Its My Birthday Quotes

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There should be a statute of limitation on grief. A rulebook that says it is all right to wake up crying, but only for a month. That after 42 days you will no longer turn with your heart racing, certain you have heard her call out your name. That there will be no fine imposed if you feel the need to clean out her desk; take down her artwork from the refrigerator; turn over a school portrait as you pass - if only because it cuts you fresh again to see it. That it's okay to measure the time she has been gone, the way we once measured her birthdays.
Jodi Picoult (My Sister’s Keeper)
It’s my birthday, Horus insisted. Wish me happy birthday! “Happy birthday!” I yelled. “Now shut up!
Rick Riordan (The Red Pyramid (The Kane Chronicles, #1))
Abby touched her palm to my cheek. "You know what, Mr. Maddox?" "What, baby?" Her expression turned serious. "In another life, I could love you." I watched her for a moment, staring into her glassed over eyes. She was drunk, but just for a moment it didn't seem wrong to pretend that she meant it. "I might love you in this one.
Jamie McGuire (Walking Disaster (Beautiful, #2))
Maybe my passion is nothing special, but at least it's mine. - An Eightieth Birthday
Tove Jansson (Travelling Light)
Most people in Atlanta don't have an accent. It's pretty urban. A lot of people speak gangsta, though," I add jokingly. "Fo' shiz," he replies in his polite English accent. I spurt orangey-red soup across the table. St. Clair gives a surprised ha-HA kind of laugh, and I'm laughing too, the painful kind like abdominal crunches. He hands me a napkin to wipe my chin. "Fo'. Shiz." He repeats it solemnly. Cough cough. "Please don't ever stop saying that. It's too-" I gasp. "Much." "You oughtn't to have said that. Now I shall have to save it for special occasions." "My birthday is in February." Cough choke wheeze. "Please don't forget.
Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1))
Language is my whore, my mistress, my wife, my pen-friend, my check-out girl. Language is a complimentary moist lemon-scented cleansing square or handy freshen-up wipette. Language is the breath of God, the dew on a fresh apple, it's the soft rain of dust that falls into a shaft of morning sun when you pull from an old bookshelf a forgotten volume of erotic diaries; language is the faint scent of urine on a pair of boxer shorts, it's a half-remembered childhood birthday party, a creak on the stair, a spluttering match held to a frosted pane, the warm wet, trusting touch of a leaking nappy, the hulk of a charred Panzer, the underside of a granite boulder, the first downy growth on the upper lip of a Mediterranean girl, cobwebs long since overrun by an old Wellington boot.
Stephen Fry
Just tell me, Percy, do you still have the birthday gift I gave you last summer?" I nodded and pulled out my camp necklace. It had a bead for every summer I'd been at Camp Half-Blood, but since last year I'd also kept a sand dollar on the cord. My father had given it to me for my fifteenth birthday. He'd told me I would know when to "spend it," but so far I hadn't figured out what he meant. All I knew that it didn't fit the vending machines in the school cafeteria.
Rick Riordan (The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #5))
The way to beat Luke," he said. "If I'm right, it's the only way you'll stand a chance." I took a deep breath. "Okay. I'm listening." Nico glanced inside my room. His eyebrows furrowed. "Is that...is that blue birthday cake?" He sounded hungry, maybe a little wistful. I wondered if the poor kid had ever had a birthday party, or if he'd ever even been invited to one. :Come inside for cake and ice cream," I said. "It sounds like we've got a lot to talk about.
Rick Riordan (The Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #4))
Do you always wear underwear like this, or is it for me?” I rolled to my back and pulled the sheet to my waist. “It isn’t for you, I’ve been wearing underwear like this since Gram gave me my first Frederick’s of Hollywood box on my sixteenth birthday. Now, I owe Victoria’s Secret my first-born child.” Before speaking again, Lee waited several seconds that can only be described as ‘loaded silence’. While this silence was going on, he pulled the sheet back down. “You’re tellin’ me that since you were sixteen you’ve been sittin’ next to me every year at Christmas Dinner wearin’ underwear like this?
Kristen Ashley (Rock Chick (Rock Chick, #1))
I count too heavily on birthdays, though I know I shouldn't. Inevitably I begin to assess my life by them, figure out how I'm doing by how many people remember; it's like the old fantasy of attending your own funeral: You get to see who your friends are, get to see who shows up.
Lorrie Moore (Anagrams)
You forgot my birthday, too." "And mine." The girls looked miserable. The King opened his mouth, then shut it. "Sir!" whined Lord Teddie. "You forgot my birthday, too!" Bramble gave a surprised laugh, then slapped her hand over her mouth, as though shocked at letting it out. The tension broke. The girls laughed sheepishly, and Lord Teddie beamed. He probably did not have many ladies think him funny. In fact, he probably got slapped by a lot of them.
Heather Dixon Wallwork (Entwined)
Take me to Happy Birthday Land. It’s open 364 days of the year, and the one day of the year it’s closed for cleaning happens to be my birthday. 

Jarod Kintz (At even one penny, this book would be overpriced. In fact, free is too expensive, because you'd still waste time by reading it.)
November 20. Andrius's birthday. I had counted the days carefully. I wished him a happy birthday when I woke and thought about him while hauling logs during the day. At night, I sat by the light of the stove, reading Dombey and Son. Krasivaya. I still hadn't found the word. Maybe I'd find it if I jumped ahead. I flipped through some of the pages. A marking caught my eye. I leafed backward. Something was written in pencil in the margin of 278. Hello, Lina. You've gotten to page 278. That's pretty good! I gasped, then pretened I was engrossed in the book. I looked at Andrius's handwritting. I ran my finger over this elongated letters in my name. Were there more? I knew I should read onward. I couldn't wait. I turned though the pages carefully, scanning the margins. Page 300: Are you really on page 300 or are you skipping ahead now? I had to stifle my laughter. Page 322: Dombey and Son is boring. Admit it. Page 364: I'm thinking of you. Page 412: Are you maybe thinking of me? I closed my eyes. Yes, I'm thinking of you. Happy birthday, Andrius.
Ruta Sepetys (Between Shades of Gray)
Do you remember infinity?” Slowly, I turned around. “What about it?” Tossing something toward me, he said, “Catch.” I reached out and caught it in the air. A silver necklace. I held it up and examined it. The infinity necklace. It didn’t shine the way it used to; it looked a bit coppery now. But I recognized it. Of course I recognized it. “What is this?” I asked. “You know what it is,” he said. I shrugged. “Nope, sorry.” I could see that he was both hurt and angry. “Okay, then. You don’t remember it. I’ll remind you. I bought you that necklace for your birthday.” My birthday. It had to have been for my sixteenth birthday. It was the only year he ever forgot to buy me a birthday present—the last summer we’d all been together at the beach house, when Susannah was still alive.
Jenny Han (We'll Always Have Summer (Summer #3))
I realized right then and there, in that hallway, that I wanted no other... I became the man she needed me to be because she had sense enough to have requirements-standards that she needed in her relationship in order to make the relationship work for her. She knew she wanted a monogamous relationship-a partnership with a man who wanted to be a dedicated husband and father. She also knew this man had to be faithful, love God, and be willing to do what it took to keep this family together. On a smaller scale she also made it clear that she expected to be treated like a lady at every turn-I'm talking opening car doors for her, pulling out her seat when she's ready to sit at the table, coming correct on anniversary, Mother's Day, and birthday gifts, keeping the foul talk to a minimum. These requirements are important to her because they lay out a virtual map of what I need to do to make sure she gets what she needs and wants. After all, it's universal knowledge that when mama is happy, everybody is happy. And it is my sole mission in life to make sure Marjorie is happy.
Steve Harvey (Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man: What Men Really Think About Love, Relationships, Intimacy, and Commitment)
In a lightning-fast move, he placed both of his hands on the brick wall, caging me with his body. He leaned toward me and my heart shifted into a gear I didn't know existed. His warm breath caressed my neck, melting my frozen skin. I tilted my head, waiting for the solid warmth of his body on mine. I could see his eyes again and those dark orbs screamed hunger . "I heard a rumor." "What's that?" I struggled to get out. "It's your birthday." Terrified speaking would break the spell, I licked my suddenly dry lips and nodded. "Happy birthday." Noah drew his lips closer to mine; that sweet musky smell overwhelmed my senses. I could almost taste his lips when he unexpectedly took a step back, inhaling deeply. The cold air slapped me into the land of sober.
Katie McGarry (Pushing the Limits (Pushing the Limits, #1))
I see you're trying to distract me from the real point here," Magnus said instead. "You had a birthday - a perfect excuse for me to throw one of my famous parties - and you didn't even tell me about it?
Cassandra Clare (Saving Raphael Santiago (The Bane Chronicles, #6))
A BIRTHDAY Something continues and I don't know what to call it though the language is full of suggestions in the way of language but they are all anonymous and it's almost your birthday music next to my bones these nights we hear the horses running in the rain it stops and the moon comes out and we are still here the leaks in the roof go on dripping after the rain has passed smell of ginger flowers slips through the dark house down near the sea the slow heart of the beacon flashes the long way to you is still tied to me but it brought me to you I keep wanting to give you what is already yours it is the morning of the mornings together breath of summer oh my found one the sleep in the same current and each waking to you when I open my eyes you are what I wanted to see.
W.S. Merwin
[Said during a debate when his opponent asserted that atheism and belief in evolution lead to Nazism:] Atheism by itself is, of course, not a moral position or a political one of any kind; it simply is the refusal to believe in a supernatural dimension. For you to say of Nazism that it was the implementation of the work of Charles Darwin is a filthy slander, undeserving of you and an insult to this audience. Darwin’s thought was not taught in Germany; Darwinism was so derided in Germany along with every other form of unbelief that all the great modern atheists, Darwin, Einstein and Freud were alike despised by the National Socialist regime. Now, just to take the most notorious of the 20th century totalitarianisms – the most finished example, the most perfected one, the most ruthless and refined one: that of National Socialism, the one that fortunately allowed the escape of all these great atheists, thinkers and many others, to the United States, a country of separation of church and state, that gave them welcome – if it’s an atheistic regime, then how come that in the first chapter of Mein Kampf, that Hitler says that he’s doing God’s work and executing God’s will in destroying the Jewish people? How come the fuhrer oath that every officer of the Party and the Army had to take, making Hitler into a minor god, begins, “I swear in the name of almighty God, my loyalty to the Fuhrer?” How come that on the belt buckle of every Nazi soldier it says Gott mit uns, God on our side? How come that the first treaty made by the Nationalist Socialist dictatorship, the very first is with the Vatican? It’s exchanging political control of Germany for Catholic control of German education. How come that the church has celebrated the birthday of the Fuhrer every year, on that day until democracy put an end to this filthy, quasi-religious, superstitious, barbarous, reactionary system? Again, this is not a difference of emphasis between us. To suggest that there’s something fascistic about me and about my beliefs is something I won't hear said and you shouldn't believe.
