I always wonder about raindrops.
I wonder about how they're always falling down, tripping over their own feet, breaking their legs and forgetting their parachutes as they tumble right out of the sky toward an uncertain end. It's like someone is emptying their pockets over the earth and doesn't seem to care where the contents fall, doesn't seem to care that the raindrops burst when they hit the ground, that they shatter when they fall to the floor, that people curse the days the drops dare to tap on their doors.
I am a raindrop.
My parents emptied their pockets of me and left me to evaporate on a concrete slab.
Tahereh Mafi (Shatter Me (Shatter Me, #1))
But I think the first real change in women’s body image came when JLo turned it butt-style. That was the first time that having a large-scale situation in the back was part of mainstream American beauty. Girls wanted butts now. Men were free to admit that they had always enjoyed them. And then, what felt like moments later, boom—Beyoncé brought the leg meat. A back porch and thick muscular legs were now widely admired. And from that day forward, women embraced their diversity and realized that all shapes and sizes are beautiful. Ah ha ha. No. I’m totally messing with you. All Beyonce and JLo have done is add to the laundry list of attributes women must have to qualify as beautiful. Now every girl is expected to have Caucasian blue eyes, full Spanish lips, a classic button nose, hairless Asian skin with a California tan, a Jamaican dance hall ass, long Swedish legs, small Japanese feet, the abs of a lesbian gym owner, the hips of a nine-year-old boy, the arms of Michelle Obama, and doll tits. The person closest to actually achieving this look is Kim Kardashian, who, as we know, was made by Russian scientists to sabotage our athletes.
Tina Fey (Bossypants)
When God Created Mothers"
When the Good Lord was creating mothers, He was into His sixth day of "overtime" when the angel appeared and said. "You're doing a lot of fiddling around on this one."
And God said, "Have you read the specs on this order?" She has to be completely washable, but not plastic. Have 180 moveable parts...all replaceable. Run on black coffee and leftovers. Have a lap that disappears when she stands up. A kiss that can cure anything from a broken leg to a disappointed love affair. And six pairs of hands."
The angel shook her head slowly and said. "Six pairs of hands.... no way."
It's not the hands that are causing me problems," God remarked, "it's the three pairs of eyes that mothers have to have."
That's on the standard model?" asked the angel. God nodded.
One pair that sees through closed doors when she asks, 'What are you kids doing in there?' when she already knows. Another here in the back of her head that sees what she shouldn't but what she has to know, and of course the ones here in front that can look at a child when he goofs up and say. 'I understand and I love you' without so much as uttering a word."
God," said the angel touching his sleeve gently, "Get some rest tomorrow...."
I can't," said God, "I'm so close to creating something so close to myself. Already I have one who heals herself when she is sick...can feed a family of six on one pound of hamburger...and can get a nine year old to stand under a shower."
The angel circled the model of a mother very slowly. "It's too soft," she sighed.
But tough!" said God excitedly. "You can imagine what this mother can do or endure."
Can it think?"
Not only can it think, but it can reason and compromise," said the Creator.
Finally, the angel bent over and ran her finger across the cheek.
There's a leak," she pronounced. "I told You that You were trying to put too much into this model."
It's not a leak," said the Lord, "It's a tear."
What's it for?"
It's for joy, sadness, disappointment, pain, loneliness, and pride."
You are a genius, " said the angel.
Somberly, God said, "I didn't put it there.
Erma Bombeck (When God Created Mothers)
Too lazy to be ambitious,
I let the world take care of itself.
Ten days' worth of rice in my bag;
a bundle of twigs by the fireplace.
Why chatter about delusion and enlightenment?
Listening to the night rain on my roof,
I sit comfortably, with both legs stretched out.
If I had my life to live over...
Someone asked me the other day if I had my life to live over would I change anything.
My answer was no, but then I thought about it and changed my mind.
If I had my life to live over again I would have waxed less and listened more.
Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy and complaining about the shadow over my feet, I'd have cherished every minute of it and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was to be my only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.
I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.
I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained and the sofa faded.
I would have eaten popcorn in the "good" living room and worried less about the dirt when you lit the fireplace.
I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.
I would have burnt the pink candle that was sculptured like a rose before it melted while being stored.
I would have sat cross-legged on the lawn with my children and never worried about grass stains.
I would have cried and laughed less while watching television ... and more while watching real life.
I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband which I took for granted.
I would have eaten less cottage cheese and more ice cream.
I would have gone to bed when I was sick, instead of pretending the Earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for a day.
I would never have bought ANYTHING just because it was practical/wouldn't show soil/ guaranteed to last a lifetime.
When my child kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, "Later. Now, go get washed up for dinner."
There would have been more I love yous ... more I'm sorrys ... more I'm listenings ... but mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute of it ... look at it and really see it ... try it on ... live it ... exhaust it ... and never give that minute back until there was nothing left of it.
Erma Bombeck (Eat Less Cottage Cheese and More Ice Cream: Thoughts on Life from Erma Bombeck)
He trapped my hand against his chest and yanked my sleeve down past my wrist, covering my hand with it. Just as quickly, he did the same thing with the other sleeve. He held my shirt by the cuffs, my hands captured. My mouth opened in protest.
Reeling me closer, he didn’t stop until I was directly in front of him. Suddenly he lifted me onto the counter. My face was level with his. He fixed me with a dark, inviting smile. And that’s when I realized this moment had been dancing around the edge of my fantasies for several days now.
"Take off your hat," I said, the words tumbling out before I could stop them.
He slid it around, the brim facing backward.
I scooted to the edge of the counter, my legs dangling one on either side of him. Something inside of me was telling me to stop—but I swept that voice to the far back of my mind.
He spread his hands on the counter, just outside my hips. Tilting his head to one side, he moved closer. His scent, which was all damp dark earth, overwhelmed me.
I inhaled two sharp breaths. No. This wasn’t right. Not this, not with Patch. He was frightening. In a good way, yes. But also in a bad way. A very bad way.
"You should go," I breathed. "You should definitely go."
"Go here?" His mouth was on my shoulder. "Or here?" It moved up my neck.
My brain couldn’t process one logical thought. Patch’s mouth was roaming north, up over my jaw, gently sucking at my skin...
"My legs are falling asleep," I blurted. It wasn’t a total lie. I was experiencing tingling sensations all
through my body, legs included.
"I could solve that." Patch’s hands closed on my hips.
Becca Fitzpatrick (Hush, Hush (Hush, Hush, #1))
It isn't the big troubles in life that require character. Anybody can rise to a crisis and face a crushing tragedy with courage, but to meet the petty hazards of the day with a laugh - I really think that requires spirit.
It's the kind of character that I am going to develop. I am going to pretend that all life is just a game which I must play as skillfully and fairly as I can. If I lose, I am going to shrug my shoulders and laugh - also if I win.
Jean Webster (Daddy Long Legs)
There either is or is not, that’s the way things are. The colour of the day. The way it felt to be a child. The saltwater on your sunburnt legs. Sometimes the water is yellow, sometimes it’s red. But what colour it may be in memory, depends on the day. I’m not going to tell you the story the way it happened. I’m going to tell it the way I remember it.
— Great Expectations (1998) directed by Alfonso Cuarón
His smile got even bigger. "Yeah, Ace, a day of you cryin' in my arms, sleepin' in my arms, kissin' you, feelin' your body, smellin' your hair, your perfume, only so much a man can take. I ran for an hour, hard, didn't even fuckin' warm up, it didn't touch it. Come back, deal with that fuckwad, (that's her ex) and you're standin' there, all legs and hair, wearin' my shirt. Seriously. Only so much a man can take.
Kristen Ashley (Sweet Dreams (Colorado Mountain, #2))
I missed the sound of her shuffling her homework while I listened to music on her bed.
I missed the cold of her feet against my legs when she climbed into bed.
I missed the shape of her shadow where it fell across the page of my book.
I missed the smell of her hair and the sound of her breath and my Rilke on her nightstand and her wet towel thrown over the back of her desk chair.
It felt like I should be sated after having a whole day with her, but it just made me miss her more.
Maggie Stiefvater (Linger (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #2))
Ideas are like legs: what good are they if you can't run with them, or spread them?
Jarod Kintz (The Days of Yay are Here! Wake Me Up When They're Over.)
Sleep here each day, Ildiko.” A sweet warmth suffused her. She entangled her legs with his and hugged his arm to her waist. “As you wish. Just don’t steal the blankets.
Grace Draven (Radiance (Wraith Kings, #1))
I felt silly for even mentioning it, but once I did, I knew I had to explain.
"When I was a kid, "I had this puzzle with all fifty states on it--you know, the kind where you have to fit them all together. And one day I got it in my head that California and Nevada were in love. I told my mom, and she had no idea what I was talking about. I ran and got those two pieces and showed it to her--California and Nevada, completely in love. So a lot of the time when we're like this"--my ankles against the backs of your ankles, my knees fitting into the backs of your knees, my thighs on the backs of your legs, my stomach against your back, my chin folding into your neck--"I can't help but think about California and Nevada, and how we're a lot like them. If someone were drawing us from above as a map. that's what we'd look like; that's how we are."
For a moment, you were quiet. And then you nestled in and whispered.
And I knew you understood.
David Levithan (The Lover's Dictionary)
He had a note excusing him from PE for the rest of his life because he had some kind of muscular disease in his legs. He walked funny, like every step hurt him, but don't let that fool you. You should've seen him run when it was enchilada day in the cafeteria.
Rick Riordan (The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1))
Running isn't a sport for pretty boys...It's about the sweat in your hair and the blisters on your feet. Its the frozen spit on your chin and the nausea in your gut. It's about throbbing calves and cramps at midnight that are strong enough to wake the dead. It's about getting out the door and running when the rest of the world is only dreaming about having the passion that you need to live each and every day with. It's about being on a lonely road and running like a champion even when there's not a single soul in sight to cheer you on. Running is all about having the desire to train and persevere until every fiber in your legs, mind, and heart is turned to steel. And when you've finally forged hard enough, you will have become the best runner you can be. And that's all that you can ask for.
Paul Maurer (The Gift - A Runner's Story)
Life is a gamble. You can get hurt, but people die in plane crashes, lose their arms and legs in car accidents; people die every day. Same with fighters: some die, some get hurt, some go on. You just don't let yourself believe it will happen to you.
Hey,” I reached out and tapped the hand that rested next to my left leg. “you are--”
The hand that I tapped reached up and clasped mine. I froze as he threaded his finders through mine. “I’m what?”
Beautiful. Kind. Patient. Perfect. I said none of those things. Instead, I stared at his fingers, wondering if he knew he was holding my hand. “You’re always so….”
His thumb moved over the top of my hand. The balm made his fingers cool and smooth. “What?”
I looked up, and I was immediately snared. His stare, his soft touch along my hand was doing very strange things. I felt hot and dizzy, like I’d been out in the sun all day. All I could think about was how his hand felt on mine. Then, what his hand would feel like on other parts. I shouldn’t be thinking that at all.
Aiden was a pure.
Jennifer L. Armentrout (Half-Blood (Covenant, #1))
On bad days I talk to Death constantly, not about suicide because honestly that's not dramatic enough. Most of us love the stage and suicide is definitely your last performance and being addicted to the stage, suicide was never an option - plus people get to look you over and stare at your fatty bits and you can't cross your legs to give that flattering thigh angle and that's depressing. So we talk. She says things no one else seems to come up with, like let's have a hotdog and then it's like nothing's impossible.
She told me once there is a part of her in everyone, though Neil believes I'm more Delirium than Tori, and Death taught me to accept that, you know, wear your butterflies with pride. And when I do accept that, I know Death is somewhere inside of me. She was the kind of girl all the girls wanted to be, I believe, because of her acceptance of "what is." She keeps reminding me there is change in the "what is" but change cannot be made till you accept the "what is.
Tori Amos (Death: The High Cost of Living)
Parents, she thought, learned to survive touching their children less and less. As a baby Pearl had clung to her; she’d worn Pearl in a sling because whenever she’d set her down, Pearl would cry. There’d scarcely been a moment in the day when they had not been pressed together. As she got older, Pearl would still cling to her mother’s leg, then her waist, then her hand, as if there was something in her mother she needed to absorb through the skin. Even when she had her own bed, she would often crawl into Mia’s in the middle of the night and burrow under the old patchwork quilt, and in the morning they would wake up tangled, Mia’s arm pinned beneath Pearl’s head, or Pearl’s legs thrown across Mia’s belly. Now, as a teenager, Pearl’s caresses had become rare—a peck on the cheek, a one-armed, half-hearted hug—and all the more precious because of that. It was the way of things, Mia thought to herself, but how hard it was. The occasional embrace, a head leaned for just a moment on your shoulder, when what you really wanted more than anything was to press them to you and hold them so tight you fused together and could never be taken apart. It was like training yourself to live on the smell of an apple alone, when what you really wanted was to devour it, to sink your teeth into it and consume it, seeds, core, and all.
Celeste Ng (Little Fires Everywhere)
The brain is an incredible multitasker. At the same time that it’s piercing itself with superheated needles of anguish, it’s ruthlessly making plans, contingencies, plotting out a future, giving zero fucks whether it’ll ever see it. On the day I die, it’ll be calculating what to have for dinner as it bombards itself with pain signals from my amputated legs or my clocked-out heart.
Leah Raeder (Unteachable)
It hurts to look at the clouds, but it also helps, like most things that cause pain. So I need to run, and as my lungs burn and my back rebels with that stabbing knife feeling and my legs muscles harden and the half inch of loose skin around my waist jiggles, I feel as though my penance for the day is being done and that maybe God will be pleased enough to lend me some help, which I think is why He has been showing me interesting clouds for the past week.
Matthew Quick (The Silver Linings Playbook)
I know I want you," he heard himself say, all his vows and his honor all forgotten. She stood before him naked as her name day, and he was as hard as the rock around them. He had been in her half a hundred times by now, but always beneath furs, with others all around them. He had never seeen how beautiful she was. Her legs were skinny and well muscled, the hair at the juncture of her thighs a brighter red than that on her head. Does that make it even luckier? He pulled her close.
"I love the smell of you," he said. "I love your red hair. I love your mouth, and the way you kiss me. I love your smile. I love your teats." He kissed them, one and then the other. "I love your skinny legs, and what's between them." He knelt to kiss her there, lightly on her mound at first, but Ygritte moved her legs apart a little, and he saw the pink inside and kissed that as well, and tasted her.
She gave a little gasp. "If you love me all so much, why are you still dressed?" she whispered. "You know nothing, Jon Snow. Noth---oh. Oh. OHHH."
Afterward, she was almost shy, or as shy as Ygritte ever got. "The thing you did," she said, when they lay together on their piled clothes. "With your...mouth." She hesistated. "Is that...is it what lordss do to their ladies, down in the south?"
"I don't think so." No one had ever told Jon just what lords did with their ladies. "I only...wanted to kiss you there, that's all. You seemed to like it."
"Aye. I...I liked it some. No one taught you such?"
"There's been no one," he confessed. "Only you.
George R.R. Martin (A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire, #3))
I used to love the ocean.
Everything about her.
Her coral reefs, her white caps, her roaring waves, the rocks they lap, her pirate legends and mermaid tails,
Treasures lost and treasures held...
Of her fish
In the sea.
Yes, I used to love the ocean,
Everything about her.
The way she would sing me to sleep as I lay in my bed
then wake me with a force
That I soon came to dread.
Her fables, her lies, her misleading eyes,
I'd drain her dry
If I cared enough to.
I used to love the ocean,
Everything about her.
Her coral reefs, her white caps, her roaring waves, the rocks they lap, her pirate legends and mermaid tails, treasures lost and treasures held.
Of her fish
In the sea.
Well, if you've ever tried navigating your sailboat through her stormy seas, you would realize that her white caps
are your enemies. If you've ever tried swimming ashore when your leg gets a cramp and you just had a huge meal of In-n-Out burgers that's weighing you down, and her roaring waves are knocking the wind out of you, filling your lungs with water as you flail your arms, trying to get someone's attention, but your
back at you?
And if you've ever grown up with dreams in your head about life, and how one of these days you would pirate your own ship and have your own crew and that all of the mermaids
Well, you would realize...
Like I eventually realized...
That all the good things about her?
All the beautiful?
It's not real.
So you keep your ocean,
I'll take the Lake.
Being a woman is worse than being a farmer there is so much harvesting and crop spraying to be done: legs to be waxed, underarms shaved, eyebrows plucked, feet pumiced, skin exfoliated and moisturised, spots cleansed, roots dyed, eyelashes tinted, nails filed, cellulite massaged, stomach muscles exercised.
The whole performance is so highly tuned you only need to neglect it for a few days for the whole thing to go to seed. Sometimes I wonder what I would be like if left to revert to nature — with a full beard and handlebar moustache on each shin Dennis Healey eyebrows face a graveyard of dead skin cells spots erupting long curly fingernails like Struwelpeter blind as bat and stupid runt of species as no contact lenses flabby body flobbering around. Ugh ugh. Is it any wonder girls have no confidence?
Helen Fielding (Bridget Jones's Diary (Bridget Jones, #1))
Dip a slice of bread in batter. That's September: yellow, gold, soft and sticky. Fry the bread. Now you have October: chewier, drier, streaked with browns. The day in question fell somewhere in the middle of the french toast process.
Tom Robbins (Skinny Legs and All)
We’re beings toward death, we’re … two-legged, linguistically-conscious creatures born between urine and feces whose body will one day be the culinary delight of terrestrial worms.
Your skin is your skin. Your legs are your legs. Your hair is your hair. Your smile is your smile. Your past is your past. You can waste your life hating these things, but you may as well learn to accept them. Both routes are difficult and full of pain, but with acceptance, you will be happy one day, while with hatred, you never will.
It isn't the big troubles in life that require character. Anybody can rise to a crisis and face a crushing tragedy with courage, but to meet the petty hazards of the day with a laugh—I really think that requires spirit!
Jean Webster (Daddy-Long-Legs (Daddy-Long-Legs, #1))
None of your knowledge, your reading, your connections will be of any use here: two legs suffice, and big eyes to see with. Walk alone, across mountains or through forests. You are nobody to the hills or the thick boughs heavy with greenery. You are no longer a role, or a status, not even an individual, but a body, a body that feels sharp stones on the paths, the caress of long grass and the freshness of the wind. When you walk, the world has neither present nor future: nothing but the cycle of mornings and evenings. Always the same thing to do all day: walk. But the walker who marvels while walking (the blue of the rocks in a July evening light, the silvery green of olive leaves at noon, the violet morning hills) has no past, no plans, no experience. He has within him the eternal child. While walking I am but a simple gaze.
Frédéric Gros (A Philosophy of Walking)
I watched her for a long time, memorizing her shoulders, her long-legged gait. This was how girls left. They packed up their suitcases and walked away in high heels. They pretended they weren't crying, that it wasn't the worst day of their lives. That they didn't want their mothers to come running after them, begging their forgiveness, that they wouldn't have gone down on their knees and thanked god if they could stay.
Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
Some women will spread a lie faster and wider than they’d spread their legs. These women are worse than whores. These women are politicians.
Jarod Kintz (The Days of Yay are Here! Wake Me Up When They're Over.)
The whole time I pretend I have mental telepathy. And with my mind only, I’ll say — or think? — to the target, 'Don’t do it. Don’t go to that job you hate. Do something you love today. Ride a roller
coaster. Swim in the ocean naked. Go to the airport and get on the next flight to anywhere just for the fun of it. Maybe stop a spinning globe with your finger and then plan a trip to that very spot; even if it’s in the middle of the ocean you can go by boat. Eat some type of ethnic food you’ve never even
heard of. Stop a stranger and ask her to explain her greatest fears and her secret hopes and aspirations in detail and then tell her you care because she is a human being. Sit down on the sidewalk and make pictures with colorful chalk. Close your eyes and try to see the world with your nose—allow smells
to be your vision. Catch up on your sleep. Call an old friend you haven’t seen in years. Roll up your pant legs and walk into the sea. See a foreign film. Feed squirrels. Do anything! Something! Because you start a revolution one decision at a time, with each breath you take. Just don’t go back to thatmiserable place you go every day. Show me it’s possible to be an adult and also be happy. Please. This is a free country. You don’t have to keep doing this if you don’t want to. You can do anything you want. Be anyone you want. That’s what they tell us at school, but if you keep getting on that train and going to the place you hate I’m going to start thinking the people at school are liars like the Nazis who told the Jews they were just being relocated to work factories. Don’t do that to us. Tell us the truth. If adulthood is working some death-camp job you hate for the rest of your life, divorcing your secretly criminal husband, being disappointed in your son, being stressed and miserable, and dating a poser and pretending he’s a hero when he’s really a lousy person and anyone can tell that just by shaking his slimy hand — if it doesn’t get any better, I need to know right now. Just tell me. Spare me from some awful fucking fate. Please.
Matthew Quick (Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock)
People are afraid to merge on freeways in Los Angeles. This is the first thing I hear when I come back to the city. Blair picks me up from LAX and mutters this under her breath as she drives up the onramp. She says, "People are afraid to merge on freeways in Los Angeles." Though that sentence shouldn't bother me, it stays in my mind for an uncomfortably long time. Nothing else seems to matter. Not the fact that I'm eighteen and it's December and the ride on the plane had been rough and the couple from Santa Barbara, who were sitting across from me in first class, had gotten pretty drunk. Not the mud that had splattered on the legs of my jeans, which felt kind of cold and loose, earlier that day at an airport in New Hampshire. Not the stain on the arm of the wrinkled, damp shirt I wear, a shirt which looked fresh and clean this morning. Not the tear on the neck of my gray argyle vest, which seems vaguely more eastern than before, especially next to Blair's clean tight jeans and her pale-blue shirt. All of this seems irrelevant next to that one sentence. It seems easier to hear that people are afraid to merge than "I'm pretty sure Muriel is anorexic" or the singer on the radio crying out about magnetic waves. Nothing else seems to matter to me but those ten words. Not the warm winds, which seem to propel the car down the empty asphalt freeway, or the faded smell of marijuana which still faintly permeates Blaire's car. All it comes down to is the fact that I'm a boy coming home for a month and meeting someone whom I haven't seen for four months and people are afraid to merge.
Bret Easton Ellis (Less Than Zero)
Don’t do it. Don’t go to that job you hate. Do something you love today. Ride a roller coaster. Swim in the ocean naked. Go to the airport and get on the next flight to anywhere just for the fun of it. Maybe stop a spinning globe with your finger and then plan a trip to that very spot; even if it’s in the middle of the ocean you can go by boat. Eat some type of ethnic food you've never even heard of. Stop a stranger and ask her to explain her greatest fears and her secret hopes and aspirations in detail and then tell her you care because she is a human being. Sit down on the sidewalk and make pictures with colorful chalk. Close your eyes and try to see the world with your nose — allow smells
to be your vision. Catch up on your sleep. Call an old friend you haven’t seen in years. Roll up your pant legs and walk into the sea. See a foreign film. Feed squirrels. Do anything! Something! Because you start a revolution one decision at a time, with each breath you take. Just don’t go back to that miserable place you go every day. Show me it’s possible to be an adult and also be happy. Please. This is a free country. You don’t have to keep doing this if you don’t want to. You can do anything you want. Be anyone you want.
Matthew Quick (Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock)
And so taking the long way home through the market I slow my pace down. It doesn't come naturally. My legs are programmed to trot briskly and my arms to pump up and down like pistons, but I force myself to stroll past the stalls and pavement cafes. To enjoy just being somewhere, rather than rushing from somewhere, to somewhere. Inhaling deep lungfuls of air, instead of my usual shallow breaths. I take a moment to just stop and look around me. And smile to myself.
For the first time in a long time, I can, quite literally, smell the coffee.
Alexandra Potter (The Two Lives of Miss Charlotte Merryweather)
Every day is Judgement Day. Always has been. Always will be.
Tom Robbins (Skinny Legs and All)
It is growing cold. Winter is putting footsteps in the meadow. What whiteness boasts that sun that comes into this wood! One would say milk-colored maidens are dancing on the petals of orchids. How coldly burns our sun! One would say its rays of light are shards of snow, one imagines the sun lives upon a snow crested peak on this day. One would say she is a woman who wears a gown of winter frost that blinds the eyes. Helplessness has weakened me. Wandering has wearied my legs.
Life has moments that feel as if the sun has blackened to tar and the entire world turned to ice. It feels as if Hades and his vile demons have risen from the depths of Tartarus solely for the purpose of banding to personally torture you, and that their genuine intent of mental, emotional, and spiritual anguish is tearing you to shreds. Your heart weighs as heavily as leaden legs which you would drag yourself forward with if not for the quicksand that pulls you down inch by inch, paralyzing your will and threatening oblivion. And all the while fire and brimstone pour from the sky, pelting only you.
Truly, that is what it feels like. But that feeling is a trial that won't last forever. Never give up.
Richelle E. Goodrich (Smile Anyway: Quotes, Verse, and Grumblings for Every Day of the Year)
I remember walking across Sixty-second Street one twilight that first spring, or the second spring, they were all alike for a while. I was late to meet someone but I stopped at Lexington Avenue and bought a peach and stood on the corner eating it and knew that I had come out out of the West and reached the mirage. I could taste the peach and feel the soft air blowing from a subway grating on my legs and I could smell lilac and garbage and expensive perfume and I knew that it would cost something sooner or later—because I did not belong there, did not come from there—but when you are twenty-two or twenty-three, you figure that later you will have a high emotional balance, and be able to pay whatever it costs. I still believed in possibilities then, still had the sense, so peculiar to New York, that something extraordinary would happen any minute, any day, any month.
