but He does illuminate it. Along with being the light, He also lightens our loads. “For my yoke is easy,” He said, “and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:30). He doesn’t always take burdens away from us, but He strengthens us for the task of carrying them and promises they will be for our good.
Jesus covers us when we feel abused and hurt. Joseph Smith taught that because Christ met the demands of justice, all injustices will be made right for the faithful in the eternal scheme of things (see Teachings, 296). Marie K. Hafen has said, “The gospel of Jesus Christ was not given us to prevent our pain. The gospel was given us to heal our pain” (“Eve Heard All These Things,” 27).
Jesus covers us when we feel defenseless and abandoned. Christ referred to Himself as our “advocate” (D&C 29:5): one who believes in us and stands up to defend us. We read, “The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler” (Psalm 18:2). A buckler is a shield used to divert blows. Jesus doesn’t always protect us from unpleasant consequences of illness or the choices of others, since they are all part of what we are here on earth to experience. However, He does shield us from fear in those dark times and delivers us from having to face those difficulties alone. …
We’ve already learned that the Hebrew word that is translated into English as Atonement means “to cover.” In Arabic or Aramaic, the verb meaning to atone is kafat, which means “to embrace.” Not only can we be covered, helped, and comforted by the Savior, but we can be “encircled about eternally in the arms of his love” (2 Nephi 1:15). We can be “clasped in the arms of Jesus” (Mormon 5:11). In our day the Savior has said, “Be faithful and diligent in keeping the commandments of God, and I will encircle thee in the arms of my love” (D&C 6:20).
(Brad Wilcox, The Continuous Atonement, pp. 47-49, 60).
His breath fell in a warm, even rhythm on the curve of her cheek. “Some people think of the bee as a sacred insect,” he said. “It’s a symbol of reincarnation.”
“I don’t believe in reincarnation,” she muttered.
There was a smile in his voice. “What a surprise. At the very least, the bees’ presence in your home is a sign of good things to come.”
Her voice was buried in the fine wool of his coat. “Wh-what does it mean if there are thousands of bees in one’s home?”
He shifted her higher in his arms, his lips curving gently against the cold rim of her ear. “Probably that we’ll have plenty of honey for teatime. We’re going through the doorway now. In a moment I’m going to set you on your feet.”
Amelia kept her face against him, her fingertips digging into the layers of his clothes. “Are they following?”
“No. They want to stay near the hive. Their main concern is to protect the queen from predators.”
“She has nothing to fear from me!”
Laughter rustled in his throat. With extreme care, he lowered Amelia’s feet to the floor. Keeping one arm around her, he reached with the other to close the door. “There. We’re out of the room. You’re safe.” His hand passed over her hair. “You can open your eyes now.”
Clutching the lapels of his coat, Amelia stood and waited for a feeling of relief that didn’t come. Her heart was racing too hard, too fast. Her chest ached from the strain of her breathing. Her lashes lifted, but all she could see was a shower of sparks.
“Amelia … easy. You’re all right.” His hands chased the shivers that ran up and down her back. “Slow down, sweetheart.”
She couldn’t. Her lungs were about to burst. No matter how hard she worked, she couldn’t get enough air. Bees … the sound of buzzing was still in her ears. She heard his voice as if from a great distance, and she felt his arms go around her again as she sank into layers of gray softness.
After what could have been a minute or an hour, pleasant sensations filtered through the haze. A tender pressure moved over her forehead. The gentle brushes touched her eyelids, slid to her cheeks. Strong arms held her against a comfortingly hard surface, while a clean, salt-edged scent filled her nostrils. Her lashes fluttered, and she turned into the warmth with confused pleasure.
“There you are,” came a low murmur.
Opening her eyes, Amelia saw Cam Rohan’s face above her. They were on the hallway floor—he was holding her in his lap. As if the situation weren’t mortifying enough, the front of her bodice was gaping, and her corset was unhooked. Only her crumpled chemise was left to cover her chest.
Amelia stiffened. Until that moment she had never known there was a feeling beyond embarrassment, that made one wish one could crumble into a pile of ashes. “My … my dress…”
“You weren’t breathing well. I thought it best to loosen your corset.”