Christopher Hitchens
Oh right. What about Wendy?" I ask "What about her?" "It's her birthday, too. I'm the worst friend ever. I should have sent her something. Did you exchange gifts?" "Not yet." He turns toward me. "But she gave me the perfect gift." The way he's looking at me sends butterflies into my stomach. "What?" "You.
Cynthia Hand (Unearthly (Unearthly, #1))
You were the best birthday present I ever got." "Thank you." "I wanted to give you something back, but I've got to warn you that it's not half as good as my present. Even so, you have to keep it." "All right." He draped the pink bow around his neck and grinned. "Happy birthday, Rosebud.
Susan Elizabeth Phillips (Nobody's Baby But Mine (Chicago Stars, #3))
And now," he continued, speaking to Milo, "where were you on the night of July 27?" "What does that have to do with it?" asked Milo. "It's my birthday, that's what," said the policeman as he entered "Forgot my birthday" in his little book. "Boys always forget other people's birthdays.
Norton Juster (The Phantom Tollbooth)
My dear Rosie, Unbeknownst to you I took this chance before, many, many years ago. You never received that letter and I'm glad because my feelings since then have changed dramatically. They have intensified with every passing day. I'll get straight to the point because if I don't say what I have to say now, I fear it will never be said. And I need to say it. Today I love you more than ever; I want you more than ever. I'm a man of fifty years of age coming to you, feeling like a teenager in love, asking you to give me a chance and love me back. Rosie Dunne, I love you with all my heart. I have always loved you, even when I was seven years old and I lied about falling asleep on Santa watch, when I was ten years old and didn't invite you to my birthday party, when I was eighteen and had to move away, even on my wedding days, on your wedding day, on christenings, birthdays and when we fought. I loved you through it all. Make me the happiest man on this earth by being with me. Please reply to me. All my love, Alex
Cecelia Ahern (Love, Rosie)
A disturbing thought hits me,"but then our only neighbor would be Haymich!" "Ah, that'll be nice,"says Peeta, tightening his arms around me."You and me and Haymich. Very cozy. Picnics, birthdays. long winters around the campfire retelling old Hunger Games tales." "I told you he hates me!" I say, but I can't help laughing at the image of Haymich becoming my new pal. "Only sometimes. When he's sober, I've never heard him say one negative thing about you," says Peeta. He's never sober!" I protest. That's right. Who am I thinking of? Oh, I know. It's Cinna who likes you. But that's mainly because you didn't try to run when he set you in fire," says Peeta. "On the other hand, Haymich ... well, if I were you, I'd avoid Haymich completely. He Hates you." " I thought that you said I was his favorite," I say. "He hates me more," says Peeta, "I don't think people in general are his sort of thing.
Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1))
I put my hand on the altar rail. 'What if ... what if Heaven is real, but only in moments? Like a glass of water on a hot day when you're dying of thirst, or when someone's nice to you for no reason, or ...' Mam's pancakes with Toblerone sauce; Dad dashing up from the bar just to tell me, 'Sleep tight, don't let the bedbugs bite'; or Jacko and Sharon singing 'For She's A Squishy Marshmallow' instead of 'For She's A Jolly Good Fellow' every single birthday and wetting themselves even though it's not at all funny; and Brendan giving his old record player to me instead of one of his mates. 'S'pose Heaven's not like a painting that's just hanging there for ever, but more like ... Like the best song anyone ever wrote, but a song you only catch in snatches, while you're alive, from passing cars, or ... upstairs windows when you're lost ...
David Mitchell (The Bone Clocks)
And if I was humming "Happy Birthday" and smiling stupidly as I fled for my life—well, that was nobody's business, was it?
Rick Riordan
Inspiration is very nice when you get it. It's like being given a present you weren't expecting. You don't hand the present back and say, 'My birthday's not till November.' You take it and run.
Jan Mark
There was something about my face,she said, that she couldn't stand. Something about my eyes, the way I looked at her, the fact I even existed. She'd always tell me to stop looking at her. She'd always scream it. Like I might attack her. Stop looking at me, she'd scream. You just stop looking at me, she'd scream. She put my hand in the fire once. Just to see if it would burn, she said. Just to check if it was a regular hand, she said. I was 6 years old then. I remember because it was my birthday.
Tahereh Mafi (Destroy Me (Shatter Me, #1.5))
I need dating advice. Fast...Julian, how did you meet your wife?" Julian shrugged. "My brother the sex god cursed me into a book for two thousand years. Grace got drunk on her birthday and summoned me out of it." Vane rolled his eyes. "That's useless. Kyrian? What about you?" "I woke up handcuffed to Amanda." Vane could work with that. "So I need to get a set of handcuffs?
Sherrilyn Kenyon (Night Play (Dark-Hunter, #5; Were-Hunter, #1))
My girlfriend just bought me a portable toaster. And my birthday’s coming up, so I’m half expecting her to buy me a portable bathtub to go along with it.
Jarod Kintz (This Book is Not for Sale)
You look…” he shook his head looking her up and down, “You look delicious. If I don’t get you out of here, I’m going to devour you like it’s my birthday, and you’re my cake.
J.B. McGee (Mending (This, #2))
Jarod Kintz Day—it’s not just my birthday, but it should be a holiday that’s mandatory to celebrate, punishable by death if you don’t. It’ll be a holiday that honors freedom.

Jarod Kintz (This Book Has No Title)
I'm tipsy." I corrected, "and it's my birthday and I want to dance. Come one, Linc, it won't kill you.
Jessica Shirvington (Embrace (The Violet Eden Chapters, #1))
Isn’t it so weird how the number of dead people is increasing even though the earth stays the same size, so that one day there isn’t going to be room to bury anyone anymore? For my ninth birthday last year, Grandma gave me a subscription to National Geographic, which she calls “the National Geographic.” She also gave me a white blazer, because I only wear white clothes, and it’s too big to wear so it will last me a long time. She also gave me Grandpa’s camera, which I loved for two reasons. I asked why he didn’t take it with him when he left her. She said, “Maybe he wanted you to have it.” I said, “But I was negative-thirty years old.” She said, “Still.” Anyway, the fascinating thing was that I read in National Geographic that there are more people alive now than have died in all of human history. In other words, if everyone wanted to play Hamlet at once, they couldn’t, because there aren’t enough skulls!
Jonathan Safran Foer
So it’s your death suit.” “Correct. Don’t you have a death outfit?” “Yeah,” I said. “It’s a dress I bought for my fifteenth birthday party. But I don’t wear it on dates.” His eyes lit up. “We’re on a date?” he asked. I looked down, feeling bashful. “Don’t push it.
John Green
You’re not doing well and finally I don’t have to pretend to be so interested in your on going tragedy, but I’ll rob the bank that gave you the impression that money is more fruitful than words, and I’ll cut holes in the ozone if it means you have one less day of rain. I’ll walk you to the hospital, I’ll wait in a white room that reeks of hand sanitizer and latex for the results from the MRI scan that tries to locate the malady that keeps your mind guessing, and I want to write you a poem every day until my hand breaks and assure you that you’ll find your place, it’s just the world has a funny way of hiding spots fertile enough for bodies like yours to grow roots. and I miss you like a dart hits the iris of a bullseye, or a train ticket screams 4:30 at 4:47, I wanted to tell you that it’s my birthday on Thursday and I would have wanted you to give me the gift of your guts on the floor, one last time, to see if you still had it in you. I hope our ghosts aren’t eating you alive. If I’m to speak for myself, I’ll tell you that the universe is twice as big as we think it is and you’re the only one that made that idea less devastating.
Lucas Regazzi
If Frankie and I hadn't wanted ice cream that stupid day, he'd still be alive. If I hadn't gotten his heart all worked up kissing him every night since my birthday, he'd still be alive. If I'd never been born, he'd still be alive. If I could find the butterfly that flapped its wings before we got into the car that day, I would crush it.
Sarah Ockler (Twenty Boy Summer)
Stop it. This is serious! (Selena) Serious? Please. I’m standing out here on my twenty-ninth birthday, barefoot and in jeans my mother would burn, holding a stupid book to my chest in an effort to summon a Greek love-slave from the great beyond. (Grace)
Sherrilyn Kenyon (Fantasy Lover (Hunter Legends, #1))
Dear Mia, What can I say? I don't know all that much about romance novels, but I think you must be the Stephen King of the genre. Your book is hot. Thanks for letting me read it. Anyone who doesn't want to publish it is a fool. Anyway, since I know it's your birthday, and I also know you never remember to back anything up, here's a little something I made for you. It would be a shame if Ransom My Heart got lost before it ever saw the light of day because your hard drive crashed. See you tonight. Love, Michael
Meg Cabot
I invited a few people to help celebrate your birthday," Cameron said sheepishly. She threw up her hands. "Surprise." "We sort of come with the package," Collin explained. "Think of it as a collective gift from all of us to you: five bona fide annoying and overly intrusive new best friends." "It's the gift that keeps on giving," Wilkins said. Jack grinned. "I'm touched. Really. And since it appears I'm going to be moving in, let me be the first to say that all of you are always welcome at my and Cameron's house. Subject to a minimum of forty-eight hours prior notification.
Julie James (Something About You (FBI/US Attorney, #1))
And then . . . we’re going to get in my car.” I waited for him to elaborate on a destination. “And?” He gently kissed the nape of my neck. “What do you think?” I couldn’t help a small gasp of delight. “Oh, wow.” “I know, right? I was racking my brain for the best present ever, and then I realized that nothing was going to rock your world more than you and me in your favorite place in the entire world.” I swallowed. “I’m kind of embarrassed at how excited I am about that.” Never had I guessed my love of cars would play a role in my sex life. Eddie was right. Something had happened to me. “It’s okay, Sage. We’ve all got our turn-ons.” “You kind of ruined the surprise, though.” “Nah. It’s part of the gift: you getting to think about it for the next three days.