Joan Didion (Slouching Towards Bethlehem)
You think so?" The boy looked down at his cross-legged form. He was sitting straight-backed, legs folded neatly in the manner of an Egyptian scribe. "It's two thousand, one hundred and twenty-nine years since Ptolemy died," he said. "He was fourteen. Eight world empires have risen up and fallen away since that day, and I still carry his face. Who do you think's the lucky one?
Jonathan Stroud (Ptolemy's Gate (Bartimaeus, #3))
It was the best kind of November day. Cold and crisp, but not quite freezing, not icy. Just cold enough that she could justifiably wear all her favorite clothes—cardigans and tights and leg warmers.
Rainbow Rowell (Fangirl)
...If it wasn’t for you, I’d think that angels were all totally interchangeable.’
‘You mean because I’m beyond perfect?’
‘No. Because you’re so humble.’
‘So is clear self-assessment, apparently.’
‘Real warriors don’t stand for psychobabble.’
‘Or for rational thinking.’
He glances at my naked legs. ‘No, not that rational, I admit.
Susan Ee (End of Days (Penryn & the End of Days, #3))
Raffe watches me as if reading my thoughts. Then he looks at the locusts. His lip curls as he assesses them, his eyes scanning from their thick legs to their insectile torsos to their iridescent wings. He looks at the curled stingers last.
He shakes his head. ‘Those wings are so flimsy I wouldn’t trust them to carry you. And those overgrown nails – you’d catch an infection if they scratched you. You can ride one when they improve on the design.’ He steps forward and, in one smooth motion, lifts me into his firm embrace. ‘Until then, you’re stuck with me being your air taxi.’
He takes flight before I can argue
Susan Ee (End of Days (Penryn & the End of Days, #3))
The day I bought my cane, I realized
I was through with the burden of feet. Instead,
I am going to become a mermaid.
I have always liked the ocean, the promise
of depth. I am tired of this dry world,
all of this dust and sickness, these barren fields.
I want to dive without drowning. I want to kiss sharks.
I want men to carve me into the bows of their ships
like a prayer, before I lure them into the depths
with my fishnet mouth. I want the beauty,
the gorgeous mutation, the fairytale of half body.
All the wisdom of a woman, without the failures of sex.
I am plunging. I am not coming up for air.
I do not want all this human,
my legs move like they resent being legs,
my body is wrecked by all this gravity.
I cannot face another morning waking up
with no hope of a fairytale. Here on land,
I am always drowning. Here on land,
I cannot move.
Clementine von Radics
No matter how much he talked, she never answered him, but he knew she was still there. He knew it was like the soldiers he had read about. They would have an arm or a leg blown off, and for days, even weeks after it happened, they could still feel the arm itching, the leg itching, the mother calling.
Pat Cunningham Devoto (Out of the Night That Covers Me)
Why am I angry? Every morning, I wake up, I open my eyes, remember who and what I am and I say, “Yuck.” Then I go about my day, and when it’s over, I get back in bed, put a sheet between my sweaty legs and, as I drift off, looking back on a day of being this shitbag of a human, I mutter to myself, “Jesus Christ.
He uttered a curse that startled her with its foulness, and gripped her head between his hands, forcing her to stare at him. His voice was savage. "For twelve years I have been in constant torment, wanting you in my arms and believing it would never be possible. I want you for a thousand reasons other than your legs, and...no, damn it, I want you for no reason at all, other than the fact that you're you. I want to shove myself deep inside you and stay for hours...days...weeks. I want morning and noon and nightfall with you. I want your tears, your smiles, your kisses...the smell of your hair, the taste of your skin, the touch of your breath on my face. I want to see you in the final hour of my life...to lie in your arms as I take my last breath.
Lisa Kleypas (Again the Magic (Wallflowers, #0.5))
The first time someone I loved left me behind...I didn't know how my family would balance. We had been such a sturdy little end table, four solid legs. I was sure we would now be off-kilter, always unstable. Until one day I looked more closely, and realized that we had simply become a stool.
Jodi Picoult (Lone Wolf)
It's only life. We all get through it. Not all of us complete the journey in the same condition. Along the way, some lose their legs or eyes in acidents or altercations, while others skate through the years with nothing worse to worry about than an occassional bad-hair day.
I still possessed both legs and both eyes, and even my hair looked all right when I rose that Wednesday morning in late January. If I returned to bed sixteen hours later, having lost all my hair but nothing else, I would consider the day a triumph. Even minus a few teeth, I'd call it a triumph.
Dean Koontz (Odd Hours (Odd Thomas, #4))
Toasted almond pancakes. Sweet soft 'okays'. Makin' me laugh more in a few weeks than I have in decades. 'Yes, Daddys' I feel in my dick. The first voicemail you left me, babe. I saved it and I listen to it once a day. If I lose focus, I see you on your back, knees high, legs wide, offering your sweet, wet pussy to me. You smile at me in bed every time you wander outta my bedroom in my shirts, my tees, or your work clothes and honest to Christ, it sets me up for the day. And no matter what shit goes down, I get through it knowin' whichever bed I climb into at night, you're in it ready to snuggle into me or give me what I wanna take. Your girl, a headache. You, never. And in a life that's been full of headaches, babe, having that, there is no price tag. You gotta get it and do it fuckin' now that there's a lotta different kinds of give and take. And you give as good as you get, baby, trust me.
Kristen Ashley (Knight (Unfinished Hero, #1))
These days, I strive to be a bitch, because not being one sucks. Not being a bitch means not having your voice heard. Not being a bitch means you agree with all the bullshit. Not being a bitch means you don't appreciate all the other bitches who have come before you. Not being a bitch means since Eve ate that apple, we will forever have to pay for her bitchiness with complacence, obedience, acceptance, closed eyes, and opened legs.
Margaret Cho (Bitchfest: Ten Years of Cultural Criticism from the Pages of Bitch Magazine)
L'union libre [Freedom of Love]"
My wife with the hair of a wood fire
With the thoughts of heat lightning
With the waist of an hourglass
With the waist of an otter in the teeth of a tiger
My wife with the lips of a cockade and of a bunch of stars of the last magnitude
With the teeth of tracks of white mice on the white earth
With the tongue of rubbed amber and glass
My wife with the tongue of a stabbed host
With the tongue of a doll that opens and closes its eyes
With the tongue of an unbelievable stone
My wife with the eyelashes of strokes of a child's writing
With brows of the edge of a swallow's nest
My wife with the brow of slates of a hothouse roof
And of steam on the panes
My wife with shoulders of champagne
And of a fountain with dolphin-heads beneath the ice
My wife with wrists of matches
My wife with fingers of luck and ace of hearts
With fingers of mown hay
My wife with armpits of marten and of beechnut
And of Midsummer Night
Of privet and of an angelfish nest
With arms of seafoam and of riverlocks
And of a mingling of the wheat and the mill
My wife with legs of flares
With the movements of clockwork and despair
My wife with calves of eldertree pith
My wife with feet of initials
With feet of rings of keys and Java sparrows drinking
My wife with a neck of unpearled barley
My wife with a throat of the valley of gold
Of a tryst in the very bed of the torrent
With breasts of night
My wife with breasts of a marine molehill
My wife with breasts of the ruby's crucible
With breasts of the rose's spectre beneath the dew
My wife with the belly of an unfolding of the fan of days
With the belly of a gigantic claw
My wife with the back of a bird fleeing vertically
With a back of quicksilver
With a back of light
With a nape of rolled stone and wet chalk
And of the drop of a glass where one has just been drinking
My wife with hips of a skiff
With hips of a chandelier and of arrow-feathers
And of shafts of white peacock plumes
Of an insensible pendulum
My wife with buttocks of sandstone and asbestos
My wife with buttocks of swans' backs
My wife with buttocks of spring
With the sex of an iris
My wife with the sex of a mining-placer and of a platypus
My wife with a sex of seaweed and ancient sweetmeat
My wife with a sex of mirror
My wife with eyes full of tears
With eyes of purple panoply and of a magnetic needle
My wife with savanna eyes
My wife with eyes of water to he drunk in prison
My wife with eyes of wood always under the axe
My wife with eyes of water-level of level of air earth and fire
André Breton (Poems of André Breton: A Bilingual Anthology)
I hope he got plenty of rest last night because his legs are gonna be real tired after he runs through your mind all day.
Georgia Cates (Going Under (Going Under, #1))
Day appears again. This time he leans in close enough for his hair to brush, light as silk, against my cheeks. He pulls me towards for a long kiss. The scene vanishes, replaced abruptly by a stormy night and Day struggling through the rain, blood dripping from his leg and leaving a trail behind him. He collapses onto his knees in front of Razor before the whole scene disappears again.
Marie Lu (Prodigy (Legend, #2))
One of the chief things which my typical man has to learn is that the mental faculties are capable of a continuous hard activity; they do not tire like an arm or a leg. All they want is change - not rest, except in sleep.
Arnold Bennett (How to Live on 24 Hours a Day)
Ellie said, "Isn't it a little warm for black?"
You're extremely pretty, Dr. Sattler," he said. "I could look at your legs all day. But no, as a matter of fact, black is an excellent color for heat. If you remember your black-body radiation, black is actually best in heat. Efficient radiation. In any case, I wear only two colors, black and gray."
Ellie was staring at him, her mouth open. "These colors are appropriate for any occasion," Malcolm continued, and they go well together, should I mistakenly put on a pair of gray socks with my black trousers."
But don't you find it boring to wear only two colors?"
Not at all. I find it liberating. I believe my life has value, and I don't want to waste it thinking about clothing," Malcolm said. "I don't want to think about what I will wear in the morning. Truly, can you imagine anything more boring than fashion? Professional sports, perhaps. Grown men swatting little balls, while the rest of the world pays money to applaud. But, on the whole, I find fashion even more tedious than sports."
Dr. Malcolm," Hammond explained, "is a man of strong opinions."
And mad as a hatter," Malcolm said cheerfully. "But you must admit, these are nontrivial issues. We live in a world of frightful givens. It is given that you will behave like this, given that you will care about that. No one thinks about the givens. Isn't it amazing? In the information society, nobody thinks. We expected to banish paper, but we actually banished thought.
Michael Crichton (Jurassic Park (Parque Jurásico, #1))
The word of the day is legs. Let's go back to my place and spread the word.
Gena Showalter (Catch a Mate)
SEAL, I have a problem,” I say to him. “I didn’t bring any extra underwear.” “So what?” “I can’t run without underwear.” “Nah, bro, you can’t run without legs. It’s on.
Jesse Itzler (Living with a SEAL: 31 Days Training with the Toughest Man on the Planet)
The day may come when the rest of animal creation may acquire those rights which never could have been withholden from them but by the hand of tyranny. The French have already discovered that the blackness of the skin is no reason why a human being should be abandoned without redress to the caprice of a tormentor. It may one day come to be recognized that the number of legs, the villosity of the skin, or the termination of the os sacrum are reasons equally insufficient for abandoning a sensitive being to the same fate. What else is it that should trace the insuperable line? Is it the faculty of reason, or perhaps the faculty of discourse? But a full-grown horse or dog is beyond comparison a more rational, as well as a more conversable animal, than an infant of a day or a week or even a month old. But suppose they were otherwise, what would it avail? The question is not, Can they reason? nor Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?
Jeremy Bentham (The Principles of Morals and Legislation)
Peeta and I sit on the damp sand, facing away from each other, my right shoulder and hip pressed against his.
After a while I rest my head against his shoulder. Feel his hand caress my hair.
"Katniss... If you die, and I live, there's no life for me at all back in District Twelve. You're my whole life", he says. "I would never be happy again."
I start to object but he puts a finger to my lips. "It's different for you. I'm not sayin it wouldn't be hard. But there are other people who'd make your life worth living." ... "Your family needs you, Katniss", Peeta says.
My family. My mother. My sister. And my pretend cousin Gale. But Peeta's intension is clear. That Gale really is my family, or will be one day, if I live. That I'll marry him. So Peeta's giving me his life and Gale at the same time. To let me know I shouldn't ever have doubts about it.
Everithing. That's what Peeta wants me to take from him.
"No one really needs me", he says, and there's no self-pity in his voice. It's true his family doesen't need him. They will mourn him, as will a handful of friends. But they will get on. Even Haymitch, with the help of a lot of white liquor, will get on. I realize only one person will be damaged beyond repair if Peeta dies. Me.
"I do", I say. "I need you." He looks upset, takes a deep breath as if to begin a long argument, and that's no good, no good at all, because he'll start going on about Prim and my mother and everything and I'll just get confused. So before he can talk, I stop his lips with a kiss.
I feel that thing again. The thing I only felt once before. In the cave last year, when I was trying to get Haymitch to send us food. I kissed Peeta about a thousand times during those Games and after. But there was only one kiss that made me feel something stir deep inside. Only one that made me want more. But my head wound started bleeding and he made me lie down.
This time, there is nothing but us to interrupt us. And after a few attempts, Peeta gives up on talking. The sensation inside me grows warmer and spreads out from my chest, down through my body, out along my arms and legs, to the tips of my being. Instead of satisfying me, the kisses have the opposite effect, of making my need greater. I thought I was something of an expert on hunger, but this is an entirely new kind.
Suzanne Collins (Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2))
It’s something that never comes off, no matter how much you might want it to.”
“You’re comparing love to a…stain?”
He leans so far back in his seat that the front legs of his chair scrape off the floor. He looks very satisfied, with the crepe or with himself, I’m not sure. “Exactly.
Gayle Forman (Just One Day (Just One Day, #1))
Wrapped up in the music, I threw myself into an overstuffed chair and let my legs dangle over the arm, the position in which Nature intended music to be listened to, and for the first time in days I felt the muscles in my neck relaxing.
Alan Bradley (The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Flavia de Luce, #1))
Erick had underestimated the distance, both to the ground and the cliff above me, yet the texture of the cliff wall was better than I'd hoped for. Vines and plants grew dense and well rooted, and there were many rocks and missing chunks of earth. I didn't know whether I could make it to the top on one leg or not, but I thought it was a great day to try.
Jennifer A. Nielsen (The Runaway King (Ascendance, #2))
I am a cutter, you see. Also a snipper, a slicer, a carver, a jabber. I am a very special case. I have a purpose. My skin, you see, screams. It's covered with words - cook, cupcake, kitty, curls - as if a knife-wielding first-grader learned to write on my flesh. I sometimes, but only sometimes, laugh. Getting out of the bath and seeing, out of the corner of my eye, down the side of a leg: babydoll. Pull on a sweater and, in a flash of my wrist: harmful. Why these words? Thousands of hours of therapy have yielded a few ideas from the good doctors. They are often feminine, in a Dick and Jane, pink vs. puppy dog tails sort of way. Or they're flat-out negative. Number of synonyms for anxious carved in my skin: eleven. The one thing I know for sure is that at the time, it was crucial to see these letters on me, and not just see them, but feel them. Burning on my left hip: petticoat.
And near it, my first word, slashed on an anxious summer day at age thirteen: wicked. I woke up that morning, hot and bored, worried about the hours ahead. How do you keep safe when your whole day is as wide and empty as the sky? Anything could happen. I remember feeling that word, heavy and slightly sticky across my pubic bone. My mother's steak knife. Cutting like a child along red imaginary lines. Cleaning myself. Digging in deeper. Cleaning myself. Pouring bleach over the knife and sneaking through the kitchen to return it. Wicked. Relief. The rest of the day, I spent ministering to my wound. Dig into the curves of W with an alcohol-soaked Q-tip. Pet my cheek until the sting went away. Lotion. Bandage. Repeat.
Gillian Flynn (Sharp Objects)
You can't figure out why I'm mad? How about because I had my tongue between your legs two days ago, or the fact we both almost overdosed on orgasms, or maybe it's because I got a fucking hard on the minute you walked in that conference room door? Take your pick... there are a variety of reasons why I'm mad.
Sawyer Bennett (Objection (Legal Affairs, #1.1))
The great mother whom we call Innana gave a gift to woman that is not known among men, and this is the secret of blood. The flow at the dark of the moon, the healing blood of the moon’s birth - to men, this is flux and distemper, bother and pain. They imagine we suffer and consider themselves lucky. We do not disabuse them.
In the red tent, the truth is known. In the red tent, where days pass like a gentle stream, as the gift of Innana courses through us, cleansing the body of last month’s death, preparing the body to receive the new month’s life, women give thanks — for repose and restoration, for the knowledge that life comes from between our legs, and that life costs blood.
Anita Diamant (The Red Tent)
In my junior year I discovered books. . . . Devoured [them] the way other kids did candy or sandwiches, spent days hunched over . . . my spine an oversized question mark.
James Sallis (The Long-Legged Fly (Lew Griffin, #1))
I know what it's like. I've seen it played out a zillion times. You're waiting for that magical day when someone makes the connection and recognizes who you really are. Maybe they'll first catch the sparkle in your eye. Or perhaps they'll marvel at your insights and the depth of your spirit. Someone who will help you connect the dots, believe in yourself, and make sense of it all. Someone who will understand you, approve of you, and unhesitatingly give you a leg up so that life can pluck your ready, ripened self from the branch of magnificence. Well, I'm here to tell you, your wait is over. That someone, is you.
These are the days in which a true leader wants to live. These are days when opportunities to change lives and even destinies are nearly endless. You are running the anchor leg of the relay because you were born to lead. You were born for glory.
Sheri Dew (No Doubt About It)
Oh, but she never wanted James to grow a day older or Cam either. These two she would have liked to keep for ever just as the way they were, demons of wickedness, angels of delight, never to see them grow up into long-legged monsters.
Virginia Woolf (To the Lighthouse)
Normal adult shopping is something I will never actually do, because it’s no more possible for me to go shopping like normal adults do than it is for a man with no legs to wake up one day and walk. I can’t miss shopping like you’d miss things you once had. I miss it in a different way. I miss it like you would miss a train.
John Darnielle (Wolf in White Van)
We’re beings towards death, we’re featherless two-legged linguistically conscious creatures born between urine and feces whose bodies will one day be the culinary delight of terrestrial worms. That’s us.
Whenever anyone has called me a bitch, I have taken it as a compliment. To me, a bitch is assertive, unapologetic, demanding, intimidating, intelligent, fiercely protective, in control — all very positive attributes. But it’s not supposed to be a compliment, because there’s that stupid double standard: When men are aggressive and dominant, they are admired, but when a woman possesses those same qualities, she is dismissed and called a bitch.
These days, I strive to be a bitch, because not being one sucks. Not being a bitch means not having your voice heard. Not being a bitch means you agree with all the bullshit. Not being a bitch means you don’t appreciate all the other bitches who have come before you. Not being a bitch means since Eve ate that apple, we will forever have to pay for her bitchiness with complacence, obedience, acceptance, closed eyes, and open legs.
After a seven days' march through woodland, the traveler directed toward Baucis cannot see the city and yet he has arrived. The slender stilts that rise from the ground at a great distance from one another and are lost above the clouds support the city. You climb them with ladders. On the ground the inhabitants rarely show themselves: having already everything they need up there, they prefer not to come down. Nothing of the city touches the earth except those long flamingo legs on which it rests and, when the days are sunny, a pierced, angular shadow that falls on the foilage.
"There are three hypotheses about the inhabitants of Baucis: that they hate the earth; that they respect it so much they avoid all contact; that they love it as it was before they existed and with spyglasses and telescopes aimed downward they never tire of examining it, leaf by leaf, stone by stone, ant by ant, contemplating with fascination their own absence.
Italo Calvino (Invisible Cities)
I wake invisible.
I make a needle
from a porcupine quill,
sew feet to legs,
lift spine onto my thighs.
I put on my rib and collarbone.
I pin an ear to my head,
hear the waxwing's yellow cry.
I open my mouth for purple berries,
stick on periwinkle eyes.
I almost know what it is to be seen.
My throat enlarges from anger.
I make a hand to hold my pain.
My heart a hole the size of the sun's eclipse.
I push through the dark circle's
tattered edge of light.
All day I struggle with one hair after another
until the moon moves from the face of the sun
and there is a strange light
as though from a kerosene lamp in a cabin.
I pun on a dress,
a shawl over my shoulders.
My threads knotted and scissors gleaming.
Now I know I am seen.
I have a shadow.
I extend my arms,
dance and chant in the sun's new light.
I put a hat and coat on my shadow,
another larger dress.
I put on more shawls and blouses and underskirts
until even the shadow has substance
I think that I cannot preserve my health and spirits, unless I spend four hours a day at least—and it is commonly more than that—sauntering through the woods and over the hills and fields, absolutely free from all worldly engagements. You may safely say, A penny for your thoughts, or a thousand pounds. When sometimes I am reminded that the mechanics and shopkeepers stay in their shops not only all the forenoon, but all the afternoon too, sitting with crossed legs, so many of them—as if the legs were made to sit upon, and not to stand or walk upon—I think that they deserve some credit for not having all committed suicide long ago.
Henry David Thoreau (Walking)
I'd been making desicions for days.
I picked out the dress Bailey would wear forever-
a black slinky one- innapropriate- that she loved.
I chose a sweater to go over it, earrings, bracelet, necklace,
her most beloved strappy sandals.
I collected her makeup to give to the funeral director with a recent photo-
I thought it would be me that would dress her;
I didn't think a strange man should see her naked
touch her body
shave her legs
apply her lipstick
but that's what happened all the same.
I helped Gram pick out the casket,
the plot at the cemetery.
I changed a few lines
in the obituary that Big composed.
I wrote on a piece of paper what I thought
should go on the headstone.
I did all this without uttering a word.
Not one word, for days,
until I saw Bailey before the funeral
and lost my mind.
I hadn't realized that when people say so-and-so
that's what actually happens-
I started shaking her-
I thought I could wake her up
and get her the hell out of that box.
When she didn't wake,
I screamed: Talk to me.
Big swooped me up in his arms,
carried me out of the room, the church,
into the slamming rain,
and down to the creek
where we sobbed together
under the black coat he held over our heads
to protect us from the weather.
Jandy Nelson (The Sky Is Everywhere)
We are split people. For myself, half of me wishes to sit quietly with legs crossed, letting the things that are beyond my control wash over me. But the other half wants to fight a holy war. Jihad! And certainly we could argue this out in the street, but I think, in the end, your past is not my past and your truth is not my truth and your solution---it is not my solution. So I do not know what it is you would like me to say. Truth and firmness is one suggestion, though there are many people you can ask if that answer does not satisfy. Personally, my hope lies in the last days. The prophet Muhammad---peace be upon Him!---tells us that on the Day of Resurrection everyone will be struck unconscious. Deaf and dumb. No chitchat. Tongueless. And what a bloody relief that will be.
Zadie Smith (White Teeth)
Why me? “We don’t do requests. Try Iowa. I hear they’re more accommodating.” Hey, Dad, I found a lovely present for this coming Father’s Day. Enjoy.
The insect pointed a leg at me. “Die.”
Curran’s eyes went gold. His clothes tore, falling in shreds to the street, as the massive meld of human and lion spilled out. “Let’s see you try that shit on me.
Ilona Andrews (Magic Shifts (Kate Daniels, #8))
And when things get tough, this is what you should do.
Make good art.
I'm serious. Husband runs off with a politician? Make good art. Leg crushed and then eaten by mutated boa constrictor? Make good art. IRS on your trail? Make good art. Cat exploded? Make good art. Somebody on the Internet thinks what you do is stupid or evil or it's all been done before? Make good art. Probably things will work out somehow, and eventually time will take the sting away, but that doesn't matter. Do what only you do best. Make good art.
Make it on the good days too.
Neil Gaiman (Make Good Art)
The dachshund is a perfectly engineered dog. It is precisely long enough for a single standard stroke of the back, but you aren't paying for any superfluous leg.
Mary Doria Russell (Dreamers of the Day)
When you ignore your belly, you become homeless. You spend your life trying to erase your own existence. Apologizing for yourself. Feeling like a ghost. Eating to take up space, eating to give yourself the feeling that you have weight here, you belong here, you are allowed to be yourself -- but never quite believing it because you don't sense yourself directly.
. . . I started teaching a simple belly meditation in which I asked people to become aware of sensations in their belly (numbness and emptiness count as sensations). Every time their mind wandered . . . I asked them to begin counting their breaths so they could anchor their concentration. Starting with the number one and saying it on the out breath, they'd count to seven and begin again. If they were able to stay concentrated on the sensations in their belly centers, they didn't need to use counting as a concentration anchor.
. . . you begin the process of bringing yourself back to your body, to your belly, to your breath because they -- not the mind medleys -- are here now. And it is only here, only now that you can make a decision to eat or not eat. To occupy your own body or to vacate your arms and your legs while still breathing and go through your days as a walking head.
. . . Meditation is a tool to shake yourself awake. A way to discover what you love. A practice to return yourself to your body when the mind medleys threaten to usurp your sanity.
Geneen Roth (Women, Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything)
Fuck, what he’d give to be the one to run her a bath at the end of the day with all that smelly gunk chicks liked to dump in the water and then carry her naked to the bathroom and submerge her weary body into the water and then maybe he’d—grow a new set of balls, since the ones he had between his legs had turned him into a royal, fucking pussy.
V. Theia (Filthy Love (Renegade Souls MC Romance Saga #4))
Now isn't this role more fun than nun?" Gabrielle sauntered into the room, casting a sideways glance at the skirt she had personally hemmed.
Hamish nodded, "Kat... you have... legs."
"And boobs," Angus added, staring quite directly at the section of the white blouse that Gabrielle had made a bit too form-fitting for Kat's personal taste.
"Seriously Kat," Simon said, inching closer, "When did you get boobs?"
Hamish looked at Hale, "The boobs are new." He said as if that point hadn't already been thoroughly made.
"Is that padded?" Simon held out his hand as if to cop an oh-so-scientific feel.
"Hey!" Kat slapped his hand away.
"Her dad's going to get out of prison one of these days boys." Hale added, amused.