“I’ve never fainted before,” she said groggily, struggling to sit up.
“You were frightened.” His hand came to the center of her chest, gently pressing her back down. “Rest another minute.” His gaze moved over her wan features. “I think we can conclude you’re not fond of bees.
Lisa Kleypas (Mine Till Midnight (The Hathaways, #1))
Before she could say anything more, Sabella swung around at the sound of Noah’s Harley purring to life behind the garage.
God. He was dressed in snug jeans and riding chaps. A snug dark T-shirt covered his upper body, conformed to it. And he was riding her way.
“Is there anything sexier than a man in riding chaps riding a Harley?” Kira asked behind her. “It makes a woman simply want to melt.”
And Sabella was melting. She watched as he pulled around the side of the garage then took the gravel road that led to the back of the house. The sound of the Harley purred closer, throbbing, building the excitement inside her.
“I think it’s time for me to leave,” Kira said with a light laugh. “Don’t bother to see me out.”
Sabella didn’t. She listened as the Harley drew into the graveled lot behind the house and moved to the back door. She opened it, stepping out on the back deck as he swung his legs over the cycle and strode toward her.
That long-legged lean walk. It made her mouth water. Made her heart throb in her throat as hunger began to race through her.
“The spa treated you well,” he announced as he paused at the bottom of the steps and stared back at her. “Feel like messing your hair up and going out this evening? We could have dinner in town. Ride around a little bit.”
She hadn’t ridden on a motorcycle since she was a teenager. She glanced at the cycle, then back to Noah.
“I’d need to change clothes.”
His gaze flickered over her short jeans skirt, her T-shirt.
“That would be a damned shame too,” he stated. “I have to say, Ms. Malone, you have some beautiful legs there.”
No one had ever been as charming as Nathan. She remembered when they were dating, how he would just show up, out of the blue, driving that monster pickup of his and grinning like a rogue when he picked her up. He’d been the epitome of a bad boy, and he had been all hers. He was still all hers.
“Bare legs and motorcycles don’t exactly go together,” she pointed out.
He nodded soberly, though his eyes had a wicked glint to them. “This is a fact, beautiful. And pretty legs like that, we wouldn’t want to risk.”
She leaned against the porch post and stared back at him. “I have a pickup, you know.” She propped one hand on her hip and stared back at him.
“Really?” Was that avarice she saw glinting in his eyes, or for just the slightest second, pure, unadulterated joy at the mention of that damned pickup?
He looked around. “I haven’t seen a pickup.”
“It’s in the garage,” she told him carelessly. “A big black monster with bench seats. Four-by-four gas-guzzling alpha-male steel and chrome.”
He grinned. He was so proud of that damned pickup.
“Where did something so little come up with a truck that big?” he teased her then.
She shrugged. “It belonged to my husband. Now, it belongs to me.” That last statement had his gaze sharpening.
“You drive it?”
“All the time,” she lied, tormenting him. “I don’t have to worry about pinging it now that my husband is gone. He didn’t like pings.”
Did he swallow tighter?
“It’s pinged then?”
She snorted. “Not hardly. Do you want to drive the monster or question me about it? Or I could change into jeans and we could ride your cycle. Which is it?”
Which was it? Noah stared back at her, barely able to contain his shock that she had kept the pickup. He knew for a fact there were times the payments on the house and garage had gone unpaid—his “death” benefits hadn’t been nearly enough—almost risking her loss of both during those first months of his “death.” Knowing she had held on to that damned truck filled him with more pleasure than he could express. Knowing she was going to let someone who wasn’t her husband drive it filled him with horror.
The contradictor feelings clashed inside him, and he promised himself he was going to spank her for this.