Richelle Mead (The Fiery Heart (Bloodlines, #4))
Kästner was one reason I called my book barge the Literary Apothecary,” said Perdu. “I wanted to treat feelings that are not recognized as afflictions and are never diagnosed by doctors. All those little feelings and emotions no therapist is interested in, because they are apparently too minor and intangible. The feeling that washes over you when another summer nears its end. Or when you recognize that you haven’t got your whole life left to find out where you belong. Or the slight sense of grief when a friendship doesn’t develop as you thought, and you have to continue your search for a lifelong companion. Or those birthday morning blues. Nostalgia for the air of your childhood. Things like that.
Nina George (The Little Paris Bookshop)
Maybe my movie isn't over, I say, because sometimes moviemakers trick the audience with a false bad ending, and just when you think the movie is going to end badly, something dramatic happens, which leads to the happy ending. This seems like a good spot for something dramatic to happen, especially since it's my birthday.
Matthew Quick (The Silver Linings Playbook)
London The Institute Year of Our Lord 1878 “Mother, Father, my chwaer fach, It’s my seventeenth birthday today. I know that to write to you is to break the law, I know that I will likely tear this letter into pieces when it is finished. As I have done on all my birthdays past since I was twelve. But I write anyway, to commemorate the occasion - the way some make yearly pilgrimages to a grave, to remember the death of a loved one. For are we not dead to each other? I wonder if when you woke this morning you remembered that today, seventeen years ago, you had a son? I wonder if you think of me and imagine my life here in the Institute in London? I doubt you could imagine it. It is so very different from our house surrounded by mountains, and the great clear blue sky and the endless green. Here, everything is black and gray and brown, and the sunsets are painted in smoke and blood. I wonder if you worry that I am lonely or, as Mother always used to, that I am cold, that I have gone out into the rain again without a hat? No one here worries about those details. There are so many things that could kill us at any moment; catching a chill hardly seems important. I wonder if you knew that I could hear you that day you came for me, when I was twelve. I crawled under the bed to block out the sound of you crying my name, but I heard you. I heard mother call for her fach, her little one. I bit my hands until they bled but I did not come down. And, eventually, Charlotte convinced you to go away. I thought you might come again but you never did. Herondales are stubborn like that. I remember the great sighs of relief you would both give each time the Council came to ask me if I wished to join the Nephilim and leave my family, and each time I said no and I send them away. I wonder if you knew I was tempted by the idea of a life of glory, of fighting, of killing to protect as a man should. It is in our blood - the call to the seraph and the stele, to marks and to monsters. I wonder why you left the Nephilim, Father? I wonder why Mother chose not to Ascend and to become a Shadowhunter? Is it because you found them cruel or cold? I have no fathom side. Charlotte, especially, is kind to me, little knowing how much I do not deserve it. Henry is mad as a brush, but a good man. He would have made Ella laugh. There is little good to be said about Jessamine, but she is harmless. As little as there is good to say about her, there is as much good to say about Jem: He is the brother Father always thought I should have. Blood of my blood - though we are no relation. Though I might have lost everything else, at least I have gained one thing in his friendship. And we have a new addition to our household too. Her name is Tessa. A pretty name, is it not? When the clouds used to roll over the mountains from the ocean? That gray is the color of her eyes. And now I will tell you a terrible truth, since I never intend to send this letter. I came here to the Institute because I had nowhere else to go. I did not expect it to ever be home, but in the time I have been here I have discovered that I am a true Shadowhunter. In some way my blood tells me that this is what I was born to do.If only I had known before and gone with the Clave the first time they asked me, perhaps I could have saved Ella’s life. Perhaps I could have saved my own. Your Son, Will
Cassandra Clare (Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices, #2))
You know who you remind me of? The kid cop in Lethal Weapon 3. You know, the one who says, 'it's my twenty-first birthday today', and right away you know he's dead meat?
Jennifer Crusie (Getting Rid of Bradley)
Someone asked me when is my birthday? The poet inside me replied, "My birthday is on the last day of the year, It's 31st December my dear!
Anamika Mishra
I made a t-shirt that says, "Today's my birthday" on it, so that I can ask for hugs from strangers and point to the text on my tee as the reason why they should oblige. It's not a once-a-year t-shirt, as I wear it every Tuesday.
Jarod Kintz (This Book is Not for Sale)
When it’s time to leave, we put on our shoes, kiss Daddy good-bye, and tumble out the front door. Waiting for us on the street in front of his car is Peter with a bouquet of cellophane-wrapped pink carnations. “Happy birthday, kid,” he says. Kitty’s eyes bulge. “Are those for me?” He laughs. “Who else would they be for? Hurry and get in the car.” Kitty turns to me, her eyes bright, her smile as wide as her face. I’m smiling too. “Are you coming too, Lara Jean?” I shake my head. “No, there’s only room for two.” “You’re my only girl today, kid,” Peter says, and Kitty runs to him and snatches the flowers out of his hand. Gallantly, he opens the door for her. He shuts it and turns and winks at me. “Don’t be jealous, Covey.” I’ve never liked him more than in this moment.
Jenny Han (P.S. I Still Love You (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #2))
There was a table laid with jellies and trifles, with a party hat beside each place, and a birthday cake with seven candles on it in the center of the table. The cake had a book drawn on it, in icing. My mother, who had organized the party, told me that the lady at the bakery said that they had never put a book on a birthday cake before, and that mostly for boys it was footballs or spaceships. I was their first book.
Neil Gaiman (The Ocean at the End of the Lane)
Console yourself knowing that, should you ever punch me while wearing it, you’ll probably take my eye out. And I’d very much like you to. Wear it, that is. Not punch me.” “Where did you get this thing?” “My mother gave it to me before she left. It’s the Lantsov emerald. She was wearing it at my birthday dinner the night we were attacked. Curiously enough, that was not the worst birthday I’ve had.” “No?” “When I was ten, my parents hired a clown.
Leigh Bardugo (Ruin and Rising (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy, #3))
It's my birthday today. I'm not 17 anymore. The 17 Janis Ian sang about where one learns the truth. But what she failed to mention is that you keep on learning truths after 17 and I want to keep on learning truths till the day I die.
Melina Marchetta (Looking for Alibrandi)
It’s my birthday, who could be calling me? Probably my clone, wondering why he hasn’t been born yet.
Jarod Kintz (This Book Has No Title)
Shepley walked out of his bedroom pulling a T-shirt over his head. His eyebrows pushed together. “Did they just leave?” “Yeah,” I said absently, rinsing my cereal bowl and dumping Abby’s leftover oatmeal in the sink. She’d barely touched it. “Well, what the hell? Mare didn’t even say goodbye.” “You knew she was going to class. Quit being a cry baby.” Shepley pointed to his chest. “I’m the cry baby? Do you remember last night?” “Shut up.” “That’s what I thought.” He sat on the couch and slipped on his sneakers. “Did you ask Abby about her birthday?” “She didn’t say much, except that she’s not into birthdays.” “So what are we doing?” “Throwing her a party.” Shepley nodded, waiting for me to explain. “I thought we’d surprise her. Invite some of our friends over and have America take her out for a while.” Shepley put on his white ball cap, pulling it down so low over his brows I couldn’t see his eyes. “She can manage that. Anything else?” “How do you feel about a puppy?” Shepley laughed once. “It’s not my birthday, bro.” I walked around the breakfast bar and leaned my hip against the stool. “I know, but she lives in the dorms. She can’t have a puppy.” “Keep it here? Seriously? What are we going to do with a dog?” “I found a Cairn Terrier online. It’s perfect.” “A what?” “Pidge is from Kansas. It’s the same kind of dog Dorothy had in the Wizard of Oz.” Shepley’s face was blank. “The Wizard of Oz.” “What? I liked the scarecrow when I was a little kid, shut the fuck up.” “It’s going to crap every where, Travis. It’ll bark and whine and … I don’t know.” “So does America … minus the crapping.” Shepley wasn’t amused. “I’ll take it out and clean up after it. I’ll keep it in my room. You won’t even know it’s here.” “You can’t keep it from barking.” “Think about it. You gotta admit it’ll win her over.” Shepley smiled. “Is that what this is all about? You’re trying to win over Abby?” My brows pulled together. “Quit it.” His smile widened. “You can get the damn dog…” I grinned with victory. “…if you admit you have feelings for Abby.” I frowned in defeat. “C’mon, man!” “Admit it,” Shepley said, crossing his arms. What a tool. He was actually going to make me say it. I looked to the floor, and everywhere else except Shepley’s smug ass smile. I fought it for a while, but the puppy was fucking brilliant. Abby would flip out (in a good way for once), and I could keep it at the apartment. She’d want to be there every day. “I like her,” I said through my teeth. Shepley held his hand to his ear. “What? I couldn’t quite hear you.” “You’re an asshole! Did you hear that?” Shepley crossed his arms. “Say it.” “I like her, okay?” “Not good enough.” “I have feelings for her. I care about her. A lot. I can’t stand it when she’s not around. Happy?” “For now,” he said, grabbing his backpack off the floor.
Jamie McGuire (Walking Disaster (Beautiful, #2))
Two thousand years ago the night sky looked completely different, and so when you get right down to it, the Greek conceptions of star signs as related to birth dates are grossly inaccurate for today's day and age. It's called the Line of Procession: back then the sun didn't set in Taurus, but in Gemini. A September 24 birthday didn't mean you were a Libra, but a Virgo. And there was a thirteenth zodiac constellation, Ophiuchus the Serpent Bearer, which rose between Sagittarius and Scorpio for only four days. The reason it's all off kilter? The earth's axis wobbles. Life isn't nearly as stable as we want it to be.
