Outside My Window I See Quotes

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First, Lord: No tattoos. May neither Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches. May she be Beautiful but not Damaged, for it’s the Damage that draws the creepy soccer coach’s eye, not the Beauty. When the Crystal Meth is offered, May she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half And stick with Beer. Guide her, protect her When crossing the street, stepping onto boats, swimming in the ocean, swimming in pools, walking near pools, standing on the subway platform, crossing 86th Street, stepping off of boats, using mall restrooms, getting on and off escalators, driving on country roads while arguing, leaning on large windows, walking in parking lots, riding Ferris wheels, roller-coasters, log flumes, or anything called “Hell Drop,” “Tower of Torture,” or “The Death Spiral Rock ‘N Zero G Roll featuring Aerosmith,” and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age. Lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance. Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes And not have to wear high heels. What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I’m asking You, because if I knew, I’d be doing it, Youdammit. May she play the Drums to the fiery rhythm of her Own Heart with the sinewy strength of her Own Arms, so she need Not Lie With Drummers. Grant her a Rough Patch from twelve to seventeen. Let her draw horses and be interested in Barbies for much too long, For childhood is short – a Tiger Flower blooming Magenta for one day – And adulthood is long and dry-humping in cars will wait. O Lord, break the Internet forever, That she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers And the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed. And when she one day turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister, Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends, For I will not have that Shit. I will not have it. And should she choose to be a Mother one day, be my eyes, Lord, that I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 A.M., all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back. “My mother did this for me once,” she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby’s neck. “My mother did this for me.” And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a Mental Note to call me. And she will forget. But I’ll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes.
Tina Fey (Bossypants)
We were five. You had a plaid dress and your hair...it was in two braids instead of one. My father pointed you out while we were waiting to line up. He said, 'See that little girl? I wanted to marry her mother, but she ran off with a coal miner.' And I said, 'A coal miner? Why did she want a coal miner if she could've had you?' And he said, 'Because when he sings...even the birds stop to listen.' So that day, in music assembly, the teacher asked who knew the valley song. Your hand shot right up in the air. She put you up on a stool and had you sing it for us. And I swear, ever bird outside the windows fell silent. And right when your song ended, I knew -just like your mother- I was a goner.
Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1))
Peeta,” I say lightly. “You said at the interview you’d had a crush on me forever. When did forever start?” “Oh, let’s see. I guess the first day of school. We were five. You had on a red plaid dress and your hair... it was in two braids instead of one. My father pointed you out when we were waiting to line up,” Peeta says. “Your father? Why?” I ask. “He said, ‘See that little girl? I wanted to marry her mother, but she ran off with a coal miner,’” Peeta says. “What? You’re making that up!” I exclaim. “No, true story,” Peeta says. “And I said, ‘A coal miner? Why did she want a coal miner if she could’ve had you?’ And he said, ‘Because when he sings... even the birds stop to listen.’” “That’s true. They do. I mean, they did,” I say. I’m stunned and surprisingly moved, thinking of the baker telling this to Peeta. It strikes me that my own reluctance to sing, my own dismissal of music might not really be that I think it’s a waste of time. It might be because it reminds me too much of my father. “So that day, in music assembly, the teacher asked who knew the valley song. Your hand shot right up in the air. She stood you up on a stool and had you sing it for us. And I swear, every bird outside the windows fell silent,” Peeta says. “Oh, please,” I say, laughing. “No, it happened. And right when your song ended, I knew—just like your mother—I was a goner,” Peeta says. “Then for the next eleven years, I tried to work up the nerve to talk to you.” “Without success,” I add. “Without success. So, in a way, my name being drawn in the reaping was a real piece of luck,” says Peeta. For a moment, I’m almost foolishly happy and then confusion sweeps over me. Because we’re supposed to be making up this stuff, playing at being in love not actually being in love. But Peeta’s story has a ring of truth to it. That part about my father and the birds. And I did sing the first day of school, although I don’t remember the song. And that red plaid dress... there was one, a hand-me-down to Prim that got washed to rags after my father’s death. It would explain another thing, too. Why Peeta took a beating to give me the bread on that awful hollow day. So, if those details are true... could it all be true? “You have a... remarkable memory,” I say haltingly. “I remember everything about you,” says Peeta, tucking a loose strand of hair behind my ear. “You’re the one who wasn’