Lora Leigh (Wild Card (Elite Ops, #1))
You know, I still feel in my wrists certain echoes of the pram-pusher’s knack, such as, for example, the glib downward pressure one applied to the handle in order to have the carriage tip up and climb the curb. First came an elaborate mouse-gray vehicle of Belgian make, with fat autoid tires and luxurious springs, so large that it could not enter our puny elevator. It rolled on sidewalks in a slow stately mystery, with the trapped baby inside lying supine, well covered with down, silk and fur; only his eyes moved, warily, and sometimes they turned upward with one swift sweep of their showy lashes to follow the receding of branch-patterned blueness that flowed away from the edge of the half-cocked hood of the carriage, and presently he would dart a suspicious glance at my face to see if the teasing trees and sky did not belong, perhaps to the same order of things as did rattles and parental humor. There followed a lighter carriage, and in this, as he spun along, he would tend to rise, straining at his straps; clutching at the edges; standing there less like the groggy passenger of a pleasure boat than like an entranced scientist in a spaceship; surveying the speckled skeins of a live, warm world; eyeing with philosophic interest the pillow he had managed to throw overboard; falling out himself when a strap burst one day. Still later he rode in one of those small contraptions called strollers; from initial springy and secure heights the child came lower and lower, until, when he was about one and a half, he touched ground in front of the moving stroller by slipping forward out of his seat and beating the sidewalk with his heels in anticipation of being set loose in some public garden. A new wave of evolution started to swell, gradually lifting him again from the ground, when, for his second birthday, he received a four-foot-long, silver-painted Mercedes racing car operated by inside pedals, like an organ, and in this he used to drive with a pumping, clanking noise up and down the sidewalk of the Kurfurstendamm while from open windows came the multiplied roar of a dictator still pounding his chest in the Neander valley we had left far behind.
You have to stop letting me do this,” he bit off, half-angrily.
“If you’ll stop leaning on me so that I can get my hands on a blunt object, I’ll be happy to…!”
He kissed the words into oblivion. “It isn’t a joke,” he murmured into her mouth. His hips moved in a gentle, sensuous sweep against her hips. He felt her shiver.
“That’s…new,” she said with a strained attempt at humor.
“It isn’t,” he corrected. “I’ve just never let you feel it before.” He kissed her slowly, savoring the submission of her soft, warm lips. His hands swept under the blouse and up under her breasts in their lacy covering. He was going over the edge. If he did, he was going to take her with him, and it would damage both of them. He had to stop it, now, while he could. “Is this what Colby gets when he comes to see you?” he whispered with deliberate sarcasm.
It worked. She stepped on his foot as hard as she could with her bare instep. It surprised him more than it hurt him, but while he recoiled, she pushed him and tore out of his arms. Her eyes were lividly green through her glasses, her hair in disarray. She glared at him like a female panther.
“What Colby gets is none of your business! You get out of my apartment!” she raged at him.
She was magnificent, he thought, watching her with helpless delight. There wasn’t a man alive who could cow her, or bend her to his will. Even her drunken, brutal stepfather hadn’t been able to force her to do something she didn’t want to do.
“Oh, I hate that damned smug grin,” she threw at him, swallowing her fury. “Man, the conqueror!”
“That isn’t what I was thinking at all.” He sobered little by little. “My mother was a meek little thing when she was younger,” he recalled. “But she was forever throwing herself in front of me to keep my father from killing me. It was a long time until I grew big enough to protect her.”
She stared at him curiously, still shaken. “I don’t understand.”
“You have a fierce spirit,” he said quietly. “I admire it, even when it exasperates me. But it wouldn’t be enough to save you from a man bent on hurting you.”
He sighed heavily. “You’ve been…my responsibility…for a long time,” he said, choosing his words carefully. “No matter how old you grow, I’ll still feel protective about you. It’s the way I’m made.”
He meant to comfort, but the words hurt. She smiled anyway. “I can take care of myself.”
“Can you?” he said softly. He searched her eyes. “In a weak moment…”
“I don’t have too many of those. Mostly, you’re responsible for them,” she said with black humor. “Will you go away? I’m supposed to try to seduce you, not the reverse. You’re breaking the rules.”
His eyebrow lifted. Her sense of humor seemed to mend what was wrong between them. “You stopped trying to seduce me.”
“You kept turning me down,” she pointed out. “A woman’s ego can only take so much rejection.
Diana Palmer (Paper Rose (Hutton & Co. #2))
There are human boys here somewhere?” Zoey asked.