Jodi Picoult (My Sister’s Keeper)
For Jenn At 12 years old I started bleeding with the moon and beating up boys who dreamed of becoming astronauts. I fought with my knuckles white as stars, and left bruises the shape of Salem. There are things we know by heart, and things we don't. At 13 my friend Jen tried to teach me how to blow rings of smoke. I'd watch the nicotine rising from her lips like halos, but I could never make dying beautiful. The sky didn't fill with colors the night I convinced myself veins are kite strings you can only cut free. I suppose I love this life, in spite of my clenched fist. I open my palm and my lifelines look like branches from an Aspen tree, and there are songbirds perched on the tips of my fingers, and I wonder if Beethoven held his breath the first time his fingers touched the keys the same way a soldier holds his breath the first time his finger clicks the trigger. We all have different reasons for forgetting to breathe. But my lungs remember the day my mother took my hand and placed it on her belly and told me the symphony beneath was my baby sister's heartbeat. And I knew life would tremble like the first tear on a prison guard's hardened cheek, like a prayer on a dying man's lips, like a vet holding a full bottle of whisky like an empty gun in a war zone… just take me just take me Sometimes the scales themselves weigh far too much, the heaviness of forever balancing blue sky with red blood. We were all born on days when too many people died in terrible ways, but you still have to call it a birthday. You still have to fall for the prettiest girl on the playground at recess and hope she knows you can hit a baseball further than any boy in the whole third grade and I've been running for home through the windpipe of a man who sings while his hands playing washboard with a spoon on a street corner in New Orleans where every boarded up window is still painted with the words We're Coming Back like a promise to the ocean that we will always keep moving towards the music, the way Basquait slept in a cardboard box to be closer to the rain. Beauty, catch me on your tongue. Thunder, clap us open. The pupils in our eyes were not born to hide beneath their desks. Tonight lay us down to rest in the Arizona desert, then wake us washing the feet of pregnant women who climbed across the border with their bellies aimed towards the sun. I know a thousand things louder than a soldier's gun. I know the heartbeat of his mother. Don't cover your ears, Love. Don't cover your ears, Life. There is a boy writing poems in Central Park and as he writes he moves and his bones become the bars of Mandela's jail cell stretching apart, and there are men playing chess in the December cold who can't tell if the breath rising from the board is their opponents or their own, and there's a woman on the stairwell of the subway swearing she can hear Niagara Falls from her rooftop in Brooklyn, and I'm remembering how Niagara Falls is a city overrun with strip malls and traffic and vendors and one incredibly brave river that makes it all worth it. Ya'll, I know this world is far from perfect. I am not the type to mistake a streetlight for the moon. I know our wounds are deep as the Atlantic. But every ocean has a shoreline and every shoreline has a tide that is constantly returning to wake the songbirds in our hands, to wake the music in our bones, to place one fearless kiss on the mouth of that brave river that has to run through the center of our hearts to find its way home.
Andrea Gibson
My hands were on you, too,” she says. And then she pulls the door open and walks out, closing it gently behind her. I stare after her, the empty space making me suddenly want her back. “Don’t say things like that,” I mumble to an empty house. If I know you want it, too, how will I be able to resist you?
Penelope Douglas (Birthday Girl)
Perfect! You guys are the same age. I bet you have a lot in common.” Classic adult logic. Reid and I are vaguely the same age, so of course we’re basically soul mates. It’s like horoscopes. Somehow I’m supposed to believe that I’m similar in some meaningful way to every single person born on my birthday. Or every single Sagittarius. I mean, I barely have anything in common with Cassie, and we were born six minutes apart.
Becky Albertalli (The Upside of Unrequited (Simonverse, #2))
Principal Brill, those costumes were made by my mother. My mother, who has stage four small-cell lung cancer. My mother, who will never watch her little boy celebrate another Halloween again. My mother, who will more than likely experience a year of 'lasts'. Last Christmas. Last birthday. Last Easter. And if God is willing, her last Mother's Day. My mother, who when asked by her nine-year-old son if he could be her cancer for Halloween, had no choice but to make him the best cancerous tumor-riden lung costume she could. So if you think it's so offensive, I suggest you drive them home yourself and tell my mother to her face. Do you need my address?
Colleen Hoover (Slammed (Slammed, #1))
I sip my coffee. I look at the mountain, which is still doing its tricks, as you look at a still-beautiful face belonging to a person who was once your lover in another country years ago: with fond nostalgia, and recognition, but no real feelings save a secret astonishment that you are now strangers. Thanks. For the memories. It is ironic that the one thing that all religions recognize as separating us from our creator--our very self-consciousness--is also the one thing that divides us from our fellow creatures. It was a bitter birthday present from evolution, cutting us off at both ends.
Annie Dillard (Pilgrim at Tinker Creek)
Her death the dividing mark: Before and After. And though it’s a bleak thing to admit all these years later, still I’ve never met anyone who made me feel loved the way she did. Everything came alive in her company; she cast a charmed theatrical light about her so that to see anything through her eyes was to see it in brighter colours than ordinary – I remember a few weeks before she died, eating a late supper with her in an Italian restaurant down in the Village, and how she grasped my sleeve at the sudden, almost painful loveliness of a birthday cake with lit candles being carried in procession from the kitchen, faint circle of light wavering in across the dark ceiling and then the cake set down to blaze amidst the family, beatifying an old lady’s face, smiles all round, waiters stepping away with their hands behind their backs – just an ordinary birthday dinner you might see anywhere in an inexpensive downtown restaurant, and I’m sure I wouldn’t even remember it had she not died so soon after, but I thought about it again and again after her death and indeed I’ll probably think about it all my life: that candlelit circle, a tableau vivant of the daily, commonplace happiness that was lost when I lost her
Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch)
I KNEW IT WAS OVER when tonight you couldn't make the phone ring when you used to make the sun rise when trees used to throw themselves in front of you to be paper for love letters that was how i knew i had to do it swaddle the kids we never had against january's cold slice bundle them in winter clothes they never needed so i could drop them off at my mom's even though she lives on the other side of the country and at this late west coast hour is assuredly east coast sleeping peacefully her house was lit like a candle the way homes should be warm and golden and home and the kids ran in and jumped at the bichon frise named lucky that she never had they hugged the dog it wriggled and the kids were happy yours and mine the ones we never had and my mom was grand maternal, which is to say, with style that only comes when you've seen enough to know grace like when to pretend it's christmas or a birthday so she lit her voice with tiny lights and pretended she didn't see me crying as i drove away to the hotel connected to the bar where i ordered the cheapest whisky they had just because it shares your first name because they don't make a whisky called baby and i only thought what i got was what i ordered i toasted the hangover inevitable as sun that used to rise in your name i toasted the carnivals we never went to and the things you never won for me the ferris wheels we never kissed on and all the dreams between us that sat there like balloons on a carney's board waiting to explode with passion but slowly deflated hung slave under the pin- prick of a tack hung heads down like lovers when it doesn't work, like me at last call after too many cheap too many sweet too much whisky makes me sick, like the smell of cheap, like the smell of the dead like the cheap, dead flowers you never sent that i never threw out of the window of a car i never really owned
Daphne Gottlieb (Final Girl)
You can’t tell a little kid that you swear to God over something and then not do it. You may effectively ruin my childhood.” He looks off into nothing, a wistful expression on his face. “Gosh, think of the therapy bills. Not to mention how I’ll probably never be able to have a normal relationship when I’m an adult. I’ll live with you forever and become a cat lady.” I cock an eyebrow at him. “You hate cats.” He rolls his eyes. “Well, yeah, now I do. But I won’t have a choice. It’ll be inevitable. And I’ll probably have to throw birthday parties for my feline companions where I bake them cakes out of Fancy Feast. All because you went back on your God swear.
T.J. Klune (Bear, Otter, and the Kid (Bear, Otter, and the Kid, #1))
But I’ve kept first of March as my birthday as I like to tease Zed about dating an older woman. And my parents wouldn’t understand if I told them about the soulfinder bond and tried to change it.” “They don’t know?” “Well, I think they’ve picked up that there’s something special between Zed and me but I’m not sure how I’d even start to explain to non-savants. I was exactly overjoyed when Zed filled me in about it all the first time.” “What did you do?” “Thumped him with a shopping bag and told him he was a jerk.” “Ouch.
Joss Stirling (Stealing Phoenix (Benedicts, #2))
Don't do this to me, Eliza. Please. I need you.” I looked at Paul. He was crying. “You don't need me,” I said, wondering whether or not I believed it. He gripped my face and kissed me. But it was a hard, painful kiss. A severe and bitter kiss. A kiss that seemed so black, so final, it was like death. “Happy fucking Birthday.
Tiffanie DeBartolo (How to Kill a Rock Star)
I put my hand over my erection and turned away. "No. That's not for you. I have to go to the bathroom." "Well get up! I have a whole day of birthday activities planned and you're spoiling my fun with your sleeping...and your pee boner." I laughed. "I hate it when you call it that." "Yeah? Well I hate that I can't play with it. Why the hell is it so hard if I'm not supposed to play with it? That's false advertising, Mister.
C.J. Roberts (Epilogue (The Dark Duet, #3))
It was Friday, July 24, 1992, when I stepped on the train. Every year I think of it. I see it as my real birthday: the birth of me as a person, making decisions about my life on my own. I was not running away from Islam, or to democracy. I didn't have any big ideas then. I was just a young girl and wanted some way to be me; so I bolted into the unknown.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali (Infidel)
My mom was never the type to write me long letters or birthday cards. We never got mani-pedis together, she never gave me a locket with our picture in it. She wouldn't tell me I looked beautiful, or soothe me when a boy broke my heart. But she was there. She kept me safe. She did her best to make me tough. She fed me the most delicious home-cooked meals. For lunch, she'd pack me rare sliced steak over white rice and steamed broccoli. She sent me to private school from kindergarten through twelfth grade. She is still there for me. She will always be there for me, as long as she's able. That's a great mom.
Ali Wong (Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets, & Advice for Living Your Best Life)
Lowering his voice, he said, "In America we have a custom. When you're given presents for your birthday, you're supposed to open them and say thank you." Tatiana nervously looked down at the present. "Thank you." Gifts were not something she was used to. Wrapped gifts? Unheard of, even when they came wrapped only in plain brown paper. "No. Open first. Then say thank you." She smiled. "What do I do? Do I take the paper off?" "Yes. You tear it off." "And then what?" "And then you throw it away." "The whole present or just the paper?" Slowly he said, "Just the paper." "But you wrapped it so nicely. Why would I throw it away?" "It's just paper." "If it's just paper, why did you wrap it?" "Will you please just open my present?" said Alexander
Paullina Simons (The Bronze Horseman (The Bronze Horseman, #1))
Now give me a kiss, say you love me and off you go." "Sure, Aunt Lu," I said, and I gave her the kiss she wanted. Then I ran out and caught my bus. I didn't say I loved her. I guess I did. But asking someone to say they love you--and she always asked--is like buying yourself a birthday present. It's more than likely exactly what you want. But it must make you feel awfully sad to get it.