Ally Carter (Heist Society (Heist Society, #1))
What do you think is my favourite book? Just now, I mean; I change every three days. "Wuthering Heights." Emily Bronte was quite young when she wrote it, and had never been outside of Haworth churchyard. She had never known any men in her life; how could she imagine a man like Heathcliff?
I couldn't do it, and I'm quite young and never outside the John Grier Asylum - I've had every chance in the world. Sometimes a dreadful fear comes over me that I'm not a genius. Will you be awfully disappointed, Daddy, if I don't turn out to be a great author?
Jean Webster (Daddy-Long-Legs (Daddy-Long-Legs, #1))
Yessir. A crutch, like one-legged men always have.
Frederick Forsyth (The Day of the Jackal)
Electrical shivers shoot up my leg.
And my knee is such a slut!
She likes it! She's that friend you have. The one who you tell you're on a diet and the next day shows up with cupcakes and says, Aww, just one won't hurt.
Jillian Dodd (Date Me (The Keatyn Chronicles, #3))
The humans were sitting cross-legged on the floor in a circle of soldiers, pointing at things and learning more Chimaera words: salt, rat, eat, which unfortunate combination led to Zuzana rejecting the meat on her plate.
"I think it's chicken," Mik said, taking a bite.
"I'm just saying there were a lot more rats around here earlier."
"Circumstantial evidence." Mik took another bite and said, in passable Chimaera and to guffaws of laughter, "Salty delicious rat."
"It's chicken," insisted one of the Shadows That Live. Karou wasn't sure which it was, but she was flapping her arms like wings, and even producing chicken bones to prove it.
Laini Taylor (Days of Blood & Starlight (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #2))
Do I have an original thought in my head? My bald head. Maybe if I were happier, my hair wouldn't be falling out.
Life is short. I need to make the most of it. Today is the first day of the rest of my life. I'm a walking cliché.
I really need to go to the doctor and have my leg checked. There's something wrong. A bump. The dentist called again. I'm way overdue. If I stop putting things off, I would be happier. All I do is sit on my fat ass. If my ass wasn't fat I would be happier. I wouldn't have to wear these shirts with the tails out all the time. Like that's fooling anyone. Fat ass.
I should start jogging again. Five miles a day. Really do it this time. Maybe rock climbing. I need to turn my life around. What do I need to do? I need to fall in love. I need to have a girlfriend. I need to read more, improve myself. What if I learned Russian or something? Or took up an instrument? I could speak Chinese. I'd be the screenwriter who speaks Chinese and plays the oboe. That would be cool.
I should get my hair cut short. Stop trying to fool myself and everyone else into thinking I have a full head of hair. How pathetic is that?
Just be real. Confident. Isn't that what women are attracted to? Men don't have to be attractive. But that's not true. Especially these days. Almost as much pressure on men as there is on women these days.
Why should I be made to feel I have to apologize for my existence? Maybe it's my brain chemistry. Maybe that's what's wrong with me. Bad chemistry. All my problems and anxiety can be reduced to a chemical imbalance or some kind of misfiring synapses. I need to get help for that.
But I'll still be ugly though.
Nothing's gonna change that.
In Plato's Symposium, Aristophanes accounts for this feeling of familiarity by claiming that the loved one was our long-lost 'other half to whose body our own had originally been joined. In the beginning, all human beings were hermaphrodites with double backs and flanks, four hands and four legs and two faces turned in opposite directions on the same head. These hermaphrodites were so powerful and their pride so overweening that Zeus was forced to cut them in two, into a male and female half – and from that day, every man and woman has yearned nostalgically but confusedly to rejoin the part from which he or she was severed.
Alain de Botton (On Love)
One hand on the iron and the other on the nape of my neck, he rocked against me over and over, and my legs quivered with his firm, determined movements. His tongue searched my mouth, and I could feel the vibration of his deep groans against my chest as he kept to his promise to make our last day together memorable. I could spend a thousand years trying to block that moment from my memory, and it would still be burned into my mind.
Jamie McGuire (Beautiful Disaster (Beautiful, #1))
Even if you were green and had a beard and a male appendage between your legs. Even if your eyebrows were orange and you had a mole covering your entire cheek and a nose that poked me in the eye every time I kissed you. Even if you weighed seven hundred pounds and had hair the size of a Doberman under your arms. Even then, I would love you.
David Levithan (Every Day (Every Day, #1))
The Taoists realized that no single concept or value could be considered absolute or superior. If being useful is beneficial, the being useless is also beneficial. The ease with which such opposites may change places is depicted in a Taoist story about a farmer whose horse ran away.
His neighbor commiserated only to be told, "Who knows what's good or bad?" It was true. The next day the horse returned, bringing with it a drove of wild horses it had befriended in its wanderings. The neighbor came over again, this time to congratulate the farmer on his windfall. He was met with the same observation: "Who knows what is good or bad?" True this time too; the next day the farmer's son tried to mount one of the wild horses and fell off, breaking his leg. Back came the neighbor, this time with more commiserations, only to encounter for the third time the same response, "Who knows what is good or bad?" And once again the farmer's point was well taken, for the following day soldiers came by commandeering for the army and because of his injury, the son was not drafted.
According to the Taoists, yang and yin, light and shadow, useful and useless are all different aspects of the whole, and the minute we choose one side and block out the other, we upset nature's balance. If we are to be whole and follow the way of nature, we must pursue the difficult process of embracing the opposites.
Connie Zweig (Meeting the Shadow: The Hidden Power of the Dark Side of Human Nature (New Consciousness Reader))
I enjoyed sitting behind him, watching. God he was handsome. How many times had I admired him? His backside, his shoulders, slim hips, long legs, his oval eyes, fingers, ring finger. I should give him a ring to wear. I’d slip it on his finger. Usually I don’t like a ski-jump nose: I liked his. Can I say love? I was almost beside myself when Miss Sally opened the door at 2 p.m. and said she was leaving for the day.
G.M. Monks (Iola O)
Thorn carried in each limb every hour of her training, every day and year bound into the muscle of her arms, written along the length of her legs, beaten into the hardness of stomach and thigh. She knew five dozen ways to kill, she knew them with a lover's intimacy, and in the execution perhaps lust also played its role—for what is lust but a hunger? And hunger must be fed.
Mark Lawrence (Red Sister (Book of the Ancestor, #1))
Why,' I said, quite surprised by my own eloquence in inventing all this stuff, 'it happens every day. The old old story. Boys and girls fall in love, that is, they are driven mad and go blind and deaf and see each other not as human animals with comic noses and bandy legs and voices like frogs, but as angels so full of shining goodness that like hollow turnips with candles put into them, they seem miracles of beauty. And the next minute the candles shoot out sparks and burn their eyes. And they seem to each other like devils, full of spite and cruelty. And they will drive each other mad unless they have grown some imagination. Even enough to laugh.
Joyce Cary (The Horse's Mouth)
Dear Victor: Wow. That … really got out of hand. I’m sending this cat in as a peace offering. I forgive you for all the stuff you wrote on the walls about my sister, and I’m going to just ignore all the stuff you wrote about my “giant ass” (turn cat over for rest) because I love you and you need me. Who else loves you enough to send you notes written on cats? Nobody, that’s who. Also, I stapled a picture of us from our wedding day to the cat’s left leg. Don’t we look happy? We can be that way again. Just stop leaving wet towels on the floor. That’s all I ask. I’m low-maintenance that way. Also, this cat needs to go on a diet. I shouldn't be able to write this much on a cat and still have room left over.
Jenny Lawson (Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir)
Raindrops are my only reminder that clouds have a heartbeat. That I have one, too. I always wonder about raindrops. I wonder about how they’re always falling down, tripping over their own feet, breaking their legs and forgetting their parachutes as they tumble right out of the sky toward an uncertain end. It’s like someone is emptying their pockets over the earth and doesn’t seem to care where the contents fall, doesn’t seem to care that the raindrops burst when they hit the ground, that they shatter when they fall to the floor, that people curse the days the drops dare to tap on their doors. I am a raindrop.
Tahereh Mafi (Shatter Me (Shatter Me, #1))
The hemulen woke up slowly and recognised himself and wished he had been someone he didn't know. He felt even tireder than when he went to bed, and here it was -- another day which would go on until evening and then there would be another one and another one which would be the same as all days are when they are lived by a hemulen.
He crept under the bedcover and buried his nose in the pillow, then he shifted his stomach to the edge of the bed where the sheets were cool. He took possession of the whole bed with outstretched arms and legs he was waiting for a nice dream that wouldn't come. He curled up and made himself small but it didn't help a bit. He tried being the hemulen that everybody like, he tried being the hemulen that no one liked. But however hard he tried he remained a hemulen doing his best without anything really coming off. In the end he got up and pulled on his trousers.
The Hemulen didn't like getting dressed and undressed, it gave him a feeling that the days passed without anything of importance happening. Even so, he spent the whole day arranging, organising and directing things from morning till night! All around him there were people living slipshod and aimless lives, wherever he looked there was something to be put to rights and he worked his fingers to the bone trying to get them to see how they ought to live.
It's as though they don't want to live well, the Hemulen thought sadly as he brushed his teeth. He looked at the photograph of himself with his boat which was been taken when the boat was launched. It was a beautiful picture but it made him feel even sadder.
I ought to learn how to sail, the Hemulen thought. But I've never got enough time...
Moominvalley in November
Chapter 5, THE HEMULEN
Tove Jansson (Moominvalley in November (The Moomins, #9))
But if the cause be not good, the king himself hath a heavy reckoning to make, when all those legs and arms and heads, chopped off in battle, shall join together at the latter day and cry all 'We died at such a place;' some swearing, some crying for a surgeon, some upon their wives left poor behind them, some upon the debts they owe, some upon their children rawly left. I am afeard there are few die well that die in a battle; for how can they charitably dispose of anything, when blood is their argument? Now, if these men do not die well, it will be a black matter for the king that led them to it; whom to disobey were against all proportion of subjection.
[Henry V, Act IV Scene I]
William Shakespeare (Henry V)
Your suns and worlds are not within my ken,
I merely watch the plaguey state of men.
The little god of earth remains the same queer sprite
As on the first day, or in primal light.
His life would be less difficult, poor thing,
Without your gift of heavenly glimmering;
He calls it Reason, using light celestial
Just to outdo the beasts in being bestial.
To me he seems, with deference to Your Grace,
One of those crickets, jumping round the place,
Who takes his flying leaps, with legs so long,
Then falls to grass and chants the same old song;
But, not content with grasses to repose in,
This one will hunt for muck to stick his nose in.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Faust, Part One)
I went to bed last night utterly dejected; I thought I was never going to amount to anything, and that you had thrown away your money for nothing. But what do you think? I woke up this morning with a beautiful new plot in my head, and I've been going about all day planning my characters, just as happy as I could be. No one can ever accuse me of being a pessimist! If I had a husband and twelve children swallowed by an earthquake one day, I'd bob up smilingly the next morning and commence to look for another set. ~Jershua Abbott
Jean Webster (Daddy-Long-Legs)
Gray texted me a joke the other day. Want to hear it?”
“Knowing Gray’s terrible jokes, probably not. But okay.”
He rubs the back of his neck. “What do you call a cow with no legs?”
I caress his waist where muscles ripple. “What?”
Kristen Callihan (The Game Plan (Game On, #3))
MY MOTHER GETS DRESSED
It is impossible for my mother to do even
the simplest things for herself anymore
so we do it together,
get her dressed.
I choose the clothes without
zippers or buckles or straps,
clothes that are simple
but elegant, and easy to get into.
Otherwise, it's just like every other day.
After bathing, getting dressed.
The stockings go on first.
This time, it's the new ones,
the special ones with opaque black triangles
that she's never worn before,
bought just two weeks ago
at her favorite department store.
We start with the heavy, careful stuff of the right toes
into the stocking tip
then a smooth yank past the knob of her ankle
and over her cool, smooth calf
then the other toe
cool ankle, smooth calf
up the legs
and the pantyhose is coaxed to her waist.
You're doing great, Mom,
I tell her
as we ease her body
against mine, rest her whole weight against me
to slide her black dress
with the black empire collar
over her head
struggle her fingers through the dark tunnel of the sleeve.
I reach from the outside
deep into the dark for her hand,
grasp where I can't see for her touch.
You've got to help me a little here, Mom
I tell her
then her fingertips touch mine
and we work her fingers through the sleeve's mouth
together, then we rest, her weight against me
before threading the other fingers, wrist, forearm, elbow, bicep
and now over the head.
I gentle the black dress over her breasts,
thighs, bring her makeup to her,
put some color on her skin.
Green for her eyes.
Coral for her lips.
I get her black hat.
She's ready for her company.
I tell the two women in simple, elegant suits
waiting outside the bedroom, come in.
They tell me, She's beautiful.
Yes, she is, I tell them.
I leave as they carefully
zip her into
the black body bag.
Three days later,
I dream a large, green
When I unzip it,
my mother is inside.
Her dress matches
her eyeshadow, which matches
perfectly. She's wearing
"I'm here," she says, smiling delightedly, waving
and I wake up.
Four days later, she comes home
in a plastic black box
that is heavier than it looks.
In the middle of a meadow,
I learn a naked
more than naked.
I learn a new way to hug
as I tighten my fist
around her body,
my hand filled with her ashes
and the small stones of bones.
I squeeze her tight
then open my hand
and release her
into the smallest, hottest sun,
a dandelion screaming yellow at the sky.
Daphne Gottlieb (Final Girl)
I had forgotten hours and days by then. My arms ached, my back ached, my legs ached. My head ached worst of all, some part of me tethered back to the valley, stretched out of recognizable shape and trying to make sense of myself when I was so far from anything I knew. Even the mountains, my constants, had disappeared. Of course I'd known there were parts of the country with no mountains, but I'd imagined I would still see them somewhere in the distance, like the moon. But every time I looked behind me, they were smaller and smaller, until finally they disappeared with one final gasp of rolling hills.
Naomi Novik (Uprooted)
I look forward all day to evening, and then I put an "engaged" on the door and get into my nice red bath robe and furry slippers and pile all the cushions behind me on the couch, and light the brass student lamp at my elbow, and read and read and read. One book isn't enough. I have four going at once. Just now, they're Tennyson's poems and "Vanity Fair" and Kipling's "Plain Tales" and - don't laugh - "Little Women." I find that I am the only girl in college who wasn't brought up on "Little Women." I haven't told anybody though (that would stamp me as queer). I just quietly went and bought it with $1.12 of my last month's allowance; and the next time somebody mentions pickled limes, I'll know what she is talking about!
Jean Webster (Daddy-Long-Legs (Daddy-Long-Legs, #1))
I'll tell you what's real. Real is that I was in jail for the past year, rooming with drug dealers and eating crap food your dog wouldn't touch. Real is not being able to wear your own frickin' underwear and showering with twenty-five other dicks every day while guards watch. Real is my next-door neighbor who walks like she's balancing on stilts because her leg is so fucked up from the accident. Brian, your perception of reality is totally off.
Simone Elkeles (Leaving Paradise (Leaving Paradise, #1))
On May 26th, 2003,
Aaron Ralston was hiking,
a boulder fell on his right hand,
he waited four days,
he then amputated
his own arm with a pocketknife.
On New Year’s Eve,
a woman was bungee jumping,
the cord broke,
she fell into a river
and had to swim back to land
in crocodile-infested waters
with a broken collarbone.
Claire Champlin was smashed in the face
by a five-pound watermelon
being propelled by a slingshot.
Mathew Brobst was hit by a javelin.
David Striegl was actually
punched in the mouth by a kangaroo.
The most amazing part of these stories
is when asked about the experience
they all smiled, shrugged and said
“I guess things could’ve been worse.”
So go ahead,
tell me you’re having a bad day.
Tell me about the traffic.
Tell me about your boss.
Tell me about the job you’ve been trying to quit for the past four years.
Tell me the morning is just a townhouse burning to the ground and the snooze button is a fire extinguisher.
Tell me the alarm clock
stole the keys to your smile,
drove it into 7 am
and the crash totaled your happiness.
Tell me how blessed are we to have tragedy
so small it can fit on the tips of our tongues.
When Evan lost his legs he was speechless.
When my cousin was assaulted
she didn’t speak for 48 hours.
When my uncle was murdered,
we had to send out a search party
to find my father’s voice.
Most people have no idea
that tragedy and silence
often have the exact same address.
When your day is a museum of disappointments,
hanging from events that were outside of your control,
when you feel like your guardian angel put in his two weeks notice two months ago
and just decided not to tell you,
when it seems like God
is just a babysitter that’s always on the phone,
when you get punched in the esophagus by a fistful of life.
two million people die of dehydration.
So it doesn’t matter if
the glass is half full or half empty.
There’s water in the cup.
Drink it and stop complaining.
Muscle is created by lifting things
that are designed to weigh us down.
When your shoulders are heavy
stand up straight and call it exercise.
Life is a gym membership
with a really complicated cancellation policy.
you will survive,
things could be worse,
and we are never given
anything we can’t handle.
When the whole world crumbles,
you have to build a new one
out of all the pieces that are still here.
you are still here.
The human heart beats
approximately 4,000 times per hour
and each pulse,
each palpitation is a trophy,
engraved with the words
“You are still alive.”
You are still alive.
So act like it.
Rudy Francisco (Helium)
His thumb went back and forth over the satin, as if he were rubbing her hip as he had when they’d been together, and he moved his leg over so that it was on top of the skirting.
It wasn’t the same, though. There was no body underneath, and the fabric smelled like lemons, not her skin. And he was, after all, alone in this room that was not theirs.
“God, I miss you,” he said in a voice that cracked. “Every night. Every day…
J.R. Ward (Lover Reborn (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #10))
The nights are filled with explosion and motor transport, and wind that brings them up over the downs a last smack of the sea. Day begins with a hot cup and a cigarette over a little table with a weak leg that Roger has repaired, provisionally, with brown twine. There's never much talk but touches and looks, smiles together, curses for parting. It is marginal, hungry, chilly - most times they're too paranoid to risk a fire - but it's something they want to keep, so much that to keep it they will take on more than propaganda has ever asked them for. They are in love. Fuck the war.
Thomas Pynchon (Gravity's Rainbow)
Not easy when you can't talk, is it?" I grinned. "Well, not easy for you but I could get used to it."
He grumbled, but I could see relif in his eyes, like he was glad to see me smile.
"SO i was right, wasn't I? It's still youm even in wolf form."
"No sudden uncontrollable urges to go kill something?"
He rolled his eyes.
"Hey, you're the one who was worried." I paused. "And i don't smell like dinner, right?"
I got a real look for that one.
"Just covering all the bases."
He gave a rumbling groul, like a chuckle, and settled in, lowering his head to his front paws, gaze on me. I tried to get comfortable, but the ground was ice-cold through his swearshirt, and i was wearing only my new pajamas, a light jacket, and sneakers.
Seeing me shiver, he stretched a front leg toward the swearshirt, pawing the edge and snarling when he realized he couldnt grab it.
"The lack of opposanle thumbs is going to take some getting used to, huh?"
He motioned me closer with his muzzel. When I pretended not to understand, he twisted and gingerly took the hem of the swearshirt between his teeth, lips curled in discust as he tugged it.
"Okay, okay. I'm just trying not to croud you."
That wasnt the only reason i was uncomfortanle getting too cozy with him now, but he just grunted, again seeming to say it was fine. i moved over beside himm. He shifted, his torso making a partial wind block, the boddy heat from the change still blasting like a furnace.
"Yes, thats better.thanks. now get some rest."
i had no idea what would happen now. i doubted derek did either. he'd been focused on getting through the change. what i did know was that this was only half the process. he had to change back, and he'd need time and rest for that.
and how would it happen? did he have to wait until his body was ready, like he did with the change to a wolf? how long would that be?hours?days?
Feeling his gaze on me, i forced a smile and pushed back my worries. it would be okat. he could change. that was the important thing.
when i relaxed, he shifted closer, fur brushing my hand. i tentatively touched it, feeling the coarse top layer and soft undercoar. he leaned against my hand, as if to sat it was okaym and i buried my hand in his fur, his skin so hot from the change it was like putting my numb hands on a radiator. my cool fingers must have felt just as good, because he closed his eyes and shifte until i was leaning on him. within minutes he was asleep.
i closed my eyes, meaning to rest for just a moment, but the next thing i knew, i was waking up, curled on my side, using derek as a pillow. i jumped. he looked over at me.
"S-sorry, I didn't mean-"
He cut me short with a growl, telling me off for apologizing.
I envy the table its scars, the scorch marks caused by the hot bread tins. I envy its calm sense of time, and I wish I could say: I did this five years ago. I made this mark, this ring caused by a wet coffee cup, this cigarette burn, this ladder of cuts against the wood’s coarse grain. This is where Anouk carved her initials, the year she was six years old, this secret place behind the table leg. I did this on a warm day seven summers ago with the carving knife. Do you remember? Do you remember the summer the river ran dry? Do you remember? I envy the table’s calm sense of place. It has been here a long time. It belongs.
Joanne Harris (Chocolat (Chocolat, #1))
I got out of bed
on two strong legs.
It might have been
otherwise. I ate
milk, ripe, flawless
peach. It might
have been otherwise.
I took the dog uphill
to the birch wood.
All morning I did
the work I love.
At noon I lay down
with my mate. It might
have been otherwise.
We ate dinner together
at a table with silver
candlesticks. It might
have been otherwise.
I slept in a bed
in a room with paintings
on the walls, and
planned another day
just like this day.
But one day, I know,
it will be otherwise.
Jane Kenyon (Otherwise: New and Selected Poems)
I have an evening dress, pink mull over silk (I'm perfectly beautiful in that), and a blue church dress, and a dinner dress of red veiling with Oriental trimming (makes me look like a Gipsy), and another of rose-coloured challis, and a grey street suit, and an every-day dress for classes. That wouldn't be an awfully big wardrobe for Julia Rutledge Pendleton, perhaps, but for Jerusha Abbott - Oh, my!
Jean Webster (Daddy-Long-Legs (Daddy-Long-Legs, #1))
What grief is not taken away by time? What passion will survive an unequal battle with it? I knew a man in the bloom of his still youthful powers, filled with true nobility and virtue, I knew him when he was in love, tenderly, passionately, furiously, boldly, modestly, and before me, almost before my eyes, the object of his passion - tender, beautiful as an angel - was struck down by insatiable death. I never saw such terrible fits of inner suffering, such furious scorching anguish, such devouring despair as shook the unfortunate lover. I never thought a man could create such a hell for himself, in which there would be no shadow, no image, nothing in the least resembling hope... They tried to keep an eye on him; they hid all instruments he might have used to take his own life. Two weeks later he suddenly mastered himself: he began to laugh, to joke; freedom was granted him, and the first thing he did was buy a pistol. One day his family was terribly frightened by the sudden sound of a shot. They ran into the room and saw him lying with his brains blown out. A doctor who happened to be there, whose skill was on everyone's lips, saw signs of life in him, found that the wound was not quite mortal, and the man, to everyone's amazement, was healed. The watch on him was increased still more. Even at the table they did not give him a knife to and tried to take away from him anything that he might strike himself with; but a short while later he found a new occasion and threw himself under the wheels of a passing carriage. His arms and legs were crushed; but again they saved him. A year later I saw him in a crowded room; he sat at the card table gaily saying 'Petite ouverte,' keeping one card turned down, and behind him, leaning on the back of his chair, stood his young wife, who was sorting through his chips.
Nikolai Gogol (The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol)
Marturano recommended something radical: do only one thing at a time. When you’re on the phone, be on the phone. When you’re in a meeting, be there. Set aside an hour to check your email, and then shut off your computer monitor and focus on the task at hand. Another tip: take short mindfulness breaks throughout the day. She called them “purposeful pauses.” So, for example, instead of fidgeting or tapping your fingers while your computer boots up, try to watch your breath for a few minutes. When driving, turn off the radio and feel your hands on the wheel. Or when walking between meetings, leave your phone in your pocket and just notice the sensations of your legs moving. “If I’m a corporate samurai,” I said, “I’d be a little worried about taking all these pauses that you recommend because I’d be thinking, ‘Well, my rivals aren’t pausing. They’re working all the time.’ ” “Yeah, but that assumes that those pauses aren’t helping you. Those pauses are the ways to make you a more clear thinker and for you to be more focused on what’s important.
Dan Harris (10% Happier)
A pirate at sea has a peg leg, a hook for a hand, and an eye patch. One of his companions asks him how he lost his leg.” “Please stop,” Kearan begs. “He answers, ‘A cannonball.’ Then his companion asks how he lost his hand. He answers, ‘A sword.’” “Enwen, I will knock you unconscious,” Kearan threatens, but I can tell he doesn’t have the energy to carry it out. “When the companion asks how he lost his eye, the man says, ‘A spray of the sea.’” Kearan stares at Enwen. “That doesn’t even make any sense.” “It was his first day with the hook.
Tricia Levenseller (Daughter of the Siren Queen (Daughter of the Pirate King, #2))
Sloan & Dex...
“You skipped puberty didn’t you?”
Dex let out a wistful sigh. “It wasn’t for me.”
Sloane laughed as he carried Dex out of the room. “You’re hopeless.”
“I’m also nonrefundable.”
“Surely there’s a return policy.”
“Forget it. You’re way past the thirty-day refund period. You’re stuck with me now. And before you ask, I’m also nontransferable and nonexchangeable. If you donate me to charity there’s no tax write-off because technically that would be considered Human trafficking.”
“Wow. You’ve got your bases covered.”
“You bet. Should have paid more attention to the Dexter J. Daley boyfriend agreement.”
Sloane dropped him onto the counter and stepped between his legs to pull him close. “I don’t recall this boyfriend agreement.”