Aurox’s face scrunched up as he frowned at her. “Not here. Outside—out there. ” He pointed in the general direction of the door to the field house behind them.
“Outside the field house!” she almost yelled.
“Zo, sometimes I think you don’t listen so good,” Aurox said. Still frowning at her, he continued speaking slowly, as if trying to get her to understand a foreign language.
“Two boys. Outside the wall. With the keg. And cups. They. Want. Hot. Vampyre. Chicks.”
“Okay, I think I get it.” Stark grabbed Aurox’s arm and started to drag him toward the door and away from Z
before she went for his throat, although that would have been funny as hell. “You found two kids, with beer, trying to get over the wall, right?”
“See, you listen better.” Aurox patted him on the back, almost knocking Stark over. “But they’re just looking through the hole for vampyre pussy, not trying to get over the wall.”
“If you say pussy one more time I’m going to smack the crap out of you,” Zoey said, coming after them.
“You can’t come!” Aurox stumbled to a stop. “You have legs and tits!”
“Oh. My. Goddess. I’m going to kill him!” Stark stepped between the two of them. He faced Zoey.
She’d gone from pale to bright red in zero-point-nothing seconds. “Z, I think this is something that a Warrior needs to handle.”
Behind him, Aurox belched, sending a wave of beer air wafting over them.
Zoey narrowed her eyes and pointed at Aurox. “You have never been able to drink!” Then she spun around and stomped back to the basement entrance, slamming the door behind her.
“She seems mad. Should we bring her a beer?” Aurox said.
Stark covered his laugh with a cough. “Ur, no. Z doesn’t like beer.”
“Doesn’t like beer? She should. It would make her head feel bubbly and happy.”
Stark didn’t bother to cover his laugh a second time. “I wish it worked that way with her, but it doesn’t.”
“Because she has legs and tits?”
Stark knew it was wrong, but he couldn’t stop himself.
“I’m not sure. Maybe you should ask her next time you see her.”
Aurox nodded, looking as serious as a drunk could look. “I will.”
“That should be fun. But until then, show me where these humans are, and while we’re going there, start back at the beginning and tell me exactly what happened before and after you were introduced to the red Solo cup.
Kristin Cast (Revealed (House of Night, #11))
Boney freckled knees pressed into bits of bark and stone, refusing to feel any more pain.
Her faded t-shirt hugged her protruding ribs as she held on, hunched in silence.
A lone tear followed the lumpy tracks down her cheek, jumped from her quivering jaw onto a thirsty browned leaf with a thunderous plop.
Then the screen door squeaked open and she took flight.
Crispy twigs snapped beneath her bare feet as she ran deeper and deeper into the woods behind the house. She heard him rumbling and calling her name, his voice fueling her tired muscles to go faster, to survive.
He knew her path by now. He was ready for the hunt.
The clanging unbuckled belt boomed in her ears as he gained on her.
The woods were thin this time of year, not much to hide behind. If she couldn’t outrun him, up she would go.
Young trees teased her in this direction, so she moved east towards the evergreens.
Hunger and hurt left her no choice, she had to stop running soon.
She grabbed the first tree with a branch low enough to reach, and up she went.
The pine trees were taller here, older, but the branches were too far apart for her to reach. She chose the wrong tree.
His footsteps pounded close by.
She stood as tall as her little legs could, her bloodied fingers reaching, stretching, to no avail. A cry of defeat slipped from her lips, a knowing laugh barked from his.
She would pay for this dearly. She didn’t know whether the price was more than she could bear. Her eyes closed, her next breath came out as Please, and an inky hand reached down from the lush needles above, wound its many fingers around hers, and pulled her up.
Another hand, then another, grabbing her arms, her legs, firmly but gently, pulling her up, up, up. The rush of green pine needles and black limbs blurred together, then a flash of cobalt blue fluttered by, heading down.
She looked beyond her dangling bare feet to see a flock of peculiar birds settle on the branches below her, their glossy feathers flickered at once and changed to the same greens and grays of the tree they perched upon, camouflaging her ascension.
Her father’s footsteps below came to a stomping end, and she knew he was listening for her. Tracking her, trapping her, like he did the other beasts of the forest.