Avi (Sometimes I Think I Hear My Name)
I never liked lobster in my life, and mainly because I’d never tried it. On my eightieth birthday I tried it. I can’t say I’m greatly excited over lobster still, but I have no doubt as to its taste now, and I don’t fear it. I dare say death will be a lobster, too, and I can come to terms with it.
Ray Bradbury (Dandelion Wine (Green Town, #1))
When we were arguing on my twenty-fourth birthday, she left the kitchen, came back with a pistol, and fired it at me five times from right across the table. But she missed. It wasn't my life she was after. It was more. She wanted to eat my heart and be lost in the desert with what she'd done, she wanted to fall on her knees and give birth from it, she wanted to hurt me as only a child can be hurt by its mother.
Denis Johnson (Jesus’ Son)
What are you giving him?" She grins smugly. "Only the greatest gift a woman can give the man she loves." I take my best guess. "Anal?" Kate covers her eyes. Dee-Dee's smile turns into a scowl. "No--pig. I'm giving him the gift of health. My acupuncturist cleared her schedule. She's going to work on Matthew the whole day." I laugh. Because this explains so much. "That's your gift? Really? It's the guy's birthday and you're gonna make him get needles stuck in his face all day? What are you gonna get him for Christmas - a colonoscopy?
Emma Chase (Tied (Tangled, #4))
Did I hear it's going to be someone's birthday?" a familiar male's voice said from behind me. I didnt even bother turning around and continued walking, but that didn't stop my nemesis from disturbing me. He jumped in front of me, blocking my way. "It's been a whole year, has it?" he asked in a syrupy tone. "Maybe this birthday I'll finally give you what you've always wanted.
Ellen Schreiber (Cryptic Cravings (Vampire Kisses, #8))
Raphael calls me every month,” said Ragnor. “Raphael knows that it is important to preserve good relations and maintain regular communication between the different Downworlder factions. I might add, Raphael always remembers important occasions in my life.” “I forgot your birthday one time sixty years ago!” said Magnus. “You need to let that go.” “It was fifty-eight years ago, for the record. And Raphael knows we need to maintain a united front against the Nephilim and not, for instance, sneak around with their underage sons,” Ragnor continued. “Alec is eighteen!” “Whatever,” said Ragnor. “Raphael would never date a Shadowhunter.” “Of course, why would he, when you two are in loooove?” Magnus asked. “‘Oooh, Raphael is always so professional.’ ‘Oooh, Raphael brought up the most interesting points in that meeting you forgot to attend.’ ‘Oooh, Raphael and I are planning a June wedding.’ Besides, Raphael would never date a Shadowhunter because Raphael has a policy of never doing anything that is awesome.
Cassandra Clare (What to Buy the Shadowhunter Who Has Everything (The Bane Chronicles, #8))
Interrupting what promised to be a long spate of fatherly advice, St. Vincent said in a clipped voice, “It’s not a love match. It’s a marriage of convenience, and there’s not enough warmth between us to light a birthday candle. Get on with it, if you please. Neither of us has had a proper sleep in two days.” Silence fell over the scene, with MacPhee and his two daughters appearing shocked by the brusque remarks. Then the blacksmith’s heavy brows lowered over his eyes in a scowl. “I don’t like ye,” he announced. St. Vincent regarded him with exasperation. “Neither does my bride-to-be. But since that’s not going to stop her from marrying me, it shouldn’t stop you either. Go on.
Lisa Kleypas (Devil in Winter (Wallflowers, #3))
PS, I want a stripper for my birthday,” GQ announces. “Just decided now. Get on it.” “I’ll make a couple calls,” Garrett promises, but the second his friend wanders off, he confides, “He’s not getting a stripper. We all chipped in to get him a new iPod. He dropped his in the koi pond behind Hartford House.” When I snicker, Garrett pounces like a mountain lion. “Holy shit. Was that a laugh? I didn’t think you were capable of showing amusement. Can you do it again and let me film it?” “I laugh all the time.” I pause. “Mostly at you, though.” He grabs his chest in mock pain as if I’ve shot him. “You’re terrible for a guy’s ego, y’know that?
Elle Kennedy (The Deal (Off-Campus, #1))
My family suffered. My hair turned up in every corner, every drawer, every meal. Even in the rice puddings Tessie made, covering each little bowl with wax paper before putting it away in the fridge--even into these prophylactically secure desserts my hair found its way! Jet black hairs wound themselves around bars of soap. They lay pressed like flower stems between the pages of books. They turned up in eyeglass cases, birthday cards, once--I swear--inside an egg Tessie had just cracked. The next-door neighbor's cat coughed up a hairball one day and the hair was not the cat's.
Jeffrey Eugenides (Middlesex)
And there’s nothing better than brothers. Friends are great, but they come and go. Lovers are fun, but kind of stupid, too. They say stupid things to each other and they ignore all their friends because they’re too busy staring, and they get jealous, and they have fights over dumb shit like who did the dishes last or why they can’t fold their fucking socks, and maybe the sex gets bad, or maybe they stop finding each other interesting, and then somebody bangs someone else, and everyone cries, and they see each other years later, and that person you once shared everything with is a total stranger you don’t even want to be around because it’s awkward. But brothers. Brothers never go away. That’s for life. And I know married folks are supposed to be for life, too, but they’re not always. Brothers you can’t get rid of. They get who you are, and what you like, and they don’t care who you sleep with or what mistakes you make, because brothers aren’t mixed up in that part of your life. They see you at your worst, and they don’t care. And even when you fight, it doesn’t matter so much, because they still have to say hi to you on your birthday, and by then, everybody’s forgotten about it, and you have cake together.” She nodded. “So as much as I love my present, and as nice as it is to get a thank you, I don’t need either of ’em. Nothing’s too much to ask when it comes to brothers.
Becky Chambers (The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1))
You are not to take it, if you please, as the saying of an ignorant man, when I express my opinion that such a book as ROBINSON CRUSOE never was written, and never will be written again. I have tried that book for years—generally in combination with a pipe of tobacco—and I have found it my friend in need in all the necessities of this mortal life. When my spirits are bad—ROBINSON CRUSOE. When I want advice—ROBINSON CRUSOE. In past times when my wife plagued me; in present times when I have had a drop too much—ROBINSON CRUSOE. I have worn out six stout ROBINSON CRUSOES with hard work in my service. On my lady's last birthday she gave me a seventh. I took a drop too much on the strength of it; and ROBINSON CRUSOE put me right again. Price four shillings and sixpence, bound in blue, with a picture into the bargain.
Wilkie Collins (The Moonstone)
I took a steadying breath. “Listen, I know we have a full night ahead of us, but I wanted to give you your birthday present.” “Oh, darling, you didn’t need to get me anything. Every day with you is a gift.” He leaned in and kissed me. “Well, I hadn’t planned on getting you a gift, but then something presented itself, so here we are.” “All right then,” he said, placing his glass on the ground. “I’m ready. Where is it?” “That’s the only problem,” I started. I felt my hands begin to shake. “It won’t actually arrive for another seven or eight months.” He smiled but squinted. “Eight months? What in the world could take . . .” As his words drifted away, so did his eyes, leaving my face and making their way to my stomach. He seemed to expect me to look different, for me to be as big as a house already. But I’d done my best to hide everything: the tiredness, the nausea, the sudden distaste for foods. He stared on and on, and I waited for him to smile or laugh or jump up and down. But he sat there, frozen to the point that it started to frighten me. “Maxon?” I reached out and touched his leg. “Maxon, are you all right?” He nodded, still watching my stomach.
Kiera Cass (The One (The Selection, #3))
My advice to women who habitually gravitate toward musicians is that they learn how to play an instrument and start making music themselves. Not only will they see that it's not that hard, but sometimes I think women just want to be the very thing they think they want to sleep with. Because if you're bright enough--no offense, Tawny Kitaen--sleeping with a musician probably won't be enough for you to feel good about yourself. Even if he writes you a song for your birthday. Don't you know that a musician who writes a song for you is like a baker you're dating making you a cake? Aim higher.
Julie Klausner (I Don't Care About Your Band: Lessons Learned from Indie Rockers, Trust Funders, Pornographers, Felons, Faux-Sensitive Hipsters, and Other Guys I've Dated)
I'm speechless.I think at the rooftops of Paris. he touches my cheek,pulling my gaze back to him.I suck in my breath. "Anna.I'm sorry for what happened in Luxembourg Gardens.Not because of the kiss-I've never had a kiss like that in my life-but because I didn't tell you why I was running away.I chased after Meredith because of you." Touch me again. Please,touch me again. "All I could think about was what that bastard did to you last Christmas. Toph never tried to explain or apologize. How could I do that to Mer? And I ought to have called you before I went to Ellie's,but I was so anxious to just end it,once and for all,that I wasn't thinking straight." I reach for him. "St. Clair-" He pulls back. "And that.Why don't you call me Etienne anymore?" "But...no one else calls you that.It was weird.Right?" "No.It wasn't." His expression saddens. "And every time you say 'St. Clair,' it's like you're rejecting me again." "I have never rejected you." "But you have.And for Dave." His tone is venomous. "And you rejected me for Ellie on my birthday. I don't understand.If you liked me so much,why didn't you break up with her?" He gazes at the river. "I've been confused. I've been so stupid." "Yes.You have." "I deserve that." "Yes.You do." I pause. "But I've been stupid,too.You were right.About...the alone thing.
Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1))
This is it, I think, this is it, right now, the present, this empty gas station, here, this western wind, this tang of coffee on the tongue, and I am petting the puppy, I am watching the mountain. And the second I verbalize this awareness in my brain, I cease to see the mountain or feel the puppy. I am opaque, so much black asphalt. But at the same second, the second I know I've lost it, I also realize that the puppy is still squirming on his back under my hand. Nothing has changed for him. He draws his legs down to stretch the skin taut so he feels every fingertip's stroke along his furred and arching side, his flank, his flung-back throat. I sip my coffee. I look at the mountain, which is still doing its tricks, as you look at a still-beautiful face belonging to a person who was once your lover in another country years ago: with fond nostalgia, and recognition, but no real feeling save a secret astonishment that you are now strangers. Thanks. For the memories. It is ironic that the one thing that all religions recognize as separating us from our creator--our very self-consciousness--is also the one thing that divides us from our fellow creatures. It was a bitter birthday present from evolution, cutting us off at both ends. I get in the car and drive home.