“You might have been sleeping at the time, but sleep during the reading of the DJDBA is covered in the fine print. As long as you have a pulse, you’re considered present and accounted for.”
Charlie Cochet (Rack & Ruin (THIRDS, #3))
Lou reluctantly drew back, still holding Joe, and placed his soft lips on Joe's own. Existence reacted to their reunion. Immediately, it was as if two halves became whole once again. The sky flashed colors overhead as they stood together: day to night, night to day. They stood motionless and kissing for so long a period that they might have been mistaken for part of the landscape, as vines climbed up their legs and grass grew around them; as dirt gathered and buried even more the scattered fragments of the abbey. Only the keepers of time knew that lifetimes did indeed pass, possibly entire eras. And yet it was but a scant moment to Joe and Lou. All of it but a simple, longed-for embrace neither time nor death could contain.
Eric Arvin (Woke Up in a Strange Place)
When I was thirteen I spent a lot of time pretending to like dance music because everyone at my school seemed to love it. If only I'd known it was OK to have different tastes to others and that one day my mind would be blown open by an older man who would introduce me to The Smiths, The Cure, Buzzcocks, Talking Heads and almost every other band I adore to this day. I also wish I'd been reassured that one day, yes, a boy would actually fancy me in spite and potentially, deliberately, FOR my zero boob/skinny legs combo. But mainly I wish I'd listened to my mother when she said learning to play the piano might come in handy in the future and would actually be something I would thank her for forcing me to do. Every Wednesday we would drive to Mrs Batten's house listening to The ArchersI, with me in the passenger seat trying desperately to think up excuses for why I hadn't practiced that week. Though it seemed very unlikely at the time, I am thankful for those piano lessons every time I manage to impress a boy by hammering out some Chopin when drunk (swot up, kids!).
Alexa Chung (It)
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))
He was tall, but exceedingly lank, with narrow shoulders, long arms and legs, hands that dangled a mile out of his sleeves, feet that might have served for shovels, and his whole frame most loosely hung together. His head was small, and flat at top, with huge ears, large green glassy eyes, and a long snipe nose, so that it looked like a weather-cock perched upon his spindle neck to tell which way the wind blew. To see him striding along the profile of a hill on a windy day, with his clothes bagging and fluttering about him, one might have mistaken him for the genius of famine descending upon the earth, or some scarecrow eloped from a cornfield.
Washington Irving (The Legend of Sleepy Hollow)
People think blood red, but blood don't got no colour. Not when blood wash the floor she lying on as she scream for that son of a bitch to come, the lone baby of 1785. Not when the baby wash in crimson and squealing like it just depart heaven to come to hell, another place of red. Not when the midwife know that the mother shed too much blood, and she who don't reach fourteen birthday yet speak curse 'pon the chile and the papa, and then she drop down dead like old horse. Not when blood spurt from the skin, on spring from the axe, the cat-o'-nine, the whip, the cane and the blackjack and every day in slave life is a day that colour red. It soon come to pass when red no different from white or blue or black or nothing. Two black legs spread wide and mother mouth screaming. A black baby wiggling in blood on the floor with skin darker than midnight but the greenest eyes anybody ever done seen. I goin' call her Lilith. You can call her what they call her.
Marlon James (The Book of Night Women)
What are you doing here?"
He takes a deep breath. "I came for you."
"And how on EARTH did you know I was up here?"
"I saw you." He pauses. "I came to make another wish,and I was standing on Point Zero when I saw you enter the tower. I called your name,and you looked around,but you didn't see me."
"So you decided to just...come up?" I'm doubtful,despite the evidence in front of me.It must have taken superhuman strength for him to make it past the first flight of stairs alone.
"I had to.I couldn't wait for you to come down,I couldn't wait any longer. I had to see you now.I have to know-"
He breaks off,and my pulse races. What what what?
"Why did you lie to me?"
The question startles me.Not what I was expecting.Nor hoping.He's still on the ground,but he stares up at me.His brown eyes are huge and heartbroken. I'm confused. "I'm sorry, I don't know what-"
"November.At the creperie. I asked you if we'd talked about anything strange that night I was drunk in your room.If I had said anything about our relationship,or my relationship with Ellie.And you said no."
Oh my God. "How did you know?"
"Josh told me."
I'm stunned. "I...I..." My throat is dry. "If you'd seen the look on your face that day.In the restaurant. How could I possibly tell you? With your mother-"
"But if you had,I wouldn't have wasted all of these months.I thought you were turning me down.I thought you weren't interested."
"But you were drunk! You had a girlfriend! What was I supposed to do? God,St. Clair,I didn't even know if you meant it."
"Of course I meant it." He stands,and his legs falter.
Step.Step.Step. He toddles toward me,and I reach for his hand to guide him.We're so close to the edge. He sits next to me and grips my hand harder. "I meant it,Anna.I mean it."
"I don't under-"
He's exasperated. "I'm saying I'm in love with you! I've been in love with you this whole bleeding year!"
My mind spins. "But Ellie-"
"I cheated on her every day.In my mind, I thought of you in ways I shouldn't have,again and again. She was nothing compared to you.I've never felt this way about anybody before-"
"The first day of school." He scoots closer. "We weren't physics partners by accident.I saw Professeur Wakefield assigning lab partners based on where people were sitting,so I leaned forward to borrow a pencil from you at just the right moment so he'd think we were next to each other.Anna,I wanted to be your partner the first day."
"But..." I can't think straight.
"I doubt you love poetry! 'I love you as certain dark things are loved, secretly,between the shadow and the soul.'"
I blink at him.
"Neruda.I starred the passage.God," he moans. "Why didn't you open it?"
"Because you said it was for school."
"I said you were beautiful.I slept in your bed!"
"You never mave a move! You had a girlfriend!"
"No matter what a terrible boyfriend I was,I wouldn't actually cheat on her. But I thought you'd know.With me being there,I thought you'd know."
We're going in circles. "How could I know if you never said anything?"
"How could I know if you never said anyting?"
"You had Ellie!"
"You had Toph! And Dave!
Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1))
I look at sex differently than most people. It’s an exchange, and it should be good for both parties. I don’t want you to spread your legs and let me have you because you want someone to hold you. If you want me to hold you, ask me. I want you to spread your legs because you can’t wait another single second for my cock. I want that pussy ripe and ready and weeping for a big dick to split it wide and have its way. I want your nipples to peak because I walk into a room and you remember every dirty thing I can do to them. I want you to want me. I can make you crave me. I don’t want some drive-by fucking that gets me off and I forget it five minutes later. I want to fuck all night long. I want to feel it all the next day because my cock got so used to being deep inside your body. If that’s what you want, then get dressed in the sexiest thing you own and agree that I’m the boss when it comes to sex.
Lexi Blake (A Dom is Forever (Masters and Mercenaries, #3))
In that latitude the temperature flirted with a hundred degrees for a few of the dog days, but to a child it can hardly ever be too hot. I liked the sun licking the backs of my legs, and the sweat between my shoulder blades, and the violet evenings, with ice cream and fireflies, wherein the long day slowly cooled. I liked the ants piling up dirt like coffee grounds between the bricks of our front walk, and the milkweed spittle in the vacant lot next door. I liked the freedom of shorts, sneakers, and striped T-shirt, with freckles and a short hot-weather haircut.
We love easily in summer, perhaps, because we love our summer selves.
All these years, whenever I thought of him, I'd think either of B. or of our last days in Rome, the whole thing leading up to two scenes: the balcony with its attendant agonies and via Santa Maria dell' Anima, where he'd pushed me against the old wall and kissed me and in the end let me put one leg around his. Every time I go back to Rome, I go back to that one spot. It is still alive for me, still resounds with something totally present, as though a heart stolen from a tale by Poe still throbbed under the ancient slate pavement to remind me that, here, I had finally encountered the life that was right for me but had failed to have.
André Aciman (Call Me by Your Name)
Feltock bit the inside of his cheek. Then he said, ‘And you think you remember everyone who was there that day?’
I thought about it for a moment. ‘Not everyone, ’I replied. Feltock was looking at me intently, trying to see if I knew, if I did remember. More trouble than it will be worth, I thought, but I was a little drunk and a little tired so I said, ‘But since you’re asking, yes, General Feltock, I remember you.’
Feltock’s eyes went wide for a moment, but then he gave a bitter laugh. ‘Not “General”, ’he said. ‘Not for a few years now. ’We drank some more in silence. ‘So,’he said, uncrossing his legs with a crack. ‘Are you gonna come for me next, boy?’
I sighed. ‘No.’
‘Why not? I was there, wasn’t I? I was one of those what took down your King, wasn’t I? So what’s the difference between me and Lynniac?’
‘You didn’t laugh. ’He just looked at me for a while and then said, ‘Huh’. Then he stood up and started walking back to the wagons.
‘Why “Captain”Feltock?’ I asked when he was a few paces away. ‘Why aren’t you a general any more?’
Feltock turned and gave me a sour grin. He tossed the rest of his wineskin back to me.
‘Because, boy, when they put the King’s head on that pole, I forgot to laugh.
Sebastien de Castell (Traitor's Blade (Greatcoats, #1))
I was in bed at my beach house, but could not sleep because of some fried chicken in the icebox that I felt entitled to. I waited till my wife dropped off, and tiptoed into the kitchen. I remembered looking at the clock. It was precisely four-fifteen. I'm quite certain of this, because our kitchen clock has not worked in twenty-one years and is always at that time. I also noticed that our dog, Judas, was acting funny. He was sanding up on his hind legs and singing, 'I Enjoy Being a Girl.' Suddenly the room turned bright orange. At first, I thought my wife had caught me eating between meals and set fire to the house. Then I looked out the window, where to my amazement I saw a gigantic cigar-shaped aircraft hovering just over the treetops in the yard and emitting an orange glow. I stood transfixed for what must have been several hours, though our clock still read four-fifteen, so it was difficult to tell. Finally, a large, mechanical claw extended from the aircraft and snatched the two pieces of chicken from my hand and quickly retreated. When I reported the incident to the Air Force, they told me that what I had seen was a flock of birds. When I protested, Colonel Quincy Bascomb personally promised that the Air Force would return the two pieces of chicken. To this day, I have only received one piece.
Woody Allen (Side Effects)
That night we made love "the real way" which we had not yet attempted
although married six months.
Big mystery. No one knew where to put their leg and to this day I'm not sure
we got it right.
He seemed happy. You're like Venice he said beautifully.
Early next day
I wrote a short talk ("On Defloration") which he stole and had published
in a small quarterly magazine.
Overall this was a characteristic interaction between us.
Or should I say ideal.
Neither of us had ever seen Venice.
I know, 0 Caesar, that thou art awaiting my arrival with impatience, that thy true heart of a friend is yearning day and night for me. I know that thou art ready to cover me with gifts, make me prefect of the pretorian guards, and command Tigellinus to be that which the gods made him, a mule-driver in those lands which thou didst inherit after poisoning Domitius. Pardon me, however, for I swear to thee by Hades, and by the shades of thy mother, thy wife, thy brother, and Seneca, that I cannot go to thee. Life is a great treasure. I have taken the most precious jewels from that treasure, but in life there are many things which I cannot endure any longer. Do not suppose, I pray, that I am offended because thou didst kill thy mother, thy wife, and thy brother; that thou didst burn Eome and send to Erebus all the honest men in thy dominions. No, grandson of Chronos. Death is the inheritance of man; from thee other deeds could not have been expected. But to destroy one's ear for whole years with thy poetry, to see thy belly of a Domitius on slim legs whirled about in a Pyrrhic dance; to hear thy music, thy declamation, thy doggerel verses, wretched poet of the suburbs, — is a thing surpassing my power, and it has roused in me the wish to die. Eome stuffs its ears when it hears thee; the world reviles thee. I can blush for thee no longer, and I have no wish to do so. The howls of Cerberus, though resembling thy music, will be less offensive to me, for I have never been the friend of Cerberus, and I need not be ashamed of his howling. Farewell, but make no music; commit murder, but write no verses; poison people, but dance not; be an incendiary, but play not on a cithara. This is the wish and the last friendly counsel sent thee by the — Arbiter Elegantiae.
Henryk Sienkiewicz (Quo Vadis)
If this were a different time, a different place, I would take you to bed with me and make love to you for days," he said, his voice slow and deep and intent. "I would use my mouth on you, until no part of your skin went untouched, and I would make you come, over and over again until you could stand no more, and then I'd let you sleep in my arms until you were rested and then I would start all over again. I would kiss your wounds, I would drink your tears, I could make love to you in ways that haven't even been invented yet. I would make love to you in fields of flowers and under starry skies, where there is no death or pain or sorrow. I would show you things you haven't even dreamed of, and there would be no one in the world but you and me, between your legs, in your mouth, everywhere.
Anne Stuart (Black Ice (Ice, #1))
Doran stood on the dais, fists clenched. "All right," he said. "Let's do it, come on. Charge me up."
Skulduggery tapped the controls. "Just give me a moment…"
Doran's leg was shaking. "Come on," he said. "Hurry up. Haven't got all day."
"Just one more moment…"
"Here," said Doran. "You have used this on people before, right?"
"Hmmm?" Skulduggery said. "People? No, not on people. Ah, here we go."
The dais lit up.
"Oh, I don't know about this," said Doran. "I don't think I want to do this…"
"You'll be fine." Skulduggery said.
"How do you know?"
The hair stood up on Valkyrie's arms and light filled the room. The Accelerator wined like an animal, the wine getting louder and louder and the dais beginning to tremble.
"I want to get off!" Doran shouted. "I want to get off!"
"You can't get off!" Skulduggery shouted back over the roar. "If you get off you'll die!"
"I don't know," Skulduggery shouted. "Probably.
Derek Landy (Kingdom of the Wicked (Skulduggery Pleasant, #7))
It was drizzling. As people rushed along, they began opening umbrellas over their heads, and all at once the streets were crowded, too. Arched umbrella roofs collided with one another. The men were courteous, and when passing Tereza they held their umbrellas high over their heads and gave her room to go by. But the women would not yield; each looked straight ahead, waiting for the other woman to acknowledge her inferiority and step aside. The meeting of the umbrellas was a test of strength. At first Tereza gave way, but when she realized her courtesy was not being reciprocated, she started clutching her umbrella like the other women and ramming it forcefully against the oncoming umbrellas. No one ever said "Sorry." For the most part no one said anything, though once or twice she did hear a "Fat cow!" or "Fuck you!"
The women thus armed with umbrellas were both young and old, but the younger among them proved the more steeled warriors. Tereza recalled the days of the invasion and the girls in miniskirts carrying flags on long staffs. Theirs was a sexual vengeance: the Russian soldiers had been kept in enforced celibacy for several long years and must have felt they had landed on a planet invented by a science fiction writer, a planet of stunning women who paraded their scorn on beautiful long legs the likes of which had not been seen in Russia for the past five or six centuries.
She had taken many pictures of those young women against a backdrop of tanks. How she had admired them! And now these same women were bumping into her, meanly and spitefully. Instead of flags, they held umbrellas, but they held them with the same pride. They were ready to fight as obstinately against a foreign army as against an umbrella that refused to move out of their way.
Milan Kundera (The Unbearable Lightness of Being)
Ms. Terwilliger didn’t have a chance to respond to my geological ramblings because someone knocked on the door. I slipped the rocks into my pocket and tried to look studious as she called an entry. I figured Zoe had tracked me down, but surprisingly, Angeline walked in.
"Did you know," she said, "that it’s a lot harder to put organs back in the body than it is to get them out?"
I closed my eyes and silently counted to five before opening them again. “Please tell me you haven’t eviscerated someone.”
She shook her head. “No, no. I left my biology homework in Miss Wentworth’s room, but when I went back to get it, she’d already left and locked the door. But it’s due tomorrow, and I’m already in trouble in there, so I had to get it. So, I went around outside, and her window lock wasn’t that hard to open, and I—”
"Wait," I interrupted. "You broke into a classroom?"
"Yeah, but that’s not the problem."
Behind me, I heard a choking laugh from Ms. Terwilliger’s desk.
"Go on," I said wearily.
"Well, when I climbed through, I didn’t realize there was a bunch of stuff in the way, and I crashed into those plastic models of the human body she has. You know, the life size ones with all the parts inside? And bam!" Angeline held up her arms for effect. "Organs everywhere." She paused and looked at me expectantly. "So what are we going to do? I can’t get in trouble with her."
"We?" I exclaimed.
"Here," said Ms. Terwilliger. I turned around, and she tossed me a set of keys. From the look on her face, it was taking every ounce of self-control not to burst out laughing. "That square one’s a master. I know for a fact she has yoga and won’t be back for the rest of the day. I imagine you can repair the damage—and retrieve the homework—before anyone’s the wiser.”
I knew that the “you” in “you can repair” meant me. With a sigh, I stood up and packed up my things. “Thanks,” I said.
As Angeline and I walked down to the science wing, I told her, “You know, the next time you’ve got a problem, maybe come to me before it becomes an even bigger problem.”
"Oh no," she said nobly. "I didn’t want to be an inconvenience."
Her description of the scene was pretty accurate: organs everywhere. Miss Wentworth had two models, male and female, with carved out torsos that cleverly held removable parts of the body that could be examined in greater detail. Wisely, she had purchased models that were only waist-high. That was still more than enough of a mess for us, especially since it was hard to tell which model the various organs belonged to.
I had a pretty good sense of anatomy but still opened up a textbook for reference as I began sorting. Angeline, realizing her uselessness here, perched on a far counter and swing her legs as she watched me. I’d started reassembling the male when I heard a voice behind me.
"Melbourne, I always knew you’d need to learn about this kind of thing. I’d just kind of hoped you’d learn it on a real guy."
I glanced back at Trey, as he leaned in the doorway with a smug expression. “Ha, ha. If you were a real friend, you’d come help me.” I pointed to the female model. “Let’s see some of your alleged expertise in action.”
"Alleged?" He sounded indignant but strolled in anyways.
I hadn’t really thought much about asking him for help. Mostly I was thinking this was taking much longer than it should, and I had more important things to do with my time. It was only when he came to a sudden halt that I realized my mistake.
"Oh," he said, seeing Angeline. "Hi."
Her swinging feet stopped, and her eyes were as wide as his. “Um, hi.”
The tension ramped up from zero to sixty in a matter of seconds, and everyone seemed at a loss for words. Angeline jerked her head toward the models and blurted out. “I had an accident.”
That seemed to snap Trey from his daze, and a smile curved his lips. Whereas Angeline’s antics made me want to pull out my hair sometimes, he found them endearing.
Richelle Mead (The Fiery Heart (Bloodlines, #4))
You will leave now," she said softly, " or I will drag you out of here by your hair."
The man had breath like a day-old tuna sandwich. "I hate dykes. You always think you're tougher than you really----"
Xhex grabbed the man's wrist, turned him in a little circle, and cranked him arm up to the middle of his back. Then she clipped her leg around his ankles and shoved him off balance. He landed like a side of beef, the wind getting knocked out of him on a curse, his body plowing into the short-napped carpet. In a quick move, she bent down, buried one hand in his gelled-up hair, and locked the other on the collar of his suit jacket. As she draggep him face-first to the side exit, she was multitasking : creating a scene, commiting both an assault and a battery, and running the risk of a brawl if his buddies in the Hall of Fucktards got involved. But you had to put on a show every once in a while. To keep the peace, you had to get your hands dirty every once in a while.
J.R. Ward (Lover Enshrined (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #6))
There once was a poor man who walked around without shoes. His feet were covered in calluses. One day a rich man felt sorry for the poor man and bought him a pair of Nikes. The poor man was extremely grateful and wore the shoes constantly.
Well after a year or so, the shoes fell apart. So the poor man had to go back to running around barefoot, only now all his calluses were gone and his feet got all cut up and soon the cuts became infected and the man got sick and eventually, after they cut off his legs, he died.
I call that particular story "Love, Death & Nikes." A real cheer me up story for Mr. Monster. That's right! All for you. Oh and something else: fuck you Mr. Monster.
Mark Z. Danielewski (House of Leaves)
There was nothing left for me to do, but go.
Though the things of the world were strong with me still.
Such as, for example: a gaggle of children trudging through a side-blown December flurry; a friendly match-share beneath some collision-titled streetlight; a frozen clock, a bird visited within its high tower; cold water from a tin jug; towering off one’s clinging shirt post-June rain.
Pearls, rags, buttons, rug-tuft, beer-froth.
Someone’s kind wishes for you; someone remembering to write; someone noticing that you are not at all at ease.
A bloody ross death-red on a platter; a headgetop under-hand as you flee late to some chalk-and-woodfire-smelling schoolhouse.
Geese above, clover below, the sound of one’s own breath when winded.
The way a moistness in the eye will blur a field of stars; the sore place on the shoulder a resting toboggan makes; writing one’s beloved’s name upon a frosted window with a gloved finger.
Tying a shoe; tying a knot on a package; a mouth on yours; a hand on yours; the ending of the day; the beginning of the day; the feeling that there will always be a day ahead.
Goodbye, I must now say goodbye to all of it.
Loon-call in the dark; calf-cramp in the spring; neck-rub in the parlour; milk-sip at end of day.
Some brandy-legged dog proudly back-ploughs the grass to cover its modest shit; a cloud-mass down-valley breaks apart over the course of a brandy-deepened hour; louvered blinds yield dusty beneath your dragging finger, and it is nearly noon and you must decide; you have seen what you have seen, and it has wounded you, and it seems you have only one choice left.
Blood-stained porcelain bowl wobbles face down on wood floor; orange peel not at all stirred by disbelieving last breath there among that fine summer dust-layer, fatal knife set down in pass-panic on familiar wobbly banister, later dropped (thrown) by Mother (dear Mother) (heartsick) into the slow-flowing, chocolate-brown Potomac.
None of it was real; nothing was real.
Everything was real; inconceivably real, infinitely dear.
These and all things started as nothing, latent within a vast energy-broth, but then we named them, and loved them, and in this way, brought them forth.
And now we must lose them.
I send this out to you, dear friends, before I go, in this instantaneous thought-burst, from a place where time slows and then stops and we may live forever in a single instant.
Goodbye goodbye good-
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
But maybe this is what Hannah has always wanted: a man who will deny her. A man of her own who isn't hers. Isn't it the real reason she broke up with Mike--not because he moved to North Carolina for law school (he wanted her to go with him, and she said no) but because he adored her? If she asked him to get out of bed and bring her a glass of water, he did. If she was in a bad mood, he tried to soothe her. It didn't bother him if she cried, or if she didn't wash her hair or shave her legs or have anything interesting to say. He forgave it all, he always thought she was beautiful, he always wanted to be around her. It became so boring! She'd been raised, after all, not to be accommodated but to accommodate, and if she was his world, then his world was small, he was easily satisfied. After a while, when he parted her lips with his tongue, she'd think, Thrash, thrash, here we go. She wanted to feel like she was striving cleanly forward, walking into a bracing wind and learning from her mistakes, and she felt instead like she was sitting in a deep, squishy sofa, eating Cheetos, in an overheated room. With Oliver, there is always contrast to shape their days, tension to keep them on their toes: You are far form me, you are close to me. We are fighting, we are getting along.
Curtis Sittenfeld (The Man of My Dreams)
Who asked him to make a gentleman of me? I was happy. I was free. I touched pretty nigh everybody for money when I wanted it, same as I touched you, Henry Higgins. Now I am worrited; tied neck and heels; and everybody touches me for money. It's a fine thing for you, says my solicitor. Is it? says I. You mean it's a good thing for you, I says. When I was a poor man and had a solicitor once when they found a pram in the dust cart, he got me off, and got shut of me and got me shut of him as quick as he could. Same with the doctors: used to shove me out of the hospital before I could hardly stand on my legs, and nothing to pay. Now they finds out that I'm not a healthy man and cant live unless they looks after me twice a day. In the house I'm not let do a hand's turn for myself: somebody else must do it and touch me for it. A year ago I hadn't a relative in the world except two or three that wouldn't speak to me. Now I've fifty, and not a decent week's wages among the lot of them. I have to live for others and not for myself: that's middle class morality.
George Bernard Shaw (Pygmalion)
Thrice the brinded cat hath mew’d.
Thrice and once the hedge-pig whined.
Harpier cries ’Tis time, ’tis time.
Round about the cauldron go;
In the poison’d entrails throw.
Toad, that under cold stone
Days and nights has thirty-one
Swelter’d venom sleeping got,
Boil thou first i’ the charmed pot.
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.
Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the cauldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt and toe of frog,
Wool of bat and tongue of dog,
Adder’s fork and blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg and owlet’s wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.
Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf,
Witches’ mummy, maw and gulf
Of the ravin’d salt-sea shark,
Root of hemlock digg’d i’ the dark,
Liver of blaspheming Jew,
Gall of goat, and slips of yew
Silver’d in the moon’s eclipse,
Nose of Turk and Tartar’s lips,
Finger of birth-strangled babe
Ditch-deliver’d by a drab,
Make the gruel thick and slab:
Add thereto a tiger’s chaudron,
For the ingredients of our cauldron.
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.
By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes.
Let’s say you have an ax. Just a cheap one, from Home Depot. On one bitter winter day, you use said ax to behead a man. Don’t worry, the man was already dead. Or maybe you should worry, because you’re the one who shot him.
He had been a big, twitchy guy with veiny skin stretched over swollen biceps, a tattoo of a swastika on his tongue. Teeth filed into razor-sharp fangs-you know the type. And you’re chopping off his head because, even with eight bullet holes in him, you’re pretty sure he’s about to spring back to his feet and eat the look of terror right off your face.
On the follow-through of the last swing, though, the handle of the ax snaps in a spray of splinters. You now have a broken ax. So, after a long night of looking for a place to dump the man and his head, you take a trip into town with your ax. You go to the hardware store, explaining away the dark reddish stains on the broken handle as barbecue sauce. You walk out with a brand-new handle for your ax.