He called her name once, twice. The third time’s tone not quite as friendly.
The familiar slide–click sound of him readying his gun made her flinch before he had his chance to shoot at the sky. A warning. He wasn’t done with her.
His feet crunched in circles around the tree, eventually heading back home.
Finally, she exhaled and looked up. Dozens of golden-eyed creatures surrounded her from above. Covered in indigo pelts, with long limbs tipped with mint-colored claws, they seemed to move as one, like a heartbeat. As if they shared a pulse, a train of thought, a common sense.
“Thank you,” she whispered, and the beasts moved in a wave to carefully place her on a thick branch.
Kim Bongiorno (Part of My World: Short Stories)
before he went back to helping the boy. Missing from the Warrior tent were Kalona and Aurox. For obvious reasons, Thanatos had decided the Tulsa community wasn’t ready to meet either of them. I agreed with her. I wasn’t ready for … I mentally shook myself. No, I wasn’t going to think about the Aurox/Heath situation now. Instead I turned my attention to the second of the big tents. Lenobia was there, keeping a sharp eye on the people who clustered like buzzing bees around Mujaji and the big Percheron mare, Bonnie. Travis was with her. Travis was always with her, which made my heart feel good. It was awesome to see Lenobia in love. The Horse Mistress was like a bright, shining beacon of joy, and with all the Darkness I’d seen lately, that was rain in my desert. “Oh, for shit’s sake, where did I put my wine? Has anyone seen my Queenies cup? As the bumpkin reminded me, my parents are here somewhere, and I’m going to need fortification by the time they circle around and find me.” Aphrodite was muttering and pawing through the boxes of unsold cookies, searching for the big purple plastic cup I’d seen her drinking from earlier. “You have wine in that Queenies to go cup?” Stevie Rae was shaking her head at Aphrodite. “And you’ve been drinkin’ it through a straw?” Shaunee joined Stevie Rae in a head shake. “Isn’t that nasty?” “Desperate times call for desperate measures,” Aphrodite quipped. “There are too many nuns lurking around to drink openly without hearing a boring lecture.” Aphrodite cut her eyes to the right of us where Street Cats had set up a half-moon display of cages filled with adoptable cats and bins of catnip-filled toys for sale. The Street Cats had their own miniature version of the silver and white tents, and I could see Damien sitting inside busily handling the cash register, but except for him, running every aspect of the feline area were the habit-wearing Benedictine nuns who had made Street Cats their own. One of the nuns looked my way and I waved and grinned at the Abbess. Sister Mary Angela waved back before returning to the conversation she was having with a family who were obviously falling in love with a cute white cat that looked like a giant cottonball. “Aphrodite, the nuns are cool,” I reminded her. “And they look too busy to pay any attention to you,” Stevie Rae said. “Imagine that—you may not be the center of everyone’s attention,” Shaylin said with mock surprise. Stevie Rae covered her giggle with a cough. Before Aphrodite could say something hateful, Grandma limped up to us. Other than the limp and being pale, Grandma looked healthy and happy. It had only been a little over a week since Neferet had kidnapped and tried to kill her, but she’d recovered with amazing quickness. Thanatos had told us that was because she was in unusually good shape for a woman of her age. I knew it was because of something else—something we both shared—a special bond with a goddess who believed in giving her children free choice, along with gifting them with special abilities. Grandma was beloved of the Great Mother,
P.C. Cast (Revealed (House of Night #11))
The explosion was deafening; a huge cloud of fire rolled out the window after us, its immense heat brushing my face as we tumbled into the snow.
We hit the ground and rolled. Flaming debris from the house came down around us; Griffin shoved me flat on my back, covering us both with his heavy coat.
The echoes of the explosion reflected back across the river, then slowly dwindled away, like dying thunder. The leaping flames threw warm light onto the falling snow, turning it into a storm of sparks pouring down from the heavens.
Griffin started to push himself off of me, then stoped. His hands were braced on either side of my shoulders, his legs twined with mine. Mt heart pounded, my palms sweated, and I was suddenly, acutely aware of how close his face was to mine.