Annie Dillard
Bathing is even more embarrassing, because I have to strip down to my birthday suit in front of a nurse. Now, there are some things that never die, so even though I'm in my nineties my sap sometimes rises. I can't help it. They always pretend not to notice. They're trained that way, I suppose, although pretending not to notice is almost worse than noticing. It means they consider me nothing more than a harmless old man sporting a harmless old penis that still gets uppity once in a while. Although if one of them took it seriously and tried to do something about it, the shock would probably kill me.
Sara Gruen (Water for Elephants)
MOTHER – By Ted Kooser Mid April already, and the wild plums bloom at the roadside, a lacy white against the exuberant, jubilant green of new grass and the dusty, fading black of burned-out ditches. No leaves, not yet, only the delicate, star-petaled blossoms, sweet with their timeless perfume. You have been gone a month today and have missed three rains and one nightlong watch for tornadoes. I sat in the cellar from six to eight while fat spring clouds went somersaulting, rumbling east. Then it poured, a storm that walked on legs of lightning, dragging its shaggy belly over the fields. The meadowlarks are back, and the finches are turning from green to gold. Those same two geese have come to the pond again this year, honking in over the trees and splashing down. They never nest, but stay a week or two then leave. The peonies are up, the red sprouts, burning in circles like birthday candles, for this is the month of my birth, as you know, the best month to be born in, thanks to you, everything ready to burst with living. There will be no more new flannel nightshirts sewn on your old black Singer, no birthday card addressed in a shaky but businesslike hand. You asked me if I would be sad when it happened and I am sad. But the iris I moved from your house now hold in the dusty dry fists of their roots green knives and forks as if waiting for dinner, as if spring were a feast. I thank you for that. Were it not for the way you taught me to look at the world, to see the life at play in everything, I would have to be lonely forever.
Ted Kooser (Delights and Shadows)
Did you ever think our misfortune is directly related to your good fortune? Maybe the house your parents bought was on the market because the sellers didn't want my mama in the neighborhood. Maybe the good grades that eventually led you to law school were possible because your mama didn't have to work eighteen hours a day, and was there to read to you at night, or make sure you did your homework. How often do you remind yourself how lucky you are that you own your house, because you were able to build up equity through generations in a way families of color can't? How often do you open your mouth at work and think how awesome it is that no one's thinking you're speaking for everyone with the same skin color you have? How hard is it for you to find the greeting card for your baby's birthday with a picture of a child that has the same color skin as her? How many times have you seen a painting of Jesus that looks like you? Prejudice goes both ways, you know. There are people who suffer from it, and there are people who profit from it.
Jodi Picoult (Small Great Things)
it’s a terrible feeling when you first fall in love. your mind gets completely taken over, you can’t function properly anymore. the world turns into a dream place, nothing seems real. you forget your keys, no one seems to be talking English and even if they are you don’t care as you can’t hear what they’re saying anyway, and it doesn’t matter since your not really there. things you cared about before don’t seem to matter anymore and things you didn’t think you cared about suddenly do. I must become a brilliant cook, I don’t want to waste time seeing my friends when I could be with him, I feel no sympathy for all those people in India killed by an earthquake last night; what is the matter with me? It’s a kind of hell, but you feel like your in heaven. even your body goes out of control, you can’t eat, you don’t sleep properly, your legs turn to jelly as your not sure where the floor is anymore. you have butterflies permanently, not only in your tummy but all over your body - your hands, your shoulders, your chest, your eyes everything’s just a jangling mess of nerve endings tingling with fire. it makes you feel so alive. and yet its like being suffocated, you don’t seem to be able to see or hear anything real anymore, its like people are speaking to you through treacle, and so you stay in your cosy place with him, the place that only you two understand. occasionally your forced to come up for air by your biggest enemy, Real Life, so you do the minimum then head back down under your love blanket for more, knowing it’s uncomfortable but compulsory. and then, once you think you’ve got him, the panic sets in. what if he goes off me? what if I blow it, say the wrong thing? what if he meets someone better than me? Prettier, thinner, funnier, more like him? who doesn’t bite there nails? perhaps he doesn’t feel the same, maybe this is all in my head and this is just a quick fling for him. why did I tell him that stupid story about not owning up that I knew who spilt the ink on the teachers bag and so everyone was punished for it? does he think I'm a liar? what if I'm not very good at that blow job thing and he’s just being patient with me? he says he loves me; yes, well, we can all say words, can’t we? perhaps he’s just being polite. of course you do your best to keep all this to yourself, you don’t want him to think you're a neurotic nutcase, but now when he’s away doing Real Life it’s agony, your mind won’t leave you alone, it tortures you and examines your every moment spent together, pointing out how stupid you’ve been to allow yourself to get this carried away, how insane you are to imagine someone would feel like that about you. dad did his best to reassure me, but nothing he said made a difference - it was like I wanted to see Simon, but didn’t want him to see me.
Annabel Giles (Birthday Girls)
I was in the fifth grade the first time I thought about turning thirty. My best friend Darcy and I came across a perpetual calendar in the back of the phone book, where you could look up any date in the future, and by using this little grid, determine what the day of the week would be. So we located our birthdays in the following year, mine in May and hers in September. I got Wednesday, a school night. She got a Friday. A small victory, but typical. Darcy was always the lucky one. Her skin tanned more quickly, her hair feathered more easily, and she didn't need braces. Her moonwalk was superior, as were her cart-wheels and her front handsprings (I couldn't handspring at all). She had a better sticker collection. More Michael Jackson pins. Forenze sweaters in turquoise, red, and peach (my mother allowed me none- said they were too trendy and expensive). And a pair of fifty-dollar Guess jeans with zippers at the ankles (ditto). Darcy had double-pierced ears and a sibling- even if it was just a brother, it was better than being an only child as I was. But at least I was a few months older and she would never quite catch up. That's when I decided to check out my thirtieth birthday- in a year so far away that it sounded like science fiction. It fell on a Sunday, which meant that my dashing husband and I would secure a responsible baby-sitter for our two (possibly three) children on that Saturday evening, dine at a fancy French restaurant with cloth napkins, and stay out past midnight, so technically we would be celebrating on my actual birthday. I would have just won a big case- somehow proven that an innocent man didn't do it. And my husband would toast me: "To Rachel, my beautiful wife, the mother of my chidren and the finest lawyer in Indy." I shared my fantasy with Darcy as we discovered that her thirtieth birthday fell on a Monday. Bummer for her. I watched her purse her lips as she processed this information. "You know, Rachel, who cares what day of the week we turn thirty?" she said, shrugging a smooth, olive shoulder. "We'll be old by then. Birthdays don't matter when you get that old." I thought of my parents, who were in their thirties, and their lackluster approach to their own birthdays. My dad had just given my mom a toaster for her birthday because ours broke the week before. The new one toasted four slices at a time instead of just two. It wasn't much of a gift. But my mom had seemed pleased enough with her new appliance; nowhere did I detect the disappointment that I felt when my Christmas stash didn't quite meet expectations. So Darcy was probably right. Fun stuff like birthdays wouldn't matter as much by the time we reached thirty. The next time I really thought about being thirty was our senior year in high school, when Darcy and I started watching ths show Thirty Something together. It wasn't our favorite- we preferred cheerful sit-coms like Who's the Boss? and Growing Pains- but we watched it anyway. My big problem with Thirty Something was the whiny characters and their depressing issues that they seemed to bring upon themselves. I remember thinking that they should grow up, suck it up. Stop pondering the meaning of life and start making grocery lists. That was back when I thought my teenage years were dragging and my twenties would surealy last forever. Then I reached my twenties. And the early twenties did seem to last forever. When I heard acquaintances a few years older lament the end of their youth, I felt smug, not yet in the danger zone myself. I had plenty of time..
Emily Giffin (Something Borrowed (Darcy & Rachel, #1))
Pink Balloons My name is Olivia King I am five years old My mother bought me a balloon. I remember the day she walked through the front door with it. The curly hot pink ribbon trickling down her arm, wrapped around her wrist . She was smiling at me as she untied the ribbon and wrapped it around my hand. "Here Livie, I bought this for you." She called me Livie. I was so happy . I'd never had a balloon before. I mean, I always saw balloon wrapped around other kids wrist in the parking lot of Wal-Mart , but I never dreamed I would have my very own. My very own pink balloon. I was excited! So ecstatic! So thrilled! i couldn't believe my mother bought me something! She'd never bought me anything before! I played with it for hours . It was full of helium and it danced and swayed and floated as I drug it around from room to room with me, thinking of places to take it. Thinking of places the balloon had never been before. I took it in the bathroom , the closet , the laundry room , the kitchen , the living room . I wanted my new best friend to see everything I saw! I took it to my mother's bedroom! My mothers Bedroom? Where I wasn't supposed to be? With my pink balloon... I covered my ears as she screamed at me, wiping the evidence off her nose! She slapped me across the face as she told me how bad I was! How much I misbehaved! How I never listened! She shoved me into the hallways and slammed the door, locking my pink balloon inside with her. I wanted him back! He was my best friend! Not her! The pink ribbon was still tied around my wrist so I pulled and pulled , trying to get my new best friend away from her. And it popped. My name is Eddie. I'm seventeen years old. My birthday is next week. I'll be big One-Eight. My foster dad is buying me these boots I've been wanting. I'm sure my friends will take me out to eat. My boyfriend will buy me a gift, maybe even take me to a movie. I'll even get a nice little card from my foster care worker, wishing me a happy eighteenth birthday, informing me I've aged out of the system. I'll have a good time. I know I will. But there's one thing I know for sure I better not get any shitty ass pink balloons!