The repaired ax sits undisturbed in your garage until the spring when, on one rainy morning, you find in your kitchen a creature that appears to be a foot-long slug with a bulging egg sac on its tail. Its jaws bite one of your forks in half with what seems like very little effort. You grab your trusty ax and chop the thing into several pieces. On the last blow, however, the ax strikes a metal leg of the overturned kitchen table and chips out a notch right in the middle of the blade.
Of course, a chipped head means yet another trip to the hardware store. They sell you a brand-new head for your ax. As soon as you get home, you meet the reanimated body of the guy you beheaded earlier. He’s also got a new head, stitched on with what looks like plastic weed-trimmer line, and it’s wearing that unique expression of “you’re the man who killed me last winter” resentment that one so rarely encounters in everyday life.
You brandish your ax. The guy takes a long look at the weapon with his squishy, rotting eyes and in a gargly voice he screams, “That’s the same ax that beheaded me!”
IS HE RIGHT?
David Wong (John Dies at the End (John Dies at the End, #1))
GONE TO STATIC
it sounds better than it is,
this business of surviving,
making it through
the wrong place
at the wrong time
when the talk shows and movie credits
wear off, it's just me and my dumb
luck. this morning
I had that dream again:
the one where I'm dead.
I wake up and nothing's
much different. everything's gone
sepia, a dirty bourbon glass
by the bed, you're
I could stumble
to the shower,
scrub the luck of breath off my skin
but it's futile.
the killer always wins.
it's just a matter
and I have
time. I have grief and liquor to
fill it. tonight, the liquor and I are
talking to you. the liquor says, 'remember'
and I fill in the rest, your hands, your smile.
all those times. remember.
tonight the liquor and I
are telling you about our day.
we made it out of bed. we miss you.
we were surprised by the blood between
our legs. we miss you. we made it to the video
store, missing you. we stopped
at the liquor store
hoping the bourbon would stop
the missing. there's always more
bourbon, more missing
tonight, when we got home,
there was a stray cat
at the door.
she came in.
she screams to be touched.
when I touch her.
the whisky is open
the vcr is on.
the film backwards
and one by one
you come back to me,
all of you.
your pulses stutter to a begin
your eyes go from fixed to blink
the knives come out of your chests, the chainsaws
from your legs
your wounds seal over
your t-cells multiply, your tumors shrink
the maniac killer
it's just you and me
and the bourbon and the movie
and the air breathes us and I
am home, I am
I am right
Daphne Gottlieb (Final Girl)
no one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark
you only run for the border
when you see the whole city running as well
your neighbors running faster than you
breath bloody in their throats
the boy you went to school with
who kissed you dizzy behind the old tin factory
is holding a gun bigger than his body
you only leave home
when home won’t let you stay.
no one leaves home unless home chases you
fire under feet
hot blood in your belly
it’s not something you ever thought of doing
until the blade burnt threats into
and even then you carried the anthem under
only tearing up your passport in an airport toilets
sobbing as each mouthful of paper
made it clear that you wouldn’t be going back.
you have to understand,
that no one puts their children in a boat
unless the water is safer than the land
no one burns their palms
no one spends days and nights in the stomach of a truck
feeding on newspaper unless the miles travelled
means something more than journey.
no one crawls under fences
no one wants to be beaten
no one chooses refugee camps
or strip searches where your
body is left aching
because prison is safer
than a city of fire
and one prison guard
in the night
is better than a truckload
of men who look like your father
no one could take it
no one could stomach it
no one skin would be tough enough
go home blacks
sucking our country dry
niggers with their hands out
they smell strange
messed up their country and now they want
to mess ours up
how do the words
the dirty looks
roll off your backs
maybe because the blow is softer
than a limb torn off
or the words are more tender
than fourteen men between
or the insults are easier
than your child body
i want to go home,
but home is the mouth of a shark
home is the barrel of the gun
and no one would leave home
unless home chased you to the shore
unless home told you
to quicken your legs
leave your clothes behind
crawl through the desert
wade through the oceans
your survival is more important
no one leaves home until home is a sweaty voice in your ear
run away from me now
i dont know what i’ve become
but i know that anywhere
is safer than here
When I woke, I was nestled on top of Ren’s chest. His arms were wrapped around me, and my legs were entwined with his. I was surprised I could breathe all night since my nose was smashed against his muscular torso. It had gotten cold, but my quilt covered both of us and his body, which maintained a warmer-than-average temperature, had kept me toasty all night.
Ren was still asleep, so I took the rare opportunity to study him. His powerful frame was relaxed and his face was softened by sleep. His lips were full, smooth, and utterly kissable, and for the first time, I noticed how long his sooty lashes were. His glossy dark hair fell softly over his brow and was mussed in a way that made him look even more irresistible.
So this is the real Ren. He doesn’t seem real. He looked like an archangel who fell to the earth. I’d been with Ren night and day for the past four weeks, but the time he was a man was such a small fraction of each day that he seemed almost like a dream guy, a real life Prince Charming.
I traced a black eyebrow, following its arch with my finger, and lightly brushed the silky dark hair away from his face. Hoping not to disturb him, I sighed, shifted slowly, and tried to move away, but his arms tensed, restraining me.
He sleepily mumbled, “Don’t even think about moving” and pulled me back to snuggle me close again. I rested my cheek against his chest, felt his heartbeat, and contented myself with listening to its rhythm.
After a few minutes, he stretched and rolled to his side, pulling me with him. He kissed my forehead, blinked open his eyes, and smiled at me. It was like watching the sun come up. The handsome, sleeping man was potent enough, but when he turned his dazzling white smile on me and blinked open his cobalt blue eyes, I was dumbstruck.
I bit my lip. Alarm bells started going off in my head.
Ren’s eyes fluttered open, and he tucked some loose hair behind my ear. “Good morning, rajkumari. Sleep well?”
I stammered, “I…you…I…slept just fine, thank you.”
I closed my eyes, rolled away from him, and stood up. I could deal with him a lot better if I didn’t think about him much, or look at him, or talk to him, or hear him.
He wrapped his arms around me from behind, and I felt his smile as he pressed his lips to the soft spot behind my ear. “Best night of sleep I’ve had in about three hundred and fifty years.
Colleen Houck (Tiger's Curse (The Tiger Saga, #1))
To Robert Delaunay
Guitar of the sky
Your wireless telegraphy
As a rosebush the bees
During the night
The Seine no longer flows
Telescope or bugle
And it's a hive of words
Or an inkwell of honey
At the bottom of dawn
A spider with barbed-wire legs
Was making its web of clouds
My little boy
To climb the Eiffel Tower
You climb on a song
We are up on top
A bird sings
in the telegraph
It's the wind
The electric wind
The hats fly away
They have wings but they don't sing
Daughter of France
What do you see up there
The Seine is asleep
Under the shadow of its bridges
I see the Earth turning
And I blow my bugle
Toward all the seas
On the path
Of your perfume
All the bees and the words go their way
On the four horizons
Who has not heard this song
I AM THE QUEEN OF THE DAWN OF THE POLES
I AM THE COMPASS THE ROSE OF THE WINDS THAT FADES
AND ALL FULL OF SNOW
I DIE FROM THE DEATH OF THAT ROSE
IN MY HEAD A BIRD SINGS ALL YEAR LONG
That's the way the Tower spoke to me one day
Aviary of the world
Chimes of Paris
The giant hanging in the midst of the void
Is the poster of France
The day of Victory
You will tell it to the stars
Vicente Huidobro (The Cubist Poets in Paris: An Anthology)
None of us really cheer for glory, prizes, tourneys. None of us, maybe, know why we do it at all, except it is like a rampart against the routine and groaning afflictions of the school day. You wear that jacket, like so much armor, game days, the flipping skirts. Who could touch you? Nobody could. My question is this: The New Coach. Did she look at us that first week and see past the glossed hair and shiny legs, our glittered brow bones and girl bravado? See past all that to everything beneath, all our miseries, the way we all hated ourselves but much more everyone else? Could she see past all of that to something else, something quivering and real, something poised to be transformed, turned out, made? See that she could make us, stick her hands in our glitter-gritted insides and build us into magnificent teen gladiators?
Megan Abbott (Dare Me)
In the cage is the lion. She paces with her memories. Her body is a record of her past. As she moves back and forth, one may see it all: the lean frame, the muscular legs, the paw enclosing long sharp claws, the astonishing speed of her response. She was born in this garden. She has never in her life stretched those legs. Never darted farther than twenty yards at a time. Only once did she use her claws. Only once did she feel them sink into flesh. And it was her keeper's flesh. Her keeper whom she loves, who feeds her, who would never dream of harming her, who protects her. Who in his mercy forgave her mad attack, saying this was in her nature, to be cruel at a whim, to try to kill what she loves. He had come into her cage as he usually did early in the morning to change her water, always at the same time of day, in the same manner, speaking softly to her, careful to make no sudden movement, keeping his distance, when suddenly she sank down, deep down into herself, the way wild animals do before they spring, and then she had risen on all her strong legs, and swiped him in one long, powerful, graceful movement across the arm. How lucky for her he survived the blow. The keeper and his friends shot her with a gun to make her sleep. Through her half-open lids she knew they made movements around her. They fed her with tubes. They observed her. They wrote comments in notebooks. And finally they rendered a judgment. She was normal. She was a normal wild beast, whose power is dangerous, whose anger can kill, they had said. Be more careful of her, they advised. Allow her less excitement. Perhaps let her exercise more. She understood none of this. She understood only the look of fear in her keeper's eyes. And now she paces. Paces as if she were angry, as if she were on the edge of frenzy. The spectators imagine she is going through the movements of the hunt, or that she is readying her body for survival. But she knows no life outside the garden. She has no notion of anger over what she could have been, or might be. No idea of rebellion.
It is only her body that knows of these things, moving her, daily, hourly, back and forth, back and forth, before the bars of her cage.
Susan Griffin (Woman and Nature: The Roaring Inside Her)
Does that change things?” asked the old man. “Maybe
Anansi’s just some guy from a story, made up back in Africa in
the dawn days of the world by some boy with blackfly on his leg,
pushing his crutch in the dirt, making up some goofy story
about a man made of tar. Does that change anything? People respond
to the stories. They tell them themselves. The stories
spread, and as people tell them, the stories change the tellers.
Because now the folk who never had any thought in their head
but how to run from lions and keep far enough away from rivers
that the crocodiles don’t get an easy meal, now they’re starting to
dream about a whole new place to live. The world may be the
same, but the wallpaper’s changed. Yes? People still have the
same story, the one where they get born and they do stuff and
they die, but now the story means something different to what it
Neil Gaiman (Anansi Boys)
Schoolmastering kept me busy by day and part of each night. I was an assistant housemaster, with a fine big room under the eaves of the main building, and a wretched kennel of a bedroom, and rights in a bathroom used by two or three other resident masters. I taught all day, but my wooden leg mercifully spared me from the nuisance of having to supervise sports after school. There were exercises to mark every night, but I soon gained a professional attitude towards these woeful explorations of the caves of ignorance and did not let them depress me. I liked the company of most of my colleagues, who were about equally divided among good men who were good teachers, awful men who were awful teachers, and the grotesques and misfits who drift into teaching and are so often the most educative influences a boy meets in school. If a boy can't have a good teacher, give him a psychological cripple or an exotic failure to cope with; don't just give him a bad, dull teacher. This is where the private schools score over state-run schools; they can accommodate a few cultured madmen on the staff without having to offer explanations.
Robertson Davies (Fifth Business (The Deptford Trilogy, #1))
The door is cracked
We used to meet
like water does land
more like when skin touches skin
or when air escapes a lung
and is felt across the world
I've leapt over cracks in sidewalks
and swallowed away troublesome back pains
that could only be fixed with someone else's pills
We met by your house one stray day
and you drove me to the bay
where we sat and kissed like it was yesterday
And here you told me that you loved me
and that you always loved me
and that you would always love me
the wind blew and I held you
You rested your head on my shoulder
and the wind blew warm
Later, in your big red truck, we smoked some green
and I kissed you harder
and held your breasts, and felt between your legs
and with a gasp
you told me you were in love with me
And then you drove me back
and we promised it wouldn't be the end
not this time
The quill and inkwell on your foot
I'm a writer and you are my greatest art
I returned to my hell and dreamt of you once more
Dave Matthes (Strange Rainfall on the Rooftops of People Watchers: Poems and Stories)
Father had stretched out his long legs and was tilting back in his chair. Mother sat with her knees crossed, in blue slacks, smoking a Chesterfield. The dessert dishes were still on the table. My sisters were nowhere in evidence. It was a warm evening; the big dining-room windows gave onto blooming rhododendrons.
Mother regarded me warmly. She gave me to understand that she was glad I had found what I had been looking for, but that she and father were happy to sit with their coffee, and would not be coming down.
She did not say, but I understood at once, that they had their pursuits (coffee?) and I had mine. She did not say, but I began to understand then, that you do what you do out of your private passion for the thing itself.
I had essentially been handed my own life. In subsequent years my parents would praise my drawings and poems, and supply me with books, art supplies, and sports equipment, and listen to my troubles and enthusiasms, and supervise my hours, and discuss and inform, but they would not get involved with my detective work, nor hear about my reading, nor inquire about my homework or term papers or exams, nor visit the salamanders I caught, nor listen to me play the piano, nor attend my field hockey games, nor fuss over my insect collection with me, or my poetry collection or stamp collection or rock collection. My days and nights were my own to plan and fill.
Annie Dillard (An American Childhood)
There were days so clear and skies so brilliant blue, with white clouds scudding across them like ships under full sail, and she felt she could lift right off the ground. One moment she was ambling down a path, and the next thing she knew, the wind would take hold of her, like a hand pushing against her back. Her feet would start running without her even willing it, even knowing it. And she would run faster and faster across the prairie, until her heart jumped like a rabbit and her breath came in deep gasps and her feet barely skimmed the ground.
It felt good to spend herself this way. The air tasted fresh and delicious; it smelled like damp earth, grass, and flowers. And her body felt strong, supple, and hungry for more of everything life could serve up.
She ran and felt like one of the animals, as though her feet were growing up out of the earth. And she knew what they knew, that sometimes you ran just because you could, because of the way the rush of air felt on your face and how your legs reached out, eating up longer and longer patches of ground.
She ran until the blood pounded in her ears, so loud that she couldn't hear the voices that said, You're not good enough, You're not old enough, You're not beautiful or smart or loveable, and you will always be alone.
She ran because there were ghosts chasing her, shadows that pursued her, heartaches she was leaving behind. She was running for her life, and those phantoms couldn't catch her, not here, not anywhere. She would outrun fear and sadness and worry and shame and all those losses that had lined up against her like a column of soldiers with their guns shouldered and ready to fire. If she had to, she would outrun death itself.
She would keep on running until she dropped, exhausted. Then she would roll over onto her back and breathe in the endless sky above her, sun glinting off her face.
To be an animal, to have a body like this that could taste, see hear, and fly through space, to lie down and smell the earth and feel the heat of the sun on your face was enough for her. She did not need anything else but this: just to be alive, cool air caressing her skin, dreaming of Ivy and what might be ahead.
Pamela Todd (The Blind Faith Hotel)
Get Comfortable Not Knowing There once was a village that had among its people a very wise old man. The villagers trusted this man to provide them answers to their questions and concerns. One day, a farmer from the village went to the wise man and said in a frantic tone, “Wise man, help me. A horrible thing has happened. My ox has died and I have no animal to help me plow my field! Isn’t this the worst thing that could have possibly happened?” The wise old man replied, “Maybe so, maybe not.” The man hurried back to the village and reported to his neighbors that the wise man had gone mad. Surely this was the worst thing that could have happened. Why couldn’t he see this? The very next day, however, a strong, young horse was seen near the man’s farm. Because the man had no ox to rely on, he had the idea to catch the horse to replace his ox—and he did. How joyful the farmer was. Plowing the field had never been easier. He went back to the wise man to apologize. “You were right, wise man. Losing my ox wasn’t the worst thing that could have happened. It was a blessing in disguise! I never would have captured my new horse had that not happened. You must agree that this is the best thing that could have happened.” The wise man replied once again, “Maybe so, maybe not.” Not again, thought the farmer. Surely the wise man had gone mad now. But, once again, the farmer did not know what was to happen. A few days later the farmer’s son was riding the horse and was thrown off. He broke his leg and would not be able to help with the crop. Oh no, thought the man. Now we will starve to death. Once again, the farmer went to the wise man. This time he said, “How did you know that capturing my horse was not a good thing? You were right again. My son is injured and won’t be able to help with the crop. This time I’m sure that this is the worst thing that could have possibly happened. You must agree this time.” But, just as he had done before, the wise man calmly looked at the farmer and in a compassionate tone replied once again, “Maybe so, maybe not.” Enraged that the wise man could be so ignorant, the farmer stormed back to the village. The next day troops arrived to take every able-bodied man to the war that had just broken out. The farmer’s son was the only young man in the village who didn’t have to go. He would live, while the others would surely die. The moral of this story provides a powerful lesson. The truth is, we don’t know what’s going to happen—we just think we do. Often we make a big deal out of something. We blow up scenarios in our minds about all the terrible things that are going to happen. Most of the time we are wrong. If we keep our cool and stay open to possibilities, we can be reasonably certain that, eventually, all will be well. Remember: maybe so, maybe not.
Richard Carlson (Don't Sweat the Small Stuff ... and it's all small stuff: Simple Ways to Keep the Little Things from Taking Over Your Life)
Because I kissed you? Seriously? You only like me because I’m a good kisser? That’s it. We’re not doing this. I’m not letting you risk your life just
because you can’t think with your upstairs brain.”
“No, you twit.” Ryan laughed. “Because you kissed me that day. I expected the ice queen and got a funny, go-with-the-flow girl that didn’t care what
anyone thought about her. A girl willing to stir up gossip just so that I could win a date with someone else.
“You didn’t have to help me. In fact, you probably should have been insulted, but you weren’t.
You kissed me, you smiled, and then you wished me good luck. No one’s ever surprised me like that. I couldn’t figure out why you did it, and I just
had to get to know you after that.” I had no idea that stupid kiss had that kind of effect on him. Charged him up like a battery, sure, but do all that? All
this time I really thought it was just the superkissing that kept him coming back. I looked down at my lunch, feeling a little ashamed of my lack of faith
in him, but Ryan couldn’t stop there.
Oh, no, not Ryan Miller.
“After that day, every time I was with you I got brief glimpses of the real Jamie, the one who is dying to break out, and she was this fun, relaxed,
smart, funny, caring girl. Finding out the truth about you only made you that much more incredible. You’re so strong. You’ve gone through so much,
you’re going through so much, but you never stop trying. You’re amazing.” I was surprised when I felt Ryan’s hand lift my chin up. I didn’t want to look
at him, I knew what would happen to my heart if I did, but I couldn’t stop myself. I craved him too much.
When we made eye contact, his face lit up and he whispered, “I love you, Jamie Baker.” It came out of nowhere, and it stole the breath from me,
leaving me speechless. Ryan stared at me, just waiting for some kind of reaction, and then I was the one who broke the no-kissing rule.
It wasn’t my fault. He totally cheated! Like anyone could resist Ryan Miller when he’s touching your face and saying he loves you?
I threw myself at him so fast that I startled him for a change, and he was the one who had to pull me off him when his hair started to stick up.
“Sorry,” I breathed as he pulled away.
“Don’t be sorry,” he teased. “Just stop.”
“Sorry,” I said again when I noticed that his leg was now bouncing under the table.
“Yeah. Looks like I don’t get to sleep through economics today.”
“On the bright side, Coach could make you run laps all practice long and you’d be fine.
Kelly Oram (Being Jamie Baker (Jamie Baker, #1))
Dr. Bone Specialist came in, made me stand up and hobble across the room, checked my reflexes, and then made me lie down on the table. He bent my right knee this way and that, up and down, all the way out to the side and in. Then he did the same with my left leg. He ordered X rays then started to leave the room. I panicked. I MUST GET DRUGS.
"What can I take for the pain?" I asked him before he got out the door.
"You can take some over the counter ibuprofen," he suggested. "But I wouldn't take more than nine a day."
I choked. Nine a day? I'd been popping forty. Nine a day? Like hell. I couldn't even go to the bathroom on my own, I hadn't slept in three weeks, and my normally sunny cheery disposition had turned into that of a very rabid dog. If I didn't get good drugs and get them now, it was straight to Shooter's World and then Walgreens pharmacy for me.
"I don't think you understand," I explained. "I can't go to work. I have spent the last four days with my mother who is addicted to QVC, watching jewelry shows, doll shows and make-up shows. I almost ordered a beef-jerky maker! Give me something, or I'm going to use your calf muscles to make the first batch!"
Without further ado, he hastily scribbled out a prescription for some codeine and was gone. I was happy.
My mother, however, had lost the ability to speak.
Laurie Notaro (The Idiot Girls' Action-Adventure Club: True Tales from a Magnificent and Clumsy Life)
The hills below crouched on all fours under the weight of the rainforest where liana grew and soldier ants marched in formation. Straight ahead they marched, shamelessly single-minded, for soldier ants have no time for dreaming. Almost all of them are women and there is so much to do - the work is literally endless. So many to be born and fed, then found and buried. There is no time for dreaming. The life of their world requires organization so tight and sacrifice so complete there is little need for males and they are seldom produced. When they are needed, it is deliberately done by the queen who surmises, by some four-million-year-old magic she is heiress to, that it is time. So she urges a sperm from the private womb where they were placed when she had her one, first and last copulation. Once in life, this little Amazon trembled in the air waiting for a male to mount her. And when he did, when he joined a cloud of others one evening just before a summer storm, joined colonies from all over the world gathered fro the marriage flight, he knew at last what his wings were for. Frenzied, he flied into the humming cloud to fight gravity and time in order to do, just once, the single thing he was born for. Then he drops dead, having emptied his sperm into his lady-love. Sperm which she keeps in a special place to use at her own discretion when there is need for another dark and singing cloud of ant folk mating in the air. Once the lady has collected the sperm, she too falls to the ground, but unless she breaks her back or neck or is eaten by one of a thousand things, she staggers to her legs and looks for a stone to rub on, cracking and shedding the wings she will never need again. Then she begins her journey searching for a suitable place to build her kingdom. She crawls into the hollow of a tree, examines its walls and corners. She seals herself off from all society and eats her own wing muscles until she bears her eggs. When the first larvae appear, there is nothing to feed them, so she gives them their unhatched sisters until they are old enough and strong enough to hunt and bring their prey back to the kingdom. That is all. Bearing, hunting, eating, fighting, burying. No time for dreaming, although sometimes, late in life, somewhere between the thirtieth and fortieth generation she might get wind of a summer storm one day. The scent of it will invade her palace and she will recall the rush of wind on her belly - the stretch of fresh wings, the blinding anticipation and herself, there, airborne, suspended, open, trusting, frightened, determined, vulnerable - girlish, even, for and entire second and then another and another. She may lift her head then, and point her wands toward the place where the summer storm is entering her palace and in the weariness that ruling queens alone know, she may wonder whether his death was sudden. Or did he languish? And if so, if there was a bit of time left, did he think how mean the world was, or did he fill that space of time thinking of her? But soldier ants do not have time for dreaming. They are women and have much to do. Still it would be hard. So very hard to forget the man who fucked like a star.
Toni Morrison (Tar baby)
Here are the sounds of Wear. It rattles stone on stone. It sucks its teeth. It sings. It hisses like the rain. It roars. It laughs. It claps its hands. Sometimes I think it prays. In winter, through the ice, I've seen it moving swift and black as Tune, without a sound.
Here are the sights of Wear. It falls in braids. It parts at rocks and tumbles round them white as down or flashes over them in silver quilts. It tosses fallen trees like bits of straw yet spins a single leaf as gentle as a maid. Sometimes it coils for rest in darkling pools and sometimes it leaps its banks and shatters in the air. In autumn, I've seen it breathe a mist so thick and grey you'd never know old Wear was there at all.
Each day, for years and years, I've gone and sat in it. Usually at dusk I clamber down and slowly sink myself to where it laps against my breast. Is it too much to say, in winter, that I die? Something of me dies at least.
First there's the fiery sting of cold that almost stops my breath, the aching torment in my limbs. I think I may go mad, my wits so outraged that they seek to flee my skull like rats a ship that's going down. I puff. I gasp. Then inch by inch a blessed numbness comes. I have no legs, no arms. My very heart grows still. These floating hands are not my hands. The ancient flesh I wear is rags for all I feel of it.
"Praise, Praise!" I croak. Praise God for all that's holy, cold, and dark. Praise him for all we lose, for all the river of the years bears off. Praise him for stillness in the wake of pain. Praise him for emptiness. And as you race to spill into the sea, praise him yourself, old Wear. Praise him for dying and the peace of death.
In the little church I built of wood for Mary, I hollowed out a place for him. Perkin brings him by the pail and pours him in. Now that I can hardly walk, I crawl to meet him there. He takes me in his chilly lap to wash me of my sins. Or I kneel down beside him till within his depths I see a star.
Sometimes this star is still. Sometimes she dances. She is Mary's star. Within that little pool of Wear she winks at me. I wink at her. The secret that we share I cannot tell in full. But this much I will tell. What's lost is nothing to what's found, and all the death that ever was, set next to life, would scarcely fill a cup.