"You're a madman," he whispered. "An utter madman."
"Perhaps," I allowed. "But it worked."
The leaping light from the burning house painted his features in gold, highlighting his patrician nose and finding threads of brown and blue in his green eyes. His pupils widened, the irises contracting to silver. "Whatever am I going to do with you?" he murmured.
The warmth of his breath feathered over my skin. Heat collected in my groin, my lips. My mouth was dry, my voice hoarse, and perhaps he was right and it was madness when I whispered, "Whatever you want."
A shiver went through his body, perhaps because we were lying on the cold ground. But instead of getting up, he leaned closer, his overlong hair tumbling over his forehead. He paused, his mouth almost touching mine, his eyes seeming to ask a question.
It was madness; it was folly; it was sheer selfishness. I was delusional, misguided, wrong, out of control. I needed to pull back, to say something sane, to re-establish mastery over myself. I could not do this. I could not take the risk.
Later tonight, I'd relive this moment in my lonely bed and wonder if I'd done the right thing. But at least that would be familiar, would be something I knew how to cope with.
And yet the very thought felt like dying.
I surged forward, crossing the final, tiny gap and pressing my lips to his. It was awkward and desperate and frantic, but the feel of his mouth against mine sent a bolt of electricity straight down my spine. Just a moment, just this one kiss, surely that would be enough...
Then he kissed me back, and it would never be enough, a thousand years of this would not be enough. His mouth was hungry and insistent, his tongue probing my lips, asking for greater intimacy. I granted it, tongues swirling together, mine followed his when it retreated and tasting him in return.
There came the clanging of bells in the distance, the fire company alerted to the explosion. Griffin drew back a fraction. His breath was as raged as mine, which left me dazed with wonder.
"My dear," he whispered against my lips. Then he swallowed convulsively. "We should leave, before the fire companies come."
"Y-Yes." It was amazing I managed that much coherence.
He closed his eyes and leaned his forehead against mine, our breaths mingling. "Will you come home with me?"
Was he asking...? "Yes." Oh, God, yes.
His lips curved into a smile.
Jordan L. Hawk (Widdershins (Whyborne & Griffin, #1))
As the third evening approached, Gabriel looked up blearily as two people entered the room.
The sight of them infused him with relief. At the same time, their presence unlatched all the wretched emotion he'd kept battened down until this moment. Disciplining his breathing, he stood awkwardly, his limbs stiff from spending hours on the hard chair. His father came to him first, pulling him close for a crushing hug and ruffling his hair before going to the bedside.
His mother was next, embracing him with her familiar tenderness and strength. She was the one he'd always gone to first whenever he'd done something wrong, knowing she would never condemn or criticize, even when he deserved it. She was a source of endless kindness, the one to whom he could entrust his worst thoughts and fears.
"I promised nothing would ever harm her," Gabriel said against her hair, his voice cracking.
Evie's gentle hands patted his back.
"I took my eyes off her when I shouldn't have," he went on. "Mrs. Black approached her after the play- I pulled the bitch aside, and I was too distracted to notice-" He stopped talking and cleared his throat harshly, trying not to choke on emotion.
Evie waited until he calmed himself before saying quietly, "You remember when I told you about the time your f-father was badly injured because of me?"
"That wasn't because of you," Sebastian said irritably from the bedside. "Evie, have you harbored that absurd idea for all these years?"
"It's the most terrible feeling in the world," Evie murmured to Gabriel. "But it's not your fault, and trying not to make it so won't help either of you. Dearest boy, are you listening to me?"
Keeping his face pressed against her hair, Gabriel shook his head.
"Pandora won't blame you for what happened," Evie told him, "any more than your father blamed me."
"Neither of you are to blame for anything," his father said, "except for annoying me with this nonsense. Obviously the only person to blame for this poor girl's injury is the woman who attempted to skewer her like a pinioned duck." He straightened the covers over Pandora, bent to kiss her forehead gently, and sat in the bedside chair. "My son... guilt, in proper measure, can be a useful emotion. However, when indulged to excess it becomes self-defeating, and even worse, tedious." Stretching out his long legs, he crossed them negligently. "There's no reason to tear yourself to pieces worrying about Pandora. She's going to make a full recovery."