Colleen Hoover (Slammed (Slammed, #1))
Time is so subjective, its measure totally dependent upon the means by which we mark its passage. When we follow the conventional milestones, meting out our lives with birthdays and graduations and anniversaries and funerals, we are left with voids along the way-vast stretches of empty space lost forever, never to be filled. As time grows short, the significance of each moment increases, until finally every heartbeat is of monumental importance. Or so it seems at first. I have discovered, almost too late, that time is not just arbitrary, but of no great consequence after all. She has taught me that a touch is a lifetime, a kiss forever, and that passion will transcend the limitations of fragile existence to span eternity. I no longer worry about the beat of my heart-I need only the memory of her to live on. My soul, my very being, pulses with wonder at the places within me that she has filled, with gratitude for the wounds she has healed, and with everlasting devotion for the love she has given. In her arms, I found passion and peace and a place to rest. No matter where I travel or what road I take to reach my detestation, I will always have the comfort of her hand in my and the soft whisper of her voice reminding me that I do not need to be afraid. This, this has always been my secret desire, and now I need search no further. I am Loved, and I am content,
Radclyffe (Love's Masquerade)
My father then said, ‘Mike, I’ve told you how dinosaurs went extinct. An asteroid crashed into the Earth. The world first became a sea of fire, and then sank into a prolonged period of darkness and coldness.… One night, you woke from a nightmare, saying that you had dreamt that you were back in that terrifying age. Let me tell you now what I wanted to tell you that night: If you really lived during the Cretaceous Period, you’d be fortunate. The period we live in now is far more frightening. Right now, species on Earth are going extinct far faster than during the late Cretaceous. Now is truly the age of mass extinctions! So, my child, what you’re seeing is nothing. This is only an insignificant episode in a much vaster process. We can have no sea birds, but we can’t be without oil. Can you imagine life without oil? Your last birthday, I gave you that lovely Ferrari and promised you that you could drive it after you turned fifteen. But without oil, it would be a pile of junk metal and you’d never drive it. Right now, if you want to visit your grandfather, you can get there on my personal jet and cross the ocean in a dozen hours or so. But without oil, you’d have to tumble in a sailboat for more than a month.… These are the rules of the game of civilization: The first priority is to guarantee the existence of the human race and their comfortable life. Everything else is secondary.
Liu Cixin (The Three-Body Problem (Remembrance of Earth’s Past, #1))
GO BACK TO DALLAS!” the man sitting somewhere behind us yelled again, and the hold Aiden still had on the back of my neck tightened imperceptibly. “Don’t bother, Van,” he demanded, pokerfaced. “I’m not going to say anything,” I said, even as I reached up with the hand furthest away from him and put it behind my head, extending my middle finger in hopes that the idiot yelling would see it. Those brown eyes blinked. “You just flipped him off, didn’t you?” Yeah, my mouth dropped open. “How do you know when I do that?” My tone was just as astonished as it should be. “I know everything.” He said it like he really believed it. I groaned and cast him a long look. “You really want to play this game?” “I play games for a living, Van.” I couldn’t stand him sometimes. My eyes crossed in annoyance. “When is my birthday?” He stared at me. “See?” “March third, Muffin.” What in the hell? “See?” he mocked me. Who was this man and where was the Aiden I knew? “How old am I?” I kept going hesitantly. “Twenty-six.” “How do you know this?” I asked him slowly. “I pay attention,” The Wall of Winnipeg stated. I was starting to think he was right. Then, as if to really seal the deal I didn’t know was resting between us, he said, “You like waffles, root beer, and Dr. Pepper. You only drink light beer. You put cinnamon in your coffee. You eat too much cheese. Your left knee always aches. You have three sisters I hope I never meet and one brother. You were born in El Paso. You’re obsessed with your work. You start picking at the corner of your eye when you feel uncomfortable or fool around with your glasses. You can’t see things up close, and you’re terrified of the dark.” He raised those thick eyebrows. “Anything else?” Yeah, I only managed to say one word. “No.” How did he know all this stuff? How? Unsure of how I was feeling, I coughed and started to reach up to mess with my glasses before I realized what I was doing and snuck my hand under my thigh, ignoring the knowing look on Aiden’s dumb face. “I know a lot about you too. Don’t think you’re cool or special.” “I know, Van.” His thumb massaged me again for all of about three seconds. “You know more about me than anyone else does.” A sudden memory of the night in my bed where he’d admitted his fear as a kid pecked at my brain, relaxing me, making me smile. “I really do, don’t I?” The expression on his face was like he was torn between being okay with the idea and being completely against it. Leaning in close to him again, I winked. “I’m taking your love of MILF porn to the grave with me, don’t worry.” He stared at me, unblinking, unflinching. And then: “I’ll cut the power at the house when you’re in the shower,” he said so evenly, so crisply, it took me a second to realize he was threatening me… And when it finally did hit me, I burst out laughing, smacking his inner thigh without thinking twice about it. “Who does that?” Aiden Graves, husband of mine, said it, “Me.” Then the words were out of my mouth before I could control them. “And you know what I’ll do? I’ll go sneak into bed with you, so ha.” What the hell had I just said? What in the ever-loving hell had I just said? “If you think I’m supposed to be scared…” He leaned forward so our faces were only a couple of inches away. The hand on my neck and the finger pads lining the back of my ear stayed where they were. “I’m not
Mariana Zapata (The Wall of Winnipeg and Me)
She’s so, everybody’s so stupid, you know? Christian too, Todd, whoever says stupid things, you’re from different worlds, like you dropped here in a spaceship.” I had to say something. “Yeah,” I said. “So—?” “So they can fuck themselves,” you said. “I don’t care, you know?” I felt a smile on my face, tears too. “Because Min, I know, OK? I’m stupid I know, about faggy movies, sorry, fuck, I’m stupid about that too. No offense. Ha! But I want to do it, Min. Any party you want, anything, not go to bonfires. Whatever you want to do, for the eighty-ninth birthday, even though I can’t remember the name.” “Lottie Carson.” I stepped close to you, but you held your hands out, you weren’t done. “And they’ll say things, right? I know they will, of course they will. Your friends are, probably, too, right?” “Yes,” I said. I felt furious, or furiously something, pacing with you and waiting to fall into your moving arms. “Yes,” you said, with a huge grin. “Let’s stay together, I want to be with you. Let’s. Yes?” “Yes.” “Because I don’t care, virginity, different, arty, weird parties with bad cake, that igloo. Just together, Min.” “Yes.” “Like everyone is telling us not to be.” “Yes!” “Because Min, listen, I love you.” I gaped. “Don’t, you don’t have to—I know it’s crazy, Joan says I’ve really lost it, but—” “I love you too,” I said.
Daniel Handler (Why We Broke Up)
Reminiscing in the drizzle of Portland, I notice the ring that’s landed on your finger, a massive insect of glitter, a chandelier shining at the end of a long tunnel. Thirteen years ago, you hid the hurt in your voice under a blanket and said there’s two kinds of women—those you write poems about and those you don’t. It’s true. I never brought you a bouquet of sonnets, or served you haiku in bed. My idea of courtship was tapping Jane’s Addiction lyrics in Morse code on your window at three A.M., whiskey doing push-ups on my breath. But I worked within the confines of my character, cast as the bad boy in your life, the Magellan of your dark side. We don’t have a past so much as a bunch of electricity and liquor, power never put to good use. What we had together makes it sound like a virus, as if we caught one another like colds, and desire was merely a symptom that could be treated with soup and lots of sex. Gliding beside you now, I feel like the Benjamin Franklin of monogamy, as if I invented it, but I’m still not immune to your waterfall scent, still haven’t developed antibodies for your smile. I don’t know how long regret existed before humans stuck a word on it. I don’t know how many paper towels it would take to wipe up the Pacific Ocean, or why the light of a candle being blown out travels faster than the luminescence of one that’s just been lit, but I do know that all our huffing and puffing into each other’s ears—as if the brain was a trick birthday candle—didn’t make the silence any easier to navigate. I’m sorry all the kisses I scrawled on your neck were written in disappearing ink. Sometimes I thought of you so hard one of your legs would pop out of my ear hole, and when I was sleeping, you’d press your face against the porthole of my submarine. I’m sorry this poem has taken thirteen years to reach you. I wish that just once, instead of skidding off the shoulder blade’s precipice and joyriding over flesh, we’d put our hands away like chocolate to be saved for later, and deciphered the calligraphy of each other’s eyelashes, translated a paragraph from the volumes of what couldn’t be said.
Jeffrey McDaniel
The next morning I told Mom I couldn't go to school again. She asked what was wrong. I told her, “The same thing that’s always wrong.” “You’re sick?” “I'm sad.” “About Dad?” “About everything.” She sat down on the bed next to me, even though I knew she was in a hurry. “What's everything?” I started counting on my fingers: “The meat and dairy products in our refrigerator, fistfights, car accidents, Larry–” “Who's Larry?” “The homeless guy in front of the Museum of Natural History who always says ‘I promise it’s for food’ after he asks for money.” She turned around and I zipped her dress while I kept counting. “How you don’t know who Larry is, even though you probably see him all the time, how Buckminster just sleeps and eats and goes to the bathroom and has no ‘raison d’etre’, the short ugly guy with no neck who takes tickets at the IMAX theater, how the sun is going to explode one day, how every birthday I always get at least one thing I already have, poor people who get fat because they eat junk food because it’s cheaper…” That was when I ran out of fingers, but my list was just getting started, and I wanted it to be long, because I knew she wouldn't leave while I was still going. “…domesticated animals, how I have a domesticated animal, nightmares, Microsoft Windows, old people who sit around all day because no one remembers to spend time with them and they’re embarrassed to ask people to spend time with them, secrets, dial phones, how Chinese waitresses smile even when there’s nothing funny or happy, and also how Chinese people own Mexican restaurants but Mexican people never own Chinese restaurants, mirrors, tape decks, my unpopularity in school, Grandma’s coupons, storage facilities, people who don’t know what the Internet is, bad handwriting, beautiful songs, how there won’t be humans in fifty years–” “Who said there won't be humans in fifty years?” I asked her, “Are you an optimist or a pessimist?” She looked at her watch and said, “I'm optimistic.” “Then I have some bed news for you, because humans are going to destroy each other as soon as it becomes easy enough to, which will be very soon.” “Why do beautiful songs make you sad?” “Because they aren't true.” “Never?” “Nothing is beautiful and true.
Jonathan Safran Foer (Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close)
The thing about being barren is that you’re not allowed to get away from it. Not when you’re in your thirties. My friends were having children, friends of friends were having children, pregnancy and birth and first birthday parties were everywhere. I was asked about it all the time. My mother, our friends, colleagues at work. When was it going to be my turn? At some point our childlessness became an acceptable topic of Sunday-lunch conversation, not just between Tom and me, but more generally. What we were trying, what we should be doing, do you really think you should be having a second glass of wine? I was still young, there was still plenty of time, but failure cloaked me like a mantle, it overwhelmed me, dragged me under, and I gave up hope. At the time, I resented the fact that it was always seen as my fault, that I was the one letting the side down. But as the speed with which he managed to impregnate Anna demonstrates, there was never any problem with Tom’s virility. I was wrong to suggest that we should share the blame; it was all down to me. Lara, my best friend since university, had two children in two years: a boy first and then a girl. I didn’t like them. I didn’t want to hear anything about them. I didn’t want to be near them. Lara stopped speaking to me after a while. There was a girl at work who told me—casually, as though she were talking about an appendectomy or a wisdom-tooth extraction—that she’d recently had an abortion, a medical one, and it was so much less traumatic than the surgical one she’d had when she was at university. I couldn’t speak to her after that, I could barely look at her. Things became awkward in the office; people noticed. Tom didn’t feel the way I did. It wasn’t his failure, for starters, and in any case, he didn’t need a child like I did. He wanted to be a dad, he really did—I’m sure he daydreamed about kicking a football around in the garden with his son, or carrying his daughter on his shoulders in the park. But he thought our lives could be great without children, too. “We’re happy,” he used to say to me. “Why can’t we just go on being happy?” He became frustrated with me. He never understood that it’s possible to miss what you’ve never had, to mourn for it.
Paula Hawkins (The Girl on the Train)
Attempts to locate oneself within history are as natural, and as absurd, as attempts to locate oneself within astronomy. On the day that I was born, 13 April 1949, nineteen senior Nazi officials were convicted at Nuremberg, including Hitler's former envoy to the Vatican, Baron Ernst von Weizsacker, who was found guilty of planning aggression against Czechoslovakia and committing atrocities against the Jewish people. On the same day, the State of Israel celebrated its first Passover seder and the United Nations, still meeting in those days at Flushing Meadow in Queens, voted to consider the Jewish state's application for membership. In Damascus, eleven newspapers were closed by the regime of General Hosni Zayim. In America, the National Committee on Alcoholism announced an upcoming 'A-Day' under the non-uplifting slogan: 'You can drink—help the alcoholic who can't.' ('Can't'?) The International Court of Justice at The Hague ruled in favor of Britain in the Corfu Channel dispute with Albania. At the UN, Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko denounced the newly formed NATO alliance as a tool for aggression against the USSR. The rising Chinese Communists, under a man then known to Western readership as Mao Tze-Tung, announced a limited willingness to bargain with the still-existing Chinese government in a city then known to the outside world as 'Peiping.' All this was unknown to me as I nuzzled my mother's breast for the first time, and would certainly have happened in just the same way if I had not been born at all, or even conceived. One of the newspaper astrologists for that day addressed those whose birthday it was: There are powerful rays from the planet Mars, the war god, in your horoscope for your coming year, and this always means a chance to battle if you want to take it up. Try to avoid such disturbances where women relatives or friends are concerned, because the outlook for victory upon your part in such circumstances is rather dark. If you must fight, pick a man! Sage counsel no doubt, which I wish I had imbibed with that same maternal lactation, but impartially offered also to the many people born on that day who were also destined to die on it.
Christopher Hitchens (Hitch 22: A Memoir)
Birthdays are a time when one stock takes, which means, I suppose, a good spineless mope: I scan my horizon and can discern no sail of hope along my own particular ambition. I tell you what it is: I'm quite in accord with the people who enquire 'What is the matter with the man?' because I don't seem to be producing anything as the years pass but rank self indulgence. You know that my sole ambition, officially at any rate, was to write poems & novels, an activity I never found any difficulty fulfilling between the (dangerous) ages of 17-24: I can't very well ignore the fact that this seems to have died a natural death. On the other hand I feel regretful that what talents I have in this direction are not being used. Then again, if I am not going to produce anything in the literary line, the justification for my selfish life is removed - but since I go on living it, the suspicion arises that the writing existed to produce the life, & not vice versa. And as a life it has very little to recommend it: I spend my days footling in a job I care nothing about, a curate among lady-clerks; I evade all responsibility, familial, professional, emotional, social, not even saving much money or helping my mother. I look around me & I see people getting on, or doing things, or bringing up children - and here I am in a kind of vacuum. If I were writing, I would even risk the fearful old age of the Henry-James hero: not fearful in circumstance but in realisation: because to me to catch, render, preserve, pickle, distil or otherwise secure life-as-it-seemed for the future seems to me infinitely worth doing; but as I'm not the entire morality of it collapses. And when I ask why I'm not, well, I'm not because I don't want to: every novel I attempt stops at a point where I awake from the impulse as one might awake from a particularly-sickening nightmare - I don't want to 'create character', I don't want to be vivid or memorable or precise, I neither wish to bathe each scene in the lambency of the 'love that accepts' or be excoriatingly cruel, smart, vicious, 'penetrating' (ugh), or any of the other recoil qualities. In fact, like the man in St Mawr, I want nothing. Nothing, I want. And so it becomes quite impossible for me to carry on. This failure of impulse seems to me suspiciously like a failure of sexual impulse: people conceive novels and dash away at them & finish them in the same way as they fall in love & will not be satisfied till they're married - another point on which I seem to be out of step. There's something cold & heavy sitting on me somewhere, & until something budges it I am no good.
Philip Larkin (Philip Larkin: Letters to Monica)
The back of my neck breaks out in a sweat, and I’m getting nervous. Why is he just standing there, staring at me? “What do you want?” I press, my tone curt. He opens his mouth but then closes it swallowing. “Pike, Jesus—” “The day you left,” he blurts out, and I stop. I wait, listening as a look of fear crosses his eyes. “The house was so empty,” he continues. “Like a quiet that was never there before. I couldn’t hear your footsteps upstairs or your hairdryer or anticipate you walking into a room. You were gone. Everything was…” he drops his eyes, “gone.” A ball lodges in my throat, and I feel tears threaten, but I tense my jaw, refusing to let it out. “But I could still feel you,” he whispers. “You were still everywhere. The container of cookies in the fridge, the backsplash you picked out, the way you put all my pictures back in the wrong spot after you dusted my bookshelves.” He smiles to himself. “But I couldn’t rearrange them, because you were the last to touch them, and I wanted everything the way you had it.” My chin trembles, and I fold my arms over my chest, hiding my balled fists under my arms. He pauses and then goes on. “Nothing would ever go back to the way it was before you came into my house. I didn’t want it to.” He shakes his head. “I went to work, and I came home, and I stayed there every night and all weekend, every weekend, because that’s where we were together. That’s where I could still feel you.” He steps closer, dropping his voice. “That’s where I could wrap myself up in you and hang on to every last thread in that house that proved you were mine for just a little while.” His tone grows thick, and I see his eyes water. “I really thought I was doing what was best,” he says, knitting his brow. “I thought I was taking advantage of you, because you’re young and beautiful and so happy and hopeful despite everything you’d been through. You made me feel like the world was a big place again.” My breathing shakes, and I don’t know what to do. I hate that he’s here. I hate that I love that he’s here. I hate him. “I couldn’t steal your life from you and keep you to myself, you know?” he explains. “But then I realized that you’re not happy or hopeful or making me feel good because you’re young. You are those things and you’re capable of those things, because you’re a good person. It’s who you are.” A tear spills over, gliding down my cheek. “Baby,” he whispers, his hands shaking. “I hope you love me, because I love you like crazy, and I’m going to want you the rest of my life. I tried to stay away, because I thought it was the right thing, but I fucking can’t. I need you, and I love you. This doesn’t happen twice, and I’m not going to be stupid again. I promise.” My chin trembles, and something lodges in my throat, and I try to hold it in, but I can’t. My face cracks, and I break down, turning away from him. The tears come like a goddamn waterfall, and I hate him. I fucking hate him. His arms are around me in a second, and he hugs me from behind, burying his face in my neck. “I’m sorry I took so long,” he whispers in my ear.
Penelope Douglas (Birthday Girl)
..I began speaking.. First, I took issue with the media's characterization of the post-Katrina New Orleans as resembling the third world as its poor citizens clamored for a way out. I suggested that my experience in New Orleans working with the city's poorest people in the years before the storm had reflected the reality of third-world conditions in New Orleans, and that Katrina had not turned New Orleans into a third-world city but had only revealed it to the world as such. I explained that my work, running Reprieve, a charity that brought lawyers and volunteers to the Deep South from abroad to work on death penalty issues, had made it clear to me that much of the world had perceived this third-world reality, even if it was unnoticed by our own citizens. To try answer Ryan's question, I attempted to use my own experience to explain that for many people in New Orleans, and in poor communities across the country, the government was merely an antagonist, a terrible landlord, a jailer, and a prosecutor. As a lawyer assigned to indigent people under sentence of death and paid with tax dollars, I explained the difficulty of working with clients who stand to be executed and who are provided my services by the state, not because they deserve them, but because the Constitution requires that certain appeals to be filed before these people can be killed. The state is providing my clients with my assistance, maybe the first real assistance they have ever received from the state, so that the state can kill them. I explained my view that the country had grown complacent before Hurricane Katrina, believing that the civil rights struggle had been fought and won, as though having a national holiday for Martin Luther King, or an annual march by politicians over the bridge in Selma, Alabama, or a prosecution - forty years too late - of Edgar Ray Killen for the murder of civil rights workers in Philadelphia, Mississippi, were any more than gestures. Even though President Bush celebrates his birthday, wouldn't Dr. King cry if he could see how little things have changed since his death? If politicians or journalists went to Selma any other day of the year, they would see that it is a crumbling city suffering from all of the woes of the era before civil rights were won as well as new woes that have come about since. And does anyone really think that the Mississippi criminal justice system could possibly be a vessel of social change when it incarcerates a greater percentage of its population than almost any place in the world, other than Louisiana and Texas, and then compels these prisoners, most of whom are black, to work prison farms that their ancestors worked as chattel of other men? ... I hoped, out loud, that the post-Katrina experience could be a similar moment [to the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fiasco], in which the American people could act like the children in the story and declare that the emperor has no clothes, and hasn't for a long time. That, in light of Katrina, we could be visionary and bold about what people deserve. We could say straight out that there are people in this country who are racist, that minorities are still not getting a fair shake, and that Republican policies heartlessly disregard the needs of individual citizens and betray the common good. As I stood there, exhausted, in front of the thinning audience of New Yorkers, it seemed possible that New Orleans's destruction and the suffering of its citizens hadn't been in vain.
Billy Sothern (Down in New Orleans: Reflections from a Drowned City)