Frederick Buechner (Godric)
And yet the animals never gave up hope. More, they never lost, even for an instant, their sense of honour and privilege in being members of Animal Farm. They were still the only farm in the whole county-in all England!-owned and operated by animals. Not one of them, not even the youngest, not even the newcomers who had been brought from farms ten or twenty miles away, ever ceased to marvel at that. And when they heard the gun booming and saw the green flag fluttering at the masthead, their hearts swelled with imperishable pride, and the talk turned always towards the old heroic days, the expulsion of Jones, the writing of the Seven Commandments, the great battles in which the human invaders had been defeated. None of the old dreams had been abandoned. The Republic of the Animals which Major had foretold, when the green fields of England should be untrodden by human feet, was still believed in. Some day it was coming: it might not be soon, it might not be with in the lifetime of any animal now living, but still it was coming. Even the tune of Beasts of England was perhaps hummed secretly here and there: at any rate, it was a fact that every animal on the farm knew it, though no one would have dared to sing it aloud. It might be that their lives were hard and that not all of their hopes had been fulfilled; but they were conscious that they were not as other animals. If they went hungry, it was not from feeding tyrannical human beings; if they worked hard, at least they worked for themselves. No creature among them went upon two legs. No creature called any other creature "Master." All animals were equal.
George Orwell (Animal Farm)
Everything is temporary,
almost like a passing fase,
some of laughter
Some of pain.
What we would do,
If we had the chance to explore
What we had taken for
Granted the very day before,
Some would say I'm selfish,
To hold a little sadness in my eyes,
But they don't feel the sorrow
When I can't do,
all that helps me feel alive.
I can express my emotions,
but I can't run wild and free,
My mind and soul would handle it
but hell upon my hip, ankle and knees,
This disorder came about,
as a friendship said its last goodbyes,
Soooo this is what I got given for all the years I stood by?
I finally stand still to question it, life it is in fact?
What the fuck is the purpose of it all if you get stabbed in the back?
And after the anger fills the air, the regret takes it places,
I never wanted to be that girl,
Horrid, sad and faded...
So I took with a grain of salt,
my new found reality,
I am not of my pain,
the disability doesnt define me.
I find away to adjust,
also with the absence of my friend,
I trust the choices I make,
allow my heart to mend.
I pick up the pieces
I retrain my leg,
I find where I left off
And I start all over again,
You see what happens...
When a warrior gets tested;
They grow from the ashes
Powerful and invested.
So I thank all this heartache,
As I put it to a rest,
I move forward with my life
And I'll build a damn good nest.
This may be illustrated by the Taoist story of a farmer whose horse ran away. That evening the neighbors gathered to commiserate with him since this was such bad luck. He said, “May be.” The next day the horse returned, but brought with it six wild horses, and the neighbors came exclaiming at his good fortune. He said, “May be.” And then, the following day, his son tried to saddle and ride one of the wild horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. Again the neighbors came to offer their sympathy for the misfortune. He said, “May be.” The day after that, conscription officers came to the village to seize young men for the army, but because of the broken leg the farmer’s son was rejected. When the neighbors came in to say how fortunately everything had turned out, he said, “May be.”14
Alan W. Watts (Tao: The Watercourse Way)
when she was 7, a boy pushed her on the playground
she fell headfirst into the dirt and came up with a mouthful of gravel and lines of blood chasing each other down her legs
when she told her teacher what happened, she laughed and said ‘boys will be boys honey don’t let it bother you
he probably just thinks you’re cute’
but the thing is,
when you tell a little girl who has rocks in her teeth and scabs on her knees that hurt and attention are the same
you teach her that boys show their affection through aggression
and she grows into a young woman who constantly mistakes the two
because no one ever taught her the difference
‘boys will be boys’
‘that’s how he shows his love’
and bruises start to feel like the imprint of lips
she goes to school with a busted mouth in high school and says she was hit with a basketball instead of his fist
the one adult she tells scolds her
‘you know he loses his temper easily
why the hell did you have to provoke him?’
so she shrinks
folds into herself, flinches every time a man raises his voice
by the time she’s 16 she’s learned her job well
be quiet, be soft, be easy
don’t give him a reason
but for all her efforts, he still finds one
‘boys will be boys’ rings in her head
‘boys will be boys
he doesn’t mean it
he can’t help it’
she’s 7 years old on the playground again
with a mouth full of rocks and blood that tastes like copper love
because boys will be boys baby don’t you know
that’s just how he shows he cares
she’s 18 now and they’re drunk
in the split second it takes for her words to enter his ears they’re ruined
like a glass heirloom being dropped between the hands of generations
she meant them to open his arms but they curl his fists and suddenly his hands are on her and her head hits the wall and all of the goddamn words in the world couldn’t save them in this moment
she touches the bruise the next day
boys will be boys
aggression, affection, violence, love
how does she separate them when she learned so early that they’re inextricably bound, tangled in a constant tug-of-war
she draws tally marks on her walls ratios of kisses to bruises
one entire side of her bedroom turns purple, one entire side of her body
boys will be boys will be boys will be boys
when she’s 20, a boy touches her hips and she jumps
he asks her who the hell taught her to be scared like that and she wants to laugh
doesn’t he know that boys will be boys?
it took her 13 years to unlearn that lesson from the playground
so I guess what I’m trying to say is
i will talk until my voice is hoarse so that my little sister understands that aggression and affection are two entirely separate things
baby they exist in different universes
my niece can’t even speak yet but I think I’ll start with her now
don’t ever accept the excuse that boys will be boys
don’t ever let him put his hands on you like that
if you see hate blazing in his eyes don’t you ever confuse it with love
baby love won’t hurt when it comes
you won’t have to hide it under long sleeves during the summer
the only reason he should ever reach out his hand
is to hold yours
Here's what you need to know: some cliches are true, and war is definitely hell. It's being afraid all the time, and when you're not afraid it's because you're pumped full of adrenaline you could literally burst. It's watching people who you love- really profoundly love- get blown to pieces right next to you. It's seeing a leg lying in the ditch and picking it up to put it in a bag because no man- or part of a man, your friend- can be left behind. It's the dark night of the soul. There's no front line over there. The war is all around them, every day, everywhere they go. Some handle it better than others. We don't know why, but we do know this: the human mind can't safely or healthily process that kind of carnage and uncertainty and horror. It just can't. No one comes back from war the same.
Kristin Hannah (Home Front)
I am conscious that knowing me has caused you pain, and grief, and I hope that one day when you are less angry with me and less upset you will see not just that I could only have done the thing that I did, but also that this will help you live a really good life, a better life, than if you hadn’t met me.....
....You're going to feel uncomfortable in your new world for a bit. It always does feel strange to be knocked out of your comfort zone. But I hope you feel a bit exhilarated too...
....there is a hunger in you, Clark. A fearlessness. You just buried it, like most people do....
....I'm not really telling you to jump off tall buildings, or swim with whales or anything (although I would secretly love to think you were), but to live boldly. Push yourself. Don't settle. Wear those stripy leggings with pride. And if you insist on settling down with some ridiculous bloke, make sure some of this is squirreled away somewhere. Knowing you still have possibilities is a luxury. Knowing I might have given them to you has alleviated something for me.....
....Don't think of me too often. I don't want to think of you getting all maudlin. Just live well.
Jojo Moyes (Me Before You (Me Before You, #1))
Come up into the hills, O my young love. Return! O lost, and by the wind grieved, ghost, come back again, as first I knew you in the timeless valley, where we shall feel ourselves anew, bedded on magic in the month of June. There was a place where all the sun went glistening in your hair, and from the hill we could have put a finger on a star. Where is the day that melted into one rich noise? Where the music of your flesh, the rhyme of your teeth, the dainty languor of your legs, your small firm arms, your slender fingers, to be bitten like an apple, and the little cherry-teats of your white breasts? And where are all the tiny wires of finespun maidenhair? Quick are the mouths of earth, and quick the teeth that fed upon this loveliness. You who were made for music, will hear music no more: in your dark house the winds are silent. Ghost, ghost, come back from that marriage that we did not foresee, return not into life, but into magic, where we have never died, into the enchanted wood, where we still life, strewn on the grass. Come up into the hills, O my young love: return. O lost, and by the wind grieved ghost, come back again.
Thomas Wolfe (Look Homeward, Angel)
Six is a bad time too 'cause that's when some real scary things start to happen to your body, it's around then that your teeth start to coming a-loose in your mouth.
You wake up one morning and it seems like your tongue is the first one to notice that something strange is going on, 'cause as soon as you get up there it is pushing and rubbing up against one of your front teeth and I'll be doggoned if that tooth isn't the littlest bit wiggly.
At first you think it's kind of funny, but the tooth keeps getting looser and looser and one day, in the middle of pushing the tooth back and forth and squinching your eyes shut, you pull it clean out. It's the scariest thing you can think of 'cause you lose control of your tongue at the same time and no matter how hard you try to stop it, it won't leave the new hold in your mouth alone, it keeps digging around in the spot where that tooth used to be.
You tell some adult about what's happening but all they do is say it's normal. You can't be too sure, though, 'cause it shakes you up a whole lot more than grown folks think it does when perfectly good parts of your body commence to loosening up and falling of off you.
Unless you're as stupid as a lamppost you've got to wonder what's coming off next, your arm? Your leg? Your neck? Every morning when you wake up it seems a lot of your parts aren't stuck on as good as they used to be.
Christopher Paul Curtis (Bud, Not Buddy)
A few months ago on a school morning, as I attempted to etch a straight midline part on the back of my wiggling daughter's soon-to-be-ponytailed blond head, I reminded her that it was chilly outside and she needed to grab a sweater.
"No, I don't want to wear that sweater, it makes me look fat."
"What?!" My comb clattered to the bathroom floor. "Fat?! What do you know about fat? You're 5 years old! You are definitely not fat. God made you just right. Now get your sweater."
She scampered off, and I wearily leaned against the counter and let out a long, sad sigh. It has begun. I thought I had a few more years before my twin daughters picked up the modern day f-word. I have admittedly had my own seasons of unwarranted, psychotic Slim-Fasting and have looked erroneously to the scale to give me a measurement of myself. But these departures from my character were in my 20s, before the balancing hand of motherhood met the grounding grip of running. Once I learned what it meant to push myself, I lost all taste for depriving myself. I want to grow into more of a woman, not find ways to whittle myself down to less.
The way I see it, the only way to run counter to our toxic image-centric society is to literally run by example. I can't tell my daughters that beauty is an incidental side effect of living your passion rather than an adherence to socially prescribed standards. I can't tell my son how to recognize and appreciate this kind of beauty in a woman. I have to show them, over and over again, mile after mile, until they feel the power of their own legs beneath them and catch the rhythm of their own strides.
Which is why my parents wake my kids early on race-day mornings. It matters to me that my children see me out there, slogging through difficult miles. I want my girls to grow up recognizing the beauty of strength, the exuberance of endurance, and the core confidence residing in a well-tended body and spirit. I want them to be more interested in what they are doing than how they look doing it. I want them to enjoy food that is delicious, feed their bodies with wisdom and intent, and give themselves the freedom to indulge. I want them to compete in healthy ways that honor the cultivation of skill, the expenditure of effort, and the courage of the attempt.
Grace and Bella, will you have any idea how lovely you are when you try?
Recently we ran the Chuy's Hot to Trot Kids K together as a family in Austin, and I ran the 5-K immediately afterward. Post?race, my kids asked me where my medal was. I explained that not everyone gets a medal, so they must have run really well (all kids got a medal, shhh!). As I picked up Grace, she said, "You are so sweaty Mommy, all wet." Luke smiled and said, "Mommy's sweaty 'cause she's fast. And she looks pretty. All clean."
My PRs will never garner attention or generate awards. But when I run, I am 100 percent me--my strengths and weaknesses play out like a cracked-open diary, my emotions often as raw as the chafing from my jog bra. In my ultimate moments of vulnerability, I am twice the woman I was when I thought I was meant to look pretty on the sidelines. Sweaty and smiling, breathless and beautiful: Running helps us all shine. A lesson worth passing along.
The trousers were miles too long, even when Peter cuffed the legs. The socks bagged in the ankles, and the shirt and sweater were equally large. But when Peter finally managed to get the collars to lie right and glanced at the reflection he'd carved out of the dust on James's mirror, a shock went through him.
This was the face which had haunted him all his life, the one he had looked in the eye on the day he left the Darling house for the last time. The hair, messy and short, enthusiastically curling without the weight of his old braid to drag it down. The stubborn chin. The clear, sharp, sullen eyes full of everything he had never been allowed to be.
Peter ran his hands over himself slowly, breathing tentatively, feeling the weight of his chest under his shirt. He had given this body up. He had thought it belonged to Wendy, to the girl he wasn't. He had let his family make him believe that the only way he would ever be a boy was to be born again in a different shape, leaving everything of his body and history behind.
He breathed out and settled in the feeling of being himself, of being something whole.
Austin Chant (Peter Darling)
So what's your doll's name?" Boo asked me.
"Barbie," I said. "All their names are Barbie."
"I see," she said. "Well, I'd think that would get boring, everyone having the same
I thought about this, then said, "Okay, then her name is Sabrina."
"Well, that's a very nice name," Boo said. I remember she was baking bread,
kneading the dough
between her thick fingers. "What does she do?"
"Do?" I said.
"Yes." She flipped the dough over and started in on it from the other side. "What
does she do?"
"She goes out with Ken," I said.
"And what else?"
"She goes to parties," I said slowly. "And shopping."
"Oh," Boo said, nodding.
"She can't work?"
"She doesn't have to work," I said.
"Because she's Barbie."
"I hate to tell you, Caitlin, but somebody has to make payments on that town house
and the Corvette,"
Boo said cheerfully. "Unless Barbie has a lot of family money."
I considered this while I put on Ken's pants.
Boo started pushing the dough into a pan, smoothing it with her hand over the top.
"You know what I
think, Caitlin?" Her voice was soft and nice, the way she always spoke to me.
"I think your Barbie can go shopping, and go out with Ken, and also have a
productive and satisfying
career of her own." She opened the oven and slid in the bread pan, adjusting its
position on the rack.
"But what can she do?" My mother didn't work and spent her time cleaning the
house and going to PTA.
I couldn't imagine Barbie, whose most casual outfit had sequins and go-go boots,
doing s.uch things.
Boo came over and plopped right down beside me. I always remember
her being on my level; she'd sit
on the edge of the sandbox, or lie across her bed with me and Cass as we listened to
"Well," she said thoughtfully, picking up Ken and examining his perfect physique.
"What do you want to
do when you grow up?"
I remember this moment so well; I can still see Boo sitting there on the floor, cross-
legged, holding my
Ken and watching my face as she tried to make me see that between my mother's
PTA and Boo's
strange ways there was a middle ground that began here with my Barbie, Sab-rina,
and led right to me.
"Well," I said abruptly, "I want to be in advertising." I have no idea where this came
"Advertising," Boo repeated, nodding. "Okay. Advertising it is. So Sabrina has to go
to work every day,
coming up with ideas for commercials
and things like that."
"She works in an office," I went on. "Sometimes she has to work late."
"Sure she does," Boo said. "It's hard to get ahead. Even if you're Barbie."
"Because she wants to get promoted," I added. "So she can pay off the town house.
And the Corvette."
"Very responsible of her," Boo said.
"Can she be divorced?" I asked. "And famous for her commercials
"She can be anything," Boo told me, and this is what I remember most, her freckled
face so solemn, as if
she knew she was the first to tell me. "And so can you.
Sarah Dessen (Dreamland)
What do you know about somebody not being good enough for somebody else? And since when did you care whether Corinthians stood up or fell down? You've been laughing at us all your life. Corinthians. Mama. Me. Using us, ordering us, and judging us: how we cook your food; how we keep your house. But now, all of a sudden, you have Corinthians' welfare at heart and break her up from a man you don't approve of. Who are you to approve or disapprove anybody or anything? I was breathing air in the world thirteen years before your lungs were even formed. Corinthians, twelve. . . . but now you know what's best for the very woman who wiped the dribble from your chin because you were too young to know how to spit. Our girlhood was spent like a found nickel on you. When you slept, we were quiet; when you were hungry, we cooked; when you wanted to play, we entertained you; and when you got grown enough to know the difference between a woman and a two-toned Ford, everything in this house stopped for you. You have yet to . . . move a fleck of your dirt from one place to another. And to this day, you have never asked one of us if we were tired, or sad, or wanted a cup of coffee. . . . Where do you get the RIGHT to decide our lives? . . . I'll tell you where. From that hog's gut that hangs down between your legs. . . . I didn't go to college because of him. Because I was afraid of what he might do to Mama. You think because you hit him once that we all believe you were protecting her. Taking her side. It's a lie. You were taking over, letting us know you had the right to tell her and all of us what to do. . . . I don't make roses anymore, and you have pissed your last in this house.
Toni Morrison (Song of Solomon)
Did I ever tell you that my mother and father started out as pen pals? They wrote these long, unabashedly affectionate love letters to one another, peppered with clichés and pie-in-the-sky proclamations of eternal devotion. Despite my father’s eventual dishonesty and unfaithfulness, I have to believe he meant every word he wrote at that time, and it was admittedly romantic, uncovering my parents’ yellowed letters, all soft, crumbling corners and black ink stains, one rainy afternoon. Because how can anyone scrawl lies, really, in their own handwriting, the evidence of your own betrayal right in front of you? I sat cross-legged on the floor, holding my breath as I unfolded each letter, fragile and expectant, like a little girl opening her presents on Christmas morning. I sat there and soaked up my parents’ love for each other, and then I wondered where all those feelings had escaped to. I wondered where love went when it was lost—did it travel far, across miles and oceans and forests and deserts, or did it linger somewhere nearby, just waiting for a chance to be summoned again? Wherever it was, I could only hope it had ended up settling somewhere quieter, safer.
Marla Miniano (From This Day Forward)
I feel completely embarrassed and remember the lock on the door and think: He knows, he knows, it shows, shows completely.
“He’s out back,” Mr. Garret tells me mildly, “unpacking shipments.” Then he returns to the papers.
I feel compelled to explain myself. “I just thought I’d come by. Before babysitting. You, know, at your house. Just to say hi. So . . . I’m going to do that now. Jase’s in back, then? I’ll just say hi.”
I’m so suave.
I can hear the ripping sound of the box cutter before I even open the rear door to find Jase with a huge stack of cardboard boxes. His back’s to me and suddenly I’m as shy with him as I was with his father.
This is silly.
Brushing through my embarrassment, I walk up, put my hand on his shoulder.
He straightens up with a wide grin. “Am I glad to see you!”
“Really. I thought you were Dad telling me I was messing up again. I’ve been a disaster all day. Kept knocking things over. Paint cans, our garden display. He finally sent me out here when I knocked over a ladder. I think I’m a little preoccupied.”
“Maybe you should have gotten more sleep,” I offer.
“No way,” he says. Then we just gaze at each other for a long moment.
For some reason, I expect him to look different, the way I expected I would myself in the mirror this morning . . . I thought I would come across richer, fuller, as happy outside as I was inside, but the only thing that showed was my lips puffy from kisses. Jase is the same as ever also.
“That was the best study session I ever had,” I tell him.
“Locked in my memory too,” he says, then glances away as though embarrassed, bending to tear open another box. “Even though thinking about it made me hit my thumb with a hammer putting up a wall display.”
“This thumb?” I reach for one of his callused hands, kiss the thumb.
“It was the left one.” Jase’s face creases into a smile as I pick up his other hand.
“I broke my collarbone once,” he tells me, indicating which side. I kiss that. “Also some ribs during a scrimmage freshman year.”
I do not pull his shirt up to where his finger points now. I am not that bold. But I do lean in to kiss him through the soft material of his shirt.
His eyes twinkle. “In eighth grade, I got into a fight with this kid who was picking on Duff and he gave me a black eye.”
My mouth moves to his right eye, then the left. He cups the back of my neck in his warm hands, settling me into the V of his legs, whispering into my ear, “I think there was a split lip involved too.”
Then we are just kissing and everything else drops away. Mr. Garret could come out at any moment, a truck full of supplies could drive right on up, a fleet of alien spaceships could darken the sky, I’m not sure I’d notice.
Huntley Fitzpatrick (My Life Next Door)
This morning it was, on the pavement,
When that smell hit me again
And set the houses reeling.
People passed like rain:
(The way rain moves and advances over the hills)
And it was hot, hot and dank,
The smell like animals, strong, but sweet too.
What was it?
Something I had forgotten.
I tried to remember, standing there,
Sniffing the air on the pavement.
Somehow I thought of flowers.
Flowers! That bad smell!
I looked: down lanes, past houses--
There, behind a hoarding,
A rubbish-heap, soft and wet and rotten.
Then I remembered:
After the rain, on the farm,
The vlei that was dry and paler than a stone
Suddenly turned wet and green and warm.
The green was a clash of music.
Dry Africa became a swamp
And swamp-birds with long beaks
Went humming and flashing over the reeds
And cicadas shrilling like a train.
I took off my clothes and waded into the water.
Under my feet first grass, then mud,
Then all squelch and water to my waist.
A faint iridescence of decay,
The heat swimming over the creeks
Where the lilies grew that I wanted:
Great lilies, white, with pink streaks
That stood to their necks in the water.
Armfuls I gathered, working there all day.
With the green scum closing round my waist,
The little frogs about my legs,
And jelly-trails of frog-spawn round the stems.
Once I saw a snake, drowsing on a stone,
Letting his coils trail into the water.
I expect he was glad of rain too
After nine moinths of being dry as bark.
I don't know why I picked those lilies,
Piling them on the grass in heaps,
For after an hour they blackened, stank.
When I left at dark,
Red and sore and stupid from the heat,
Happy as if I'd built a town,
All over the grass were rank
Soft, decaying heaps of lilies
And the flies over them like black flies on meat...
Doris Lessing (Going Home)
But after all the years, her husband and children have come to accept that, once every few weeks, their usually warmhearted and approachable Camisha will get into her Honda Accord at the beginning of a seemingly random day, and disppear until well after supper, when she will return home and go directly to bed. Her family has learned never top ask her where she had been on such a day, because the most she will ever say is, "Out. I just went out for a bit."
Also, they learned long ago never to express irritation or anger of any kind against Camisha, because when they do, her reaction is to become mute and exit to the garden, where for several hours she will sit cross-legged on a favourite flat stone, her back to the house. Slender, straight-backed, and unmoving, at these times she resembles nothing so much as an elegant ebony carving, exquisite but not quite alive. Watching her is almost unberable, and so is the guilt. Or if the weather is not suitable for the garden, she will simpily go to her bedroom and lock the door. Then as a matter of course, without comment during or after, her husband sleeps on the sofa in the den. In the morning, Camisha is usually her old self again, just as if nothing had happened.
Martha Stout (The Myth of Sanity: Divided Consciousness and the Promise of Awareness)
My second crush,
don't know, who you are,
by thinking of you,
my day pass.
The things, the things, the things changed,
forgot the first, second begins.
The second crush,
my second crush,
don't know who you are,
but, by thinking of you,
my day pass.
Who you are, i don't know,
but seeing you shed tears.
My feelings drop, water stops,
in my eyes.
The things, the things, the things changed.
I fall in love, are you goddess or what.
As i came near you,
my heart beat rise.
Want to stop my legs,
but they attracts.
Like your tears attract the sand,
when they are falling on land.
My heart, my heart, my heart beat rise,
you came, you came, you are closer to my eyes.
I see tears fallen on the ground,
my love rotating around you round and round.
Now, you are the first,
you are the last,
that i told you my sweet heart.
When i see you first time,
it was my last time,
to fall in love, my dear valentine.
The second crush,
my second crush,
don't know who you are,
but, by thinking of you,
my day pass.
The things, the things, the things changed.
Now, crush end,
now, you are my life part.:-)
Abhishek Singh Sikarwar
There were two things about this particular book (The Golden Book of Fairy Tales) that made it vital to the child I was. First, it contained a remarkable number of stories about courageous, active girls; and second, it portrayed the various evils they faced in unflinching terms. Just below their diamond surface, these were stories of great brutality and anguish, many of which had never been originally intended for children at all. (Although Ponsot included tales from the Brothers Grimm and Andersen, the majority of her selections were drawn from the French contes de fées tradition — stories created as part of the vogue for fairy tales in seventeenth century Paris, recounted in literary salons and published for adult readers.)
I hungered for a narrative with which to make some sense of my life, but in schoolbooks and on television all I could find was the sugar water of Dick and Jane, Leave it to Beaver and the happy, wholesome Brady Bunch. Mine was not a Brady Bunch family; it was troubled, fractured, persistently violent, and I needed the stronger meat of wolves and witches, poisons and peril. In fairy tales, I had found a mirror held up to the world I knew — where adults were dangerous creatures, and Good and Evil were not abstract concepts. (…) There were in those days no shelves full of “self–help” books for people with pasts like mine. In retrospect, I’m glad it was myth and folklore I turned to instead. Too many books portray child abuse as though it’s an illness from which one must heal, like cancer . . .or malaria . . .or perhaps a broken leg. Eventually, this kind of book promises, the leg will be strong enough to use, despite a limp betraying deeper wounds that might never mend. Through fairy tales, however, I understood my past in different terms: not as an illness or weakness, but as a hero narrative. It was a story, my story, beginning with birth and ending only with death. Difficult challenges and trials, even those that come at a tender young age, can make us wiser, stronger, and braver; they can serve to transform us, rather than sending us limping into the future.
Terri Windling (Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Women Writers Explore Their Favorite Fairy Tales)
Ultimately, the roast turkey must be regarded as a monument to Boomer's love.
Look at it now, plump and glossy, floating across Idaho as if it were a mammoth, mutated seed pod. Hear how it backfires as it passes the silver mines, perhaps in tribute to the origin of the knives and forks of splendid sterling that a roast turkey and a roast turkey alone possesses the charisma to draw forth into festivity from dark cupboards.
See how it glides through the potato fields, familiarly at home among potatoes but with an air of expectation, as if waiting for the flood of gravy.
The roast turkey carries with it, in its chubby hold, a sizable portion of our primitive and pagan luggage.
Primitive and pagan? Us? We of the laser, we of the microchip, we of the Union Theological Seminary and Time magazine? Of course. At least twice a year, do not millions upon millions of us cybernetic Christians and fax machine Jews participate in a ritual, a highly stylized ceremony that takes place around a large dead bird?
And is not this animal sacrificed, as in days of yore, to catch the attention of a divine spirit, to show gratitude for blessings bestowed, and to petition for blessings coveted?
The turkey, slain, slowly cooked over our gas or electric fires, is the central figure at our holy feast. It is the totem animal that brings our tribe together.
And because it is an awkward, intractable creature, the serving of it establishes and reinforces the tribal hierarchy. There are but two legs, two wings, a certain amount of white meat, a given quantity of dark. Who gets which piece; who, in fact, slices the bird and distributes its limbs and organs, underscores quite emphatically the rank of each member in the gathering.
Consider that the legs of this bird are called 'drumsticks,' after the ritual objects employed to extract the music from the most aboriginal and sacred of instruments. Our ancestors, kept their drums in public, but the sticks, being more actively magical, usually were stored in places known only to the shaman, the medicine man, the high priest, of the Wise Old Woman. The wing of the fowl gives symbolic flight to the soul, but with the drumstick is evoked the best of the pulse of the heart of the universe.
Few of us nowadays participate in the actual hunting and killing of the turkey, but almost all of us watch, frequently with deep emotion, the reenactment of those events. We watch it on TV sets immediately before the communal meal. For what are footballs if not metaphorical turkeys, flying up and down a meadow? And what is a touchdown if not a kill, achieved by one or the other of two opposing tribes? To our applause, great young hungers from Alabama or Notre Dame slay the bird. Then, the Wise Old Woman, in the guise of Grandma, calls us to the table, where we, pretending to be no longer primitive, systematically rip the bird asunder.
Was Boomer Petaway aware of the totemic implications when, to impress his beloved, he fabricated an outsize Thanksgiving centerpiece? No, not consciously. If and when the last veil dropped, he might comprehend what he had wrought. For the present, however, he was as ignorant as Can o' Beans, Spoon, and Dirty Sock were, before Painted Stick and Conch Shell drew their attention to similar affairs.
Nevertheless, it was Boomer who piloted the gobble-stilled butterball across Idaho, who negotiated it through the natural carving knives of the Sawtooth Mountains, who once or twice parked it in wilderness rest stops, causing adjacent flora to assume the appearance of parsley.
Tom Robbins (Skinny Legs and All)
I smiled as our hands pressed against one another in midair, as though we were pretending to touch through invisible glass. We managed a long stare before Jack finally blushed, retracting his hands. “How old are you, Jack Patrick?” “I turned fourteen this summer,” he said. I gave an impressed nod, indicating this was no small accomplishment. “Well you’re certainly old enough to know what you like.” Principal Deegan’s first-day speech came back to mind; I had to bite my lip not to jokingly add in, Am I right? “Here, let me give you some examples. Do you like it when girls wear lipstick?” He blushed and nodded. “Yeah.” His voice had an embarrassed tone, like he’d just made a vile confession. “Good—do you like lighter lipstick? Darker lipstick? Red?” I wanted to grab his hand again. It took every ounce of self-control I had not to slide my fingers beneath the desk and touch the bare skin of his leg. “Um,” he said. His hand began to scratch at his scalp. “Wait,” I said. “I have an idea.” I walked up to my desk and grabbed my purse and a box of Kleenex. “So what I’m wearing now is called fuchsia. Kind of a bright pink.” I sat and wiped it off, then took the fuchsia tube of lipstick out of my purse along with two others. “Okay, ready?” He nodded with sudden animation—we were about to play a game.
Alissa Nutting (Tampa)
How do people get to this clandestine Archipelago? Hour by hour planes fly there, ships steer their course there, and trains thunder off to it--but all with nary a mark on them to tell of their destination. And at ticket windows or at travel bureaus for Soviet or foreign tourists the employees would be astounded if you were to ask for a ticket to go there. They know nothing and they've never heard of the Archipelago as a whole or any one of its innumerable islands.
Those who go to the Archipelago to administer it get there via the training schools of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Those who go there to be guards are conscripted via the military conscription centers.
And those who, like you and me, dear reader, go there to die, must get there solely and compulsorily via arrest.
Arrest! Need it be said that it is a breaking point in your life, a bolt of lightning which has scored a direct hit on you? That it is an unassimilable spiritual earthquake not every person can cope with, as a result of which people often slip into insanity?
The Universe has as many different centers as there are living beings in it. Each of us is a center of the Universe, and that Universe is shattered when they hiss at you: "You are under arrest."
If you are arrested, can anything else remain unshattered by this cataclysm?
But the darkened mind is incapable of embracing these displacements in our universe, and both the most sophisticated and the veriest simpleton among us, drawing on all life's experience,
can gasp out only: "Me? What for?"
And this is a question which, though repeated millions and
millions of times before, has yet to receive an answer.
Arrest is an instantaneous, shattering thrust, expulsion, somersault from one state into another.
We have been happily borne—or perhaps have unhappily
dragged our weary way—down the long and crooked streets of
our lives, past all kinds of walls and fences made of rotting wood,
rammed earth, brick, concrete, iron railings. We have never given
a thought to what lies behind them. We have never tried to penetrate them with our vision or our understanding. But there is
where the Gulag country begins, right next to us, two yards away
from us. In addition, we have failed to notice an enormous number of closely fitted, well-disguised doors and gates in these
fences. All those gates were prepared for us, every last one! And
all of a sudden the fateful gate swings quickly open, and four
white male hands, unaccustomed to physical labor but nonetheless strong and tenacious, grab us by the leg, arm, collar, cap,
ear, and drag us in like a sack, and the gate behind us, the gate to
our past life, is slammed shut once and for all.
That's all there is to it! You are arrested!
And you'll find nothing better to respond with than a lamblike
bleat: "Me? What for?"
That's what arrest is: it's a blinding flash and a blow which
shifts the present instantly into the past and the impossible into
That's all. And neither for the first hour nor for the first day
will you be able to grasp anything else.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (The Gulag Archipelago, 1918-1956: An Experiment in Literary Investigation V-VII)
I've been thinking about this mouth all day" he said before covering my lips with his. I licked at his bottom lip and he opened for me, letting me leisurely taste him. The gentle pressure of his mouth was perfect and made me a little dizzy. His fingers slip up my thigh until both hands were gripping my butt. One of his fingers traced the edge of my panties. "I really like this skirt," he murmured against my lips. I really liked it too at the moment. My breath was coming in short gasps as he slid one hand inside the edge of my panties. He gripped my bare butt with one hand while he slid his other slowly back down my thigh and shifted closer to my inner thigh. I liked what his next move would be. What I didn't know was if I was going to let it go that far. Then he moaned into my mouth as his fingers touched the inside of my thigh and my leg fell open of its own accord. The slow, easy kiss became frenzied as we both fought to calm our breathing. His hand inched higher and higher up my exposed thigh. The second his finger grazed the outside of my panties, I jerked in his hold, and something very close to pleading squeaked in my throat. Sawyer pulled back, and his accelerated breathing made me tingle with pleasure. I loved knowing I did that to him. He kissed down my neck until he met the curve of my shoulder. He went very still. His warm breath bathed my chest and neck. His hand slowly moved again. One lone finger slipped inside the edge of my panties and made direct contact. He murmured something against my neck, but I couldn't focus enough to understand. My brain was in a foggy haze, and my heart was about to pound out of my chest. The urge to move against the hand, which now cupped the crotch of my panties, was strong. But I waited while he eased his finger farther inside and gently ran it along the folds. "oh, oh, oh my god," I managed to get out in a breathless chant. "God, you're so warm," he whispered in a strained voice as he began kissing the spot where he had buried his head in my neck. When he slipped his other hand over my leg and pulled it farther open then reached down and pulled my panties to the side as he gently stroked me, I started to come apart in his arms. "That's it, baby," he encouraged me as I clung to him, calling his name and wanting it to never end.
Abbi Glines (The Vincent Brothers (The Vincent Boys, #2))
His mouth comes down on mine, harder now, more demanding, a raw, hungry need in him rising to the surface. “You belong to me,” he growls. “Say it.”
“Yes. Yes, I belong to you.” His mouth finds mine again, demanding, taking, drawing me under his spell.
“Say it again,” he demands, nipping my lip, squeezing my breast and nipple, and sending a ripple of pleasure straight to my sex.
“I belong to you,” I pant.
He lifts me off the ground with the possessive curve of his hand around my backside, angling my hips to thrust harder, deeper. “Again,” he orders, driving into me, his cock hitting the farthest point of me and blasting against sensitive nerve endings.
“Oh … ah … I … I belong to you.”
His mouth dips low, his hair tickling my neck, his teeth scraping my shoulders at the same moment he pounds into me and the world spins around me, leaving nothing but pleasure and need and more need.
I am suddenly hot only where he touches, and freezing where I yearn to be touched. Lifting my leg, I shackle his hip, ravenous beyond measure, climbing to the edge of bliss, reaching for it at the same time I’m trying desperately to hold back. Chris is merciless, wickedly wild, grinding and rocking, pumping.
“I love you, Sara,” he confesses hoarsely, taking my mouth, swallowing the shallow, hot breath I release, and punishing me with a hard thrust that snaps the last of the lightly held control I possess. Possessing me. A fire explodes low in my belly and spirals downward, seizing my muscles, and I begin to spasm around his shaft, trembling with the force of my release.
With a low growl, his muscles ripple beneath my touch and his cock pulses, his hot semen spilling inside me. We moan together, lost in the climax of a roller-coaster ride of pain and pleasure, spanning days apart, and finally collapse in a heap and just lie there. Slowly, I let my leg ease from his hip to the ground, and Chris rolls me to my side to face him.
Still inside me, he holds me close, pulling the jacket up around my back, trailing fingers over my jaw. “And I belong to you.
Lisa Renee Jones (Being Me (Inside Out, #2))
Ruby?” His hair was pale silver in this light, curled and tangled in its usual way. I couldn’t hide from him. I had never been able to.
“Mike came and got me,” he said, taking a careful step toward me. His hands were out in front of him, as if trying to coax a wild animal into letting him approach. “What are you doing out here? What’s going on?”
“Please just go,” I begged. “I need to be alone.”
He kept coming straight at me.
“Please,” I shouted, “go away!”
“I’m not going anywhere until you tell me what’s going on!” Liam said. He got a better look at me and swallowed, his Adam’s apple bobbing. “Where were you this morning? Did something happen? Chubs told me you’ve been gone all day, and now you’re out here like…this…did he do something to you?”
I looked away. “Nothing I didn’t ask for.”
Liam’s only response was to move back a few paces back. Giving me space.
“I don’t believe you for a second,” he said, calmly. “Not one damn second. If you want to get rid of me, you’re going to have to try harder than that.”
“I don’t want you here.”
He shook his head. “Doesn’t mean I’m leaving you here alone. You can take all the time you want, as long as you need, but you and me? We’re having this out tonight. Right now.” Liam pulled his black sweater over his head and threw it toward me. “Put it on, or you’ll catch a cold.”
I caught it with one hand and pressed it to my chest. It was still warm.
He began to pace, his hands on his hips. “Is it me? Is it that you can’t talk to me about it? Do you want me to get Chubs?”
I couldn’t bring myself to answer.
“Ruby, you’re scaring the hell out of me.”
“Good.” I balled up his sweater and threw it into the darkness as hard as I could.
He blew out a shaky sigh, bracing a hand against the nearest tree. “Good? What’s good about it?”
I hadn’t really understood what Clancy had been trying to tell me that night, not until right then, when Liam looked up and his eyes met mine. The trickle of blood in my ears turned into a roar. I squeezed my eyes shut, digging the heels of my palms against my forehead.
“I can’t do this anymore,” I cried. “Why won’t you just leave me alone?”
“Because you would never leave me.”
His feet shuffled through the underbrush as he took a few steps closer. The air around me heated, taking on a charge I recognized. I gritted my teeth, furious with him for coming so close when he knew I couldn’t handle it. When he knew I could hurt him.
His hands came up to pull mine away from my face, but I wasn’t about to let him be gentle. I shoved him back, throwing my full weight into it. Liam stumbled.
I pushed him again and again, harder each time, because it was the only way I could tell him what I was desperate to say. I saw bursts of his glossy memories. I saw all of his brilliant dreams. It wasn’t until I knocked his back into a tree that I realized I was crying. Up this close, I saw a new cut under his left eye and the bruise forming around it.
Liam’s lips parted. His hands were no longer out in front of him, but hovering over my hips. “Ruby…”
I closed what little distance was left between us, one hand sliding through his soft hair, the other gathering the back of his shirt into my fist. When my lips finally pressed against his, I felt something coil deep inside of me. There was nothing outside of him, not even the grating of cicadas, not even the gray-bodied trees. My heart thundered in my chest. More, more, more—a steady beat. His body relaxed under my hands, shuddering at my touch. Breathing him in wasn’t enough, I wanted to inhale him. The leather, the smoke, the sweetness. I felt his fingers counting up my bare ribs. Liam shifted his legs around mine to draw me closer.
I was off-balance on my toes; the world swaying dangerously under me as his lips traveled to my cheek, to my jaw, to where my pulse throbbed in my neck. He seemed so sure of himself, like he had already plotted out this course.
Alexandra Bracken (The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds, #1))
Here’s how to get started: 1. Sit still and stay put . Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the ground, or sit cross-legged on a cushion. Sit up straight and rest your hands in your lap. It’s important not to fidget when you meditate—that’s the physical foundation of self-control. If you notice the instinct to scratch an itch, adjust your arms, or cross and uncross your legs, see if you can feel the urge but not follow it. This simple act of staying still is part of what makes meditation willpower training effective. You’re learning not to automatically follow every single impulse that your brain and body produce. 2. Turn your attention to the breath. Close your eyes or, if you are worried about falling asleep, focus your gaze at a single spot (like a blank wall, not the Home Shopping Network). Begin to notice your breathing. Silently say in your mind “inhale” as you breathe in and “exhale” as you breathe out. When you notice your mind wandering (and it will), just bring it back to the breath. This practice of coming back to the breath, again and again, kicks the prefrontal cortex into high gear and quiets the stress and craving centers of your brain . 3. Notice how it feels to breathe, and notice how the mind wanders. After a few minutes, drop the labels “inhale/exhale.” Try focusing on just the feeling of breathing. You might notice the sensations of the breath flowing in and out of your nose and mouth. You might sense the belly or chest expanding as you breathe in, and deflating as you breathe out. Your mind might wander a bit more without the labeling. Just as before, when you notice yourself thinking about something else, bring your attention back to the breath. If you need help refocusing, bring yourself back to the breath by saying “inhale” and “exhale” for a few rounds. This part of the practice trains self-awareness along with self-control. Start with five minutes a day. When this becomes a habit, try ten to fifteen minutes a day. If that starts to feel like a burden, bring it back down to five. A short practice that you do every day is better than a long practice you keep putting off to tomorrow. It may help you to pick a specific time that you will meditate every day, like right before your morning shower. If this is impossible, staying flexible will help you fit it in when you can.
Kelly McGonigal (The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do To Get More of It)
Tenways showed his rotten teeth. ‘Fucking make me.’
‘I’ll give it a try.’ A man came strolling out of the dark, just his sharp jaw showing in the shadows of his hood, boots crunching heedless through the corner of the fire and sending a flurry of sparks up around his legs. Very tall, very lean and he looked like he was carved out of wood. He was chewing meat from a chicken bone in one greasy hand and in the other, held loose under the crosspiece, he had the biggest sword Beck had ever seen, shoulder-high maybe from point to pommel, its sheath scuffed as a beggar’s boot but the wire on its hilt glinting with the colours of the fire-pit. He sucked the last shred of meat off his bone with a noisy slurp, and he poked at all the drawn steel with the pommel of his sword, long grip clattering against all those blades. ‘Tell me you lot weren’t working up to a fight without me. You know how much I love killing folk. I shouldn’t, but a man has to stick to what he’s good at. So how’s this for a recipe…’ He worked the bone around between finger and thumb, then flicked it at Tenways so it bounced off his chain mail coat. ‘You go back to fucking sheep and I’ll fill the graves.’
Tenways licked his bloody top lip. ‘My fight ain’t with you, Whirrun.’
And it all came together. Beck had heard songs enough about Whirrun of Bligh, and even hummed a few himself as he fought his way through the logpile. Cracknut Whirrun. How he’d been given the Father of Swords. How he’d killed his five brothers. How he’d hunted the Shimbul Wolf in the endless winter of the utmost North, held a pass against the countless Shanka with only two boys and a woman for company, bested the sorcerer Daroum-ap-Yaught in a battle of wits and bound him to a rock for the eagles. How he’d done all the tasks worthy of a hero in the valleys, and so come south to seek his destiny on the battlefield. Songs to make the blood run hot, and cold too. Might be his was the hardest name in the whole North these days, and standing right there in front of Beck, close enough to lay a hand on. Though that probably weren’t a good idea.
‘Your fight ain’t with me?’ Whirrun glanced about like he was looking for who it might be with. ‘You sure? Fights are twisty little bastards, you draw steel it’s always hard to say where they’ll lead you. You drew on Calder, but when you drew on Calder you drew on Curnden Craw, and when you drew on Craw you drew on me, and Jolly Yon Cumber, and Wonderful there, and Flood – though he’s gone for a wee, I think, and also this lad here whose name I’ve forgotten.’ Sticking his thumb over his shoulder at Beck. ‘You should’ve seen it coming. No excuse for it, a proper War Chief fumbling about in the dark like you’ve nothing in your head but shit. So my fight ain’t with you either, Brodd Tenways, but I’ll still kill you if it’s called for, and add your name to my songs, and I’ll still laugh afterwards. So?’
‘So shall I draw?
Joe Abercrombie (The Heroes (First Law World, #5))
Touching the copper of the ankh reminded me of another necklace, a necklace long since lost under the dust of time. That necklace had been simpler: only a string of beads etched with tiny ankhs. But my husband had brought it to me the morning of our wedding, sneaking up to our house just after dawn in a gesture uncharacteristically bold for him.
I had chastised him for the indiscretion. "What are you doing? You're going to see me this afternoon... and then every day after that!"
"I had to give you these before the wedding." He held up the string of beads. "They were my mother's. I want you to have them, to wear them today.”
He leaned forward, placing the beads around my neck. As his fingers brushed my skin, I felt something warm and tingly run through my body. At the tender age of fifteen, I hadn't exactly understood such sensations, though I was eager to explore them. My wiser self today recognized them as the early stirrings of lust, and . . . well, there had been something else there too. Something else that I still didn't quite comprehend. An electric connection, a feeling that we were bound into something bigger than ourselves. That our being together was inevitable.
"There," he'd said, once the beads were secure and my hair brushed back into place. "Perfect.” He said nothing else after that. He didn't need to. His eyes told me all I needed to know, and I shivered. Until Kyriakos, no man had ever given me a second glance. I was Marthanes' too-tall daughter after all, the one with the sharp tongue who didn't think before speaking. (Shape-shifting would eventually take care of one of those problems but not the other.) But Kyriakos had always listened to me and watched me like I was someone more, someone tempting and desirable, like the beautiful priestesses of Aphrodite who still carried on their rituals away from the Christian priests.
I wanted him to touch me then, not realizing just how much until I caught his hand suddenly and unexpectedly. Taking it, I placed it around my waist and pulled him to me. His eyes widened in surprise, but he didn't pull back. We were almost the same height, making it easy for his mouth to seek mine out in a crushing kiss. I leaned against the warm stone wall behind me so that I was pressed between it and him. I could feel every part of his body against mine, but we still weren't close enough. Not nearly enough.
Our kissing grew more ardent, as though our lips alone might close whatever aching distance lay between us. I moved his hand again, this time to push up my skirt along the side of one leg. His hand stroked the smooth flesh there and, without further urging, slid over to my inner thigh. I arched my lower body toward his, nearly writhing against him now, needing him to touch me everywhere.
"Letha? Where are you at?”
My sister's voice carried over the wind; she wasn't nearby but was close enough to be here soon.
Kyriakos and I broke apart, both gasping, pulses racing. He was looking at me like he'd never seen me before. Heat burned in his gaze.
"Have you ever been with anyone before?" he asked wonderingly.
I shook my head.
"How did you ... I never imagined you doing that...”
"I learn fast.”
He grinned and pressed my hand to his lips. "Tonight," he breathed. "Tonight we ...”
"Tonight," I agreed.
He backed away then, eyes still smoldering. "I love you. You are my life.”
"I love you too." I smiled and watched him go.
Richelle Mead (Succubus Blues (Georgina Kincaid, #1))
As soon as the period of mourning for Dona Ester was over and the big house on the corner was finished, Esteban Trueba and Clara del Valle were married in a modest ceremony. Esteban gave his wife a set of diamond jewelry, which she thought beautiful. She packed it away in a shoe box and quickly forgot where she had put it. They spent their honeymoon in Italy and two days after they were on the boat. Esteban was as madly in love as an adolescent, despite the fact that the movement of the ship made Clara uncontrollably ill and the tight quarters gave her asthma. Seated by her side in the narrow cabin, pressing cold compress to her forehead and holding her while she vomited, he felt profoundly happy and desired her with unjust intensity considering the wretched state to which she was reduced. On the fourth day at sea, she woke up feeling better and they went out on deck to look at the sea. Seeing her with her wind-reddened nose, and laughing at the slightest provocation, Esteban swore that sooner or later she would come to love him as he needed to be loved, even if it meant he had to resort to extreme measures. He realized that Clara did not belong to him and that if she continued living in her world of apparitions, three-legged chairs that moved of their own volition, and cards that spelled out the future, she probably never would. Clara's impudent and nonchalant sensuality was also not enough for him. He wanted far more than her body; he wanted control over that undefined and luminous material that lay within her and that escaped him even in those moments when she appeared to be dying of pleasure. His hands felt very heavy, his feet very big, his voice very hard, his beard very scratchy, and his habits of rape and whoring very deeply ingrained, but even if he had to turn himself inside out like a glove, he was prepared to do everything in his power to seduce her.
Isabel Allende (The House of the Spirits)
Last month, on a very windy day, I was returning from a lecture I had given to a group in Fort Washington. I was beginning to feel unwell. I was feeling increasing spasms in my legs and back and became anxious as I anticipated a difficult ride back to my office. Making matters worse, I knew I had to travel two of the most treacherous high-speed roads near Philadelphia – the four-lane Schuylkill Expressway and the six-lane Blue Route.
You’ve been in my van, so you know how it’s been outfitted with everything I need to drive. But you probably don’t realize that I often drive more slowly than other people. That’s because I have difficulty with body control. I’m especially careful on windy days when the van can be buffeted by sudden gusts. And if I’m having problems with spasms or high blood pressure, I stay way over in the right hand lane and drive well below the speed limit.
When I’m driving slowly, people behind me tend to get impatient. They speed up to my car, blow their horns, drive by, stare at me angrily, and show me how long their fingers can get. (I don't understand why some people are so proud of the length of their fingers, but there are many things I don't understand.) Those angry drivers add stress to what already is a stressful experience of driving.
On this particular day, I was driving by myself. At first, I drove slowly along back roads. Whenever someone approached, I pulled over and let them pass. But as I neared the Blue Route, I became more frightened. I knew I would be hearing a lot of horns and seeing a lot of those long fingers.
And then I did something I had never done in the twenty-four years that I have been driving my van. I decided to put on my flashers. I drove the Blue Route and the Schuylkyll Expressway at 35 miles per hour.
Now…Guess what happened?
Nothing! No horns and no fingers.
When I put on my flashers, I was saying to the other drivers, “I have a problem here – I am vulnerable and doing the best I can.” And everyone understood. Several times, in my rearview mirror I saw drivers who wanted to pass. They couldn’t get around me because of the stream of passing traffic. But instead of honking or tailgating, they waited for the other cars to pass, knowing the driver in front of them was in some way weak.
Sam, there is something about vulnerability that elicits compassion. It is in our hard wiring. I see it every day when people help me by holding doors, pouring cream in my coffee, or assist me when I put on my coat. Sometimes I feel sad because from my wheelchair perspective, I see the best in people. But those who appear strong and invulnerably typically are not exposed to the kindness I see daily.
Sometimes situations call for us to act strong and brave even when we don't feel that way. But those are a few and far between. More often, there is a better pay-off if you don't pretend you feel strong when you feel weak, or pretend that you are brave when you’re scared. I really believe the world might be a safer place if everyone who felt vulnerable wore flashers that said, “I have a problem and I’m doing the best I can. Please be patient!
Daniel Gottlieb (Letters to Sam: A Grandfather's Lessons on Love, Loss, and the Gifts of Life)
Halt glared at his friend as the whistling continued.
'I had hoped that your new sense of responsibly would put an end to that painful shrieking noise you make between your lips' he said.
Crowley smiled. It was a beautiful day and he was feeling at peace with the world. And that meant he was more than ready to tease Halt 'It's a jaunty song'
'What's jaunty about it?' Halt asked, grim faced. Crowley made an uncertain gesture as he sought for an answer to that question.
'I suppose it's the subject matter' he said eventually. 'It's a very cheerful song. Would you like me to sing it for you?'
'N-' Halt began but he was too late, as Crowley began to sing. He had a pleasant tenor voice, in fact, and his rendering of the song was quite good. But to Halt it was as attractive as a rusty barn door squeaking.
'A blacksmith from Palladio, he met a lovely lady-o'
'Whoa! Whoa!' Halt said 'He met a lovely lady-o?' Halt repeated sarcastically 'What in the name of all that's holy is a lady-o?'
'It's a lady' Crowley told him patiently.
'Then why not sing 'he met a lovely lady'?' Halt wanted to know.
Crowley frowned as if the answer was blatantly obvious.
"Because he's from Palladio, as the song says. It's a city on the continent, in the southern part of Toscana.'
'And people there have lady-o's, instead of ladies?' Asked Halt
'No. They have ladies, like everyone else. But 'lady' doesn't rhyme with Palladio, does it? I could hardly sing, 'A blacksmith from Palladio, he met his lovely lady', could I?'
'It would make more sense if you did' Halt insisted
'But it wouldn't rhyme' Crowley told him.
'Would that be so bad?'
'Yes! A song has to rhyme or it isn't a proper song. It has to be lady-o. It's called poetic license.'
'It's poetic license to make up a word that doesn't exist and which, by the way, sound extremely silly?' Halt asked.
Crowley shook his head 'No. It's poetic license to make sure that the two lines rhyme with each other'
Halt thought for a few seconds, his eyes knitted close together. Then inspiration struck him.
'Well then couldn't you sing 'A blacksmith from Palladio, he met a lovely lady, so...'?'
'So what?' Crowley challenged
Halt made and uncertain gesture with his hands as he sought more inspiration. Then he replied. 'He met a lovely lady, so...he asked her for her hand and gave her a leg of lamb.'
'A leg of lamb? Why would she want a leg of lamb?' Crowley demanded
Halt shrugged 'Maybe she was hungry
John Flanagan (The Tournament at Gorlan (Ranger’s Apprentice: The Early Years, #1))
There was an old Taoist who lived in a village in ancient China, named Master Hu. Hu loved God and God loved Hu, and whatever God did was fine with Hu, and whatever Hu did was fine with God. They were friends. They were such good friends that they kidded around. Hu would do stuff to God like call him "The Great Clod." That's how he kidded. That was fine with God. God would turn around and do stuff to Hu like give him warts on his face, wens on his head, arthritis in his hands, a hunch in his back, canker sores in his mouth and gout in his feet. That's how He kidded. That God. What a kidder! But it was fine with Hu.
Master Hu grew lumpy as a toad; he grew crooked as cherry wood; he became a human pretzel. "You Clod!" he'd shout at God, laughing. That was fine with God. He'd send Hu a right leg ten inches shorter than the left to show He was listening. And Hu would laugh some more and walk around in little circles, showing off his short leg, saying to the villagers, "Haha! See how the Great Clod listens! How lumpy and crookedy and ugly He is making me! He makes me laugh and laugh! That's what a Friend is for!" And the people of the village would look at him and wag their heads: sure enough, old Hu looked like an owl's nest; he looked like a swamp; he looked like something the dog rolled in. And he winked at his people and looked up at God and shouted, "Hey Clod! What next?" And splot! Out popped a fresh wart.
The people wagged their heads till their tongues wagged too. They said, "Poor Master Hu has gone crazy." And maybe he had. Maybe God sent down craziness along with the warts and wens and hunch and gout. What did Hu care? It was fine with him. He loved God and God loved Hu, and Hu was the crookedest, ugliest, happiest old man in all the empire till the day he whispered,
Hey Clod! What now?
and God took his line in hand and drew him right into Himself. That was fine with Hu. That's what a Friend is for.
David James Duncan (The River Why)
Not to waste the spring
I threw down everything,
And ran into the open world
To sing what I could sing...
To dance what I could dance!
And join with everyone!
I wandered with a reckless heart
beneath the newborn sun.
First stepping through the blushing dawn,
I crossed beneath a garden bower,
counting every hermit thrush,
counting every hour.
When morning's light was ripe at last,
I stumbled on with reckless feet;
and found two nymphs engaged in play,
approaching them stirred no retreat.
With naked skin, their weaving hands,
in form akin to Calliope's maids,
shook winter currents from their hair
to weave within them vernal braids.
I grabbed the first, who seemed the stronger
by her soft and dewy leg,
and swore blind eyes,
Lest I find I,
before Diana, a hunted stag.
But the nymphs they laughed,
and shook their heads.
and begged I drop beseeching hands.
For one was no goddess, the other no huntress,
merely two girls at play in the early day.
"Please come to us, with unblinded eyes,
and raise your ready lips.
We will wash your mouth with watery sighs,
weave you springtime with our fingertips."
So the nymphs they spoke,
we kissed and laid,
by noontime's hour,
our love was made,
Like braided chains of crocus stems,
We lay entwined, I laid with them,
Our breath, one glassy, tideless sea,
Our bodies draping wearily.
We slept, I slept so lucidly,
with hopes to stay this memory.
I woke in dusty afternoon,
Alone, the nymphs had left too soon,
I searched where perched upon my knees
Heard only larks' songs in the trees.
"Be you, the larks, my far-flung maids?
With lilac feet and branchlike braids...
Who sing sweet odes to my elation,
in your larking exaltation!"
With these, my clumsy, carefree words,
The birds they stirred and flew away,
"Be I, poor Actaeon," I cried, "Be dead…
Before they, like Hippodamia, be gone astray!"
Yet these words, too late, remained unheard,
By lark, that parting, morning bird.
I looked upon its parting flight,
and smelled the coming of the night;
desirous, I gazed upon its jaunt,
as Leander gazes Hellespont.
Now the hour was ripe and dark,
sensuous memories of sunlight past,
I stood alone in garden bowers
and asked the value of my hours.
Time was spent or time was tossed,
Life was loved and life was lost.
I kissed the flesh of tender girls,
I heard the songs of vernal birds.
I gazed upon the blushing light,
aware of day before the night.
So let me ask and hear a thought:
Did I live the spring I’d sought?
It's true in joy, I walked along,
took part in dance,
and sang the song.
and never tried to bind an hour
to my borrowed garden bower;
nor did I once entreat
a day to slumber at my feet.
Yet days aren't lulled by lyric song,
like morning birds they pass along,
o'er crests of trees, to none belong;
o'er crests of trees of drying dew,
their larking flight, my hands, eschew
Thus I'll say it once and true…
From all that I saw,
and everywhere I wandered,
I learned that time cannot be spent,
It only can be squandered.
Roman Payne (Rooftop Soliloquy)
I'll be right here. Good luck, or break a leg, or something.”
As Jay and Gregory turned and headed into the crowd, my traitorous eyes returned to the corner and found another pair or eyes staring darkly back.
I dropped my gaze for three full seconds, and then lifted my eyes again, hesitant. The drummer was still staring at me, oblivious to the three girls trying to win back his attention. He put up one finger at the girls and said something that looked like, “Excuse me.”
Oh, my goodness. Was he...? Oh, no. Yes, he was walking this way.
My nerves shot into high alert. I looked around, but nobody else was near. When I looked back up, there he was, standing right in front of me. Good gracious, he was sexy-a word that had not existed in my personal vocabulary until that moment. This guy was sexy like it was his job or something.
He looked straight into my eyes, which threw me off guard, because nobody ever looked me in the eye like that. Maybe Patti and Jay, but they didn't hold my stare like he was doing now. He didn't look away, and I found that I couldn't take my gaze off those blue eyes.
“Who are you?” he asked in a blunt, almost confrontational way.
I blinked. It was the strangest greeting I'd ever received.
“Right. Anna. How very nice.” I tried to focus on his words and not his luxuriously accented voice, which made everything sound lovely. He leaned in closer. “But who are you?”
What did that mean? Did I need to have some sort of title or social standing to enter his presence?
“I just came with my friend Jay?” Oh, I hated when I got nervous and started talking in questions. I pointed in the general direction of the guys, but he didn't take his eyes off me. I began rambling. “They just wrote some songs. Jay and Gregory. That they wanted you to hear. Your band, I mean. They're really...good?”
His eyes roamed all around my body, stopping to evaluate my sad, meager chest. I crossed my arms. When his gaze landed on that stupid freckle above my lip, I was hit by the scent of oranges and limes and something earthy, like the forest floor. It was pleasant in a masculine way.
“Uh-huh.” He was closer to my face now, growling in that deep voice, but looking into my eyes again. “Very cute. And where is your angel?”
My what? Was that some kind of British slang for boyfriend? I didn't know how to answer without continuing to sound pitiful. He lifted his dark eyebrows, waiting.
“If you mean Jay, he's over there talking to some man in a suit. But he's not my boyfriend or my angel or whatever.”
My face flushed with heat and I tightened my arms over my chest. I'd never met anyone with an accent like his, and I was ashamed of the effect it had on me. He was obviously rude, and yet I wanted him to keep talking to me. It didn't make any sense.
His stance softened and he took a step back, seeming confused, although I still couldn't read his emotions. Why didn't he show any colors? He didn't seem drunk or high. And that red thing...what was that? It was hard not to stare at it.
He finally looked over at Jay, who was deep in conversation with the manager-type man.
“Not your boyfriend, eh?” He was smirking at me now. I looked away, refusing to answer.
“Are you certain he doesn't fancy you?” Kaidan asked. I looked at him again. His smirk was now a naughty smile.
“Yes,” I assured him with confidence. “I am.”
“How do you know?”
I couldn't very well tell him that the only time Jay's color had shown mild attraction to me was when I accidentally flashed him one day as I was taking off my sweatshirt, and my undershirt got pulled up too high. And even then it lasted only a few seconds before our embarrassment set in.
Wendy Higgins (Sweet Evil (Sweet, #1))
My vagina was green water, soft pink fields, cow mooing sun resting sweet boyfriend touching lightly with soft piece of blond straw.
There is something between my legs. I do not know what it is. I do not know where it is. I do not touch. Not now. Not anymore. Not since.
My vagina was chatty, can't wait, so much, so much saying, words talking, can't quit trying, can't quit saying, oh yes, oh yes.
Not since I dream there's a dead animal sewn in down there with thick black fishing line. And the bad dead animal smell cannot be removed. And its throat is slit and it bleeds through all my summer dresses.
My vagina singing all girl songs, all goat bells ringing songs, all wild autumn field songs, vagina songs, vagina home songs.
Not since the soldiers put a long thick rifle inside me. So cold, the steel rod canceling my heart. Don't know whether they're going to fire it or shove it through my spinning brain. Six of them, monstrous doctors with black masks shoving bottles up me too. There were sticks, and the end of a broom.
My vagina swimming river water, clean spilling water over sun-baked stones over stone clit, clit stones over and over.
Not since I heard the skin tear and made lemon screeching sounds, not since a piece of my vagina came off in my hand, a part of the lip, now one side of the lip is completely gone.
My vagina. A live wet water village. My vagina my hometown.
Not since they took turns for seven days smelling like feces and smoked meat, they left their dirty sperm inside me. I became a river of poison and pus and all the crops died, and the fish.
My vagina a live wet water village.
They invaded it. Butchered it and burned it
I do not touch now.
Do not visit.
I live someplace else now.
I don't know where that is.
Eve Ensler (The Vagina Monologues)
'But that was nothing to what things came out
From the sea-caves of Criccieth yonder.'
What were they? Mermaids? dragons? ghosts?'
Nothing at all of any things like that.'
What were they, then?'
'All sorts of queer things,
Things never seen or heard or written about,
Very strange, un-Welsh, utterly peculiar
Things. Oh, solid enough they seemed to touch,
Had anyone dared it. Marvellous creation,
All various shapes and sizes, and no sizes,
All new, each perfectly unlike his neighbour,
Though all came moving slowly out together.'
Describe just one of them.'
'I am unable.'
What were their colours?'
'Mostly nameless colours,
Colours you'd like to see; but one was puce
Or perhaps more like crimson, but not purplish.
Some had no colour.'
'Tell me, had they legs?'
Not a leg or foot among them that I saw.'
But did these things come out in any order?'
What o'clock was it? What was the day of the week?
Who else was present? How was the weather?'
I was coming to that. It was half-past three
On Easter Tuesday last. The sun was shining.
The Harlech Silver Band played Marchog Jesu
On thrity-seven shimmering instruments
Collecting for Caernarvon's (Fever) Hospital Fund.
The populations of Pwllheli, Criccieth,
Portmadoc, Borth, Tremadoc, Penrhyndeudraeth,
Were all assembled. Criccieth's mayor addressed them
First in good Welsh and then in fluent English,
Twisting his fingers in his chain of office,
Welcoming the things. They came out on the sand,
Not keeping time to the band, moving seaward
Silently at a snail's pace. But at last
The most odd, indescribable thing of all
Which hardly one man there could see for wonder
Did something recognizably a something.'
'It made a noise.'
'A frightening noise?'
'A musical noise? A noise of scuffling?'
No, but a very loud, respectable noise ---
Like groaning to oneself on Sunday morning
In Chapel, close before the second psalm.'
What did the mayor do?'
'I was coming to that.
New Rule: Not everything in America has to make a profit. If conservatives get to call universal health care "socialized medicine," I get to call private, for-profit health care "soulless vampire bastards making money off human pain." Now, I know what you're thinking: "But, Bill, the profit motive is what sustains capitalism." Yes, and our sex drive is what sustains the human species, but we don't try to fuck everything.
It wasn't that long ago when a kid in America broke his leg, his parents took him to the local Catholic hospital, the nun stuck a thermometer in his ass, the doctor slapped some plaster on his ankle, and you were done. The bill was $1.50; plus, you got to keep the thermometer.
But like everything else that's good and noble in life, some bean counter decided that hospitals could be big business, so now they're not hospitals anymore; they're Jiffy Lubes with bedpans. The more people who get sick, and stay sick, the higher their profit margins, which is why they're always pushing the Jell-O.
Did you know that the United States is ranked fiftieth in the world in life expectancy? And the forty-nine loser countries were they live longer than us? Oh, it's hardly worth it, they may live longer, but they live shackled to the tyranny of nonprofit health care. Here in America, you're not coughing up blood, little Bobby, you're coughing up freedom. The problem with President Obama's health-care plan isn't socialism. It's capitalism. When did the profit motive become the only reason to do anything? When did that become the new patriotism? Ask not what you could do for your country, ask what's in it for Blue Cross Blue Shield.
And it's not just medicine--prisons also used to be a nonprofit business, and for good reason--who the hell wants to own a prison? By definition, you're going to have trouble with the tenants. It's not a coincidence that we outsourced running prisons to private corporations and then the number of prisoners in America skyrocketed.
There used to be some things we just didn't do for money. Did you know, for example, there was a time when being called a "war profiteer" was a bad thing? FDR said he didn't want World War II to create one millionaire, but I'm guessing Iraq has made more than a few executives at Halliburton into millionaires. Halliburton sold soldiers soda for $7.50 a can. They were honoring 9/11 by charging like 7-Eleven. Which is wrong. We're Americans; we don't fight wars for money. We fight them for oil.
And my final example of the profit motive screwing something up that used to be good when it was nonprofit: TV news. I heard all the news anchors this week talk about how much better the news coverage was back in Cronkite's day. And I thought, "Gee, if only you were in a position to do something about it.
Bill Maher (The New New Rules: A Funny Look At How Everybody But Me Has Their Head Up Their Ass)
You big ugly. You too empty. You desert with your nothing nothing nothing. You scorched suntanned. Old too quickly. Acres of suburbs watching the telly. You bore me. Freckle silly children. You nothing much. With your big sea. Beach beach beach. I’ve seen enough already. You dumb dirty city with bar stools. You’re ugly. You silly shopping town. You copy. You too far everywhere. You laugh at me. When I came this woman gave me a box of biscuits. You try to be friendly but you’re not very friendly. You never ask me to your house. You insult me. You don’t know how to be with me. Road road tree tree. I came from crowded and many. I came from rich. You have nothing to offer. You’re poor and spread thin. You big. So what. I’m small. It’s what’s in. You silent on Sunday. Nobody on your streets. You dead at night. You go to sleep too early. You don’t excite me. You scare me with your hopeless. Asleep when you walk. Too hot to think. You big awful. You don’t match me. You burnt out. You too big sky. You make me a dot in the nowhere. You laugh with your big healthy. You want everyone to be the same. You’re dumb. You do like anybody else. You engaged Doreen. You big cow. You average average. Cold day at school playing around at lunchtime. Running around for nothing. You never accept me. For your own. You always ask me where I’m from. You always ask me. You tell me I look strange. Different. You don’t adopt me. You laugh at the way I speak. You think you’re better than me. You don’t like me. You don’t have any interest in another country. Idiot centre of your own self. You think the rest of the world walks around without shoes or electric light. You don’t go anywhere. You stay at home. You like one another. You go crazy on Saturday night. You get drunk. You don’t like me and you don’t like women. You put your arm around men in bars. You’re rough. I can’t speak to you. You burly burly. You’re just silly to me. You big man. Poor with all your money. You ugly furniture. You ugly house. You relaxed in your summer stupor. All year. Never fully awake. Dull at school. Wait for other people to tell you what to do. Follow the leader. Can’t imagine. Workhorse. Thick legs. You go to work in the morning. You shiver on a tram.
In your madness you said you loved me," she murmured shyly.
His humor fled, and the smile left her lips as she continued, "You said it before, too. When the storm struck, I asked you to love me, and you said you did." Her voice was the barest of whispers.
Ruark's gaze turned away from her, and he rubbed the bandage on his leg before he spoke. "Strange that madness should speak the truth, but truth it is." He met her questioning eyes directly. "Aye, I love you." The pain of longing marked his face with a momentary sadness. "And that is madness, in all truth."
Shanna raised herself form his side and sat on her heels, staring down at him. "Why do you love me?" Her tone was wondrous. "I beset you at every turn. I deny you as a fit mate. I have betrayed you into slavery and worse. There is no sanity in your plea at all. How can you love me?"
"Shanna! Shanna! Shanna!" he sighed, placing his fingers on her hand and gently tracing the lines of her finely boned fingers. "What man would boast the wisdom of his love? How many time has this world heard, 'I don't care, I love.' Do I count your faults and sins to tote them in a book?"
"I dream of unbelievable softness. I remember warmth at my side the likes of which can set my heart afire. I see in the dark before me softly glowing eyes of aqua, once tender in a moment of love, then flashing with defiance and anger, now dark and blue with some stirring I know I have caused, now green and gay with laughter spilling from them. There is a form within my arms that I tenderly held and touched. There is that one who has met my passion with her own and left me gasping."
Ruark caressed Shanna's arm and turned her face to him, making her look into his eyes and willing her to see the truth in them as he spoke.
"My beloved Shanna. I cannot think of betrayal when I think of love. I can count no denials when I hold you close. I only wait for that day when you will say, 'I love."
Shanna raised her hands as if to plead her case then let them fall dejectedly on her knees. Tears coursed down her cheeks, and she begged helplessly, "But I do not want to love you." She began to sob. "You are a colonial. You are untitled, a murderer condemned, a rogue, a slave. I want a name for my children. I want so much more of my husband." She rolled her eyes in sudden confusion. "And I do not want to hurt you more."
Ruark sighed and gave up for the moment. He reached out and gently wiped away the tears as they fell. "Shanna, love," he whispered tenderly, "I cannot bear to see you cry. I will not press the matter for a while. I only beg you remember the longest journey is taken a step at a time. My love can wait, but it will neither yield nor change.
Kathleen E. Woodiwiss (Shanna)
I couldn’t talk about it, about them—not yet. So I breathed “Later” and hooked my feet around his legs, drawing him closer. I placed my hands on his chest, feeling the heart beating beneath. This—I needed this right now. It wouldn’t wash away what I’d done, but … I needed him near, needed to smell and taste him, remind myself that he was real—this was real.
“Later,” he echoed, and leaned down to kiss me.
It was soft, tentative—nothing like the wild, hard kisses we’d shared in the hall of throne room. He brushed his lips against mine again. I didn’t want apologies, didn’t want sympathy or coddling. I gripped the front of his tunic, tugging him closer as I opened my mouth to him.
He let out a low growl, and the sound of it sent a wildfire blazing through me, pooling and burning in my core. I let it burn through that hole in my chest, my soul. Let it raze through the wave of black that was starting to press around me, let it consume the phantom blood I could still feel on my hands. I gave myself to that fire, to him, as his hands roved across me, unbuttoning as he went.
I pulled back, breaking the kiss to look into his face. His eyes were bright—hungry—but his hands had stopped their exploring and rested firmly on my hips. With a predator’s stillness, he waited and watched as I traced the contours of his face, as I kissed every place I touched.
His ragged breathing was the only sound—and his hands soon began roaming across my back and sides, caressing and teasing and baring me to him. When my traveling fingers reached his mouth, he bit down on one, sucking it into his mouth. It didn’t hurt, but the bite was hard enough for me to meet his eyes again. To realize that he was done waiting—and so was I.
He eased me onto the bed, murmuring my name against my neck, the shell of my ear, the tips of my fingers. I urged him—faster, harder. His mouth explored the curve of my breast, the inside of my thigh.
A kiss for each day we’d spent apart, a kiss for every wound and terror, a kiss for the ink etched into my flesh, and for all the days we would be together after this. Days, perhaps, that I no longer deserved. But I gave myself again to that fire, threw myself into it, into him, and let myself burn.
Sarah J. Maas (A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1))
The Peacemaker Colt has now been in production, without change in design, for a century. Buy one to-day and it would be indistinguishable from the one Wyatt Earp wore when he was the Marshal of Dodge City. It is the oldest hand-gun in the world, without question the most famous and, if efficiency in its designated task of maiming and killing be taken as criterion of its worth, then it is also probably the best hand-gun ever made. It is no light thing, it is true, to be wounded by some of the Peacemaker’s more highly esteemed competitors, such as the Luger or Mauser: but the high-velocity, narrow-calibre, steel-cased shell from either of those just goes straight through you, leaving a small neat hole in its wake and spending the bulk of its energy on the distant landscape whereas the large and unjacketed soft-nosed lead bullet from the Colt mushrooms on impact, tearing and smashing bone and muscle and tissue as it goes and expending all its energy on you.
In short when a Peacemaker’s bullet hits you in, say, the leg, you don’t curse, step into shelter, roll and light a cigarette one-handed then smartly shoot your assailant between the eyes. When a Peacemaker bullet hits your leg you fall to the ground unconscious, and if it hits the thigh-bone and you are lucky enough to survive the torn arteries and shock, then you will never walk again without crutches because a totally disintegrated femur leaves the surgeon with no option but to cut your leg off. And so I stood absolutely motionless, not breathing, for the Peacemaker Colt that had prompted this unpleasant train of thought was pointed directly at my right thigh.
Another thing about the Peacemaker: because of the very heavy and varying trigger pressure required to operate the semi-automatic mechanism, it can be wildly inaccurate unless held in a strong and steady hand. There was no such hope here. The hand that held the Colt, the hand that lay so lightly yet purposefully on the radio-operator’s table, was the steadiest hand I’ve ever seen. It was literally motionless. I could see the hand very clearly. The light in the radio cabin was very dim, the rheostat of the angled table lamp had been turned down until only a faint pool of yellow fell on the scratched metal of the table, cutting the arm off at the cuff, but the hand was very clear. Rock-steady, the gun could have lain no quieter in the marbled hand of a statue. Beyond the pool of light I could half sense, half see the dark outline of a figure leaning back against the bulkhead, head slightly tilted to one side, the white gleam of unwinking eyes under the peak of a hat. My eyes went back to the hand. The angle of the Colt hadn’t varied by a fraction of a degree. Unconsciously, almost, I braced my right leg to meet the impending shock. Defensively, this was a very good move, about as useful as holding up a sheet of newspaper in front of me. I wished to God that Colonel Sam Colt had gone in for inventing something else, something useful, like safety-pins.
Alistair MacLean (When Eight Bells Toll)
Call me Ishmael. Some years ago--never mind how long precisely--having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen and regulating the circulation. Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off--then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship. There is nothing surprising in this.
If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards the ocean with me.
There now is your insular city of the Manhattoes, belted round by wharves as Indian isles by coral reefs--commerce surrounds it with her surf. Right and left, the streets take you waterward. Its extreme downtown is the battery, where that noble mole is washed by waves, and cooled by breezes, which a few hours previous were out of sight of land. Look at the crowds of water-gazers there.
Circumambulate the city of a dreamy Sabbath afternoon. Go from Corlears Hook to Coenties Slip, and from thence, by Whitehall, northward. What do you see?--Posted like silent sentinels all around the town, stand thousands upon thousands of mortal men fixed in ocean reveries. Some leaning against the spiles; some seated upon the pier-heads; some looking over the bulwarks of ships from China; some high aloft in the rigging, as if striving to get a still better seaward peep. But these are all landsmen; of week days pent up in lath and plaster--tied to counters, nailed to benches, clinched to desks. How then is this? Are the green fields gone? What do they here?
But look! here come more crowds, pacing straight for the water, and seemingly bound for a dive. Strange! Nothing will content them but the extremest limit of the land; loitering under the shady lee of yonder warehouses will not suffice. No. They must get just as nigh the water as they possibly can without falling in. And there they stand--miles of them--leagues. Inlanders all, they come from lanes and alleys, streets and avenues--north, east, south, and west. Yet here they all unite. Tell me, does the magnetic virtue of the needles of the compasses of all those ships attract them thither?
Once more. Say you are in the country; in some high land of lakes. Take almost any path you please, and ten to one it carries you down in a dale, and leaves you there by a pool in the stream. There is magic in it. Let the most absent-minded of men be plunged in his deepest reveries--stand that man on his legs, set his feet a-going, and he will infallibly lead you to water, if water there be in all that region. Should you ever be athirst in the great American desert, try this experiment, if your caravan happen to be supplied with a metaphysical professor. Yes, as every one knows, meditation and water are wedded for ever.
Herman Melville (Moby-Dick or, the Whale)