"You're a doctor now?" Gabriel asked sardonically, although some of the weight of grief and worry lifted at his father's confident pronouncement.
"I daresay I've seen enough illness and injuries in my time, stabbings included, to predict the outcome accurately. Besides, I know the spirit of this girl. She'll recover."
"I agree," Evie said firmly.
Letting out a shuddering sigh, Gabriel tightened his arms around her.
After a long moment, he heard his mother say ruefully, "Sometimes I miss the days when I could solve any of my children's problems with a nap and a biscuit."
"A nap and a biscuit wouldn't hurt this one at the moment," Sebastian commented dryly. "Gabriel, go find a proper bed and rest for a few hours. We'll watch over your little fox cub.
Lisa Kleypas (Devil in Spring (The Ravenels, #3))
Pay attention to everything the dying person says. You might want to keep pens and a spiral notebook beside the bed so that anyone can jot down notes about gestures, conversations, or anything out of the ordinary said by the dying person. Talk with one another about these comments and gestures. • Remember that there may be important messages in any communication, however vague or garbled. Not every statement made by a dying person has significance, but heed them all so as not to miss the ones that do. • Watch for key signs: a glassy-eyed look; the appearance of staring through you; distractedness or secretiveness; seemingly inappropriate smiles or gestures, such as pointing, reaching toward someone or something unseen, or waving when no one is there; efforts to pick at the covers or get out of bed for no apparent reason; agitation or distress at your inability to comprehend something the dying person has tried to say. • Respond to anything you don’t understand with gentle inquiries. “Can you tell me what’s happening?” is sometimes a helpful way to initiate this kind of conversation. You might also try saying, “You seem different today. Can you tell me why?” • Pose questions in open-ended, encouraging terms. For example, if a dying person whose mother is long dead says, “My mother’s waiting for me,” turn that comment into a question: “Mother’s waiting for you?” or “I’m so glad she’s close to you. Can you tell me about it?” • Accept and validate what the dying person tells you. If he says, “I see a beautiful place!” say, “That’s wonderful! Can you tell me more about it?” or “I’m so pleased. I can see that it makes you happy,” or “I’m so glad you’re telling me this. I really want to understand what’s happening to you. Can you tell me more?” • Don’t argue or challenge. By saying something like “You couldn’t possibly have seen Mother, she’s been dead for ten years,” you could increase the dying person’s frustration and isolation, and run the risk of putting an end to further attempts at communicating. • Remember that a dying person may employ images from life experiences like work or hobbies. A pilot may talk about getting ready to go for a flight; carry the metaphor forward: “Do you know when it leaves?” or “Is there anyone on the plane you know?” or “Is there anything I can do to help you get ready for takeoff?” • Be honest about having trouble understanding. One way is to say, “I think you’re trying to tell me something important and I’m trying very hard, but I’m just not getting it. I’ll keep on trying. Please don’t give up on me.” • Don’t push. Let the dying control the breadth and depth of the conversation—they may not be able to put their experiences into words; insisting on more talk may frustrate or overwhelm them. • Avoid instilling a sense of failure in the dying person. If the information is garbled or the delivery impossibly vague, show that you appreciate the effort by saying, “I can see that this is hard for you; I appreciate your trying to share it with me,” or “I can see you’re getting tired/angry/frustrated. Would it be easier if we talked about this later?” or “Don’t worry. We’ll keep trying and maybe it will come.” • If you don’t know what to say, don’t say anything. Sometimes the best response is simply to touch the dying person’s hand, or smile and stroke his or her forehead. Touching gives the very important message “I’m with you.” Or you could say, “That’s interesting, let me think about it.” • Remember that sometimes the one dying picks an unlikely confidant. Dying people often try to communicate important information to someone who makes them feel safe—who won’t get upset or be taken aback by such confidences. If you’re an outsider chosen for this role, share the information as gently and completely as possible with the appropriate family members or friends. They may be more familiar with innuendos in a message because they know the person well.
Maggie Callanan (Final Gifts: Understanding the Special Awareness, Needs, and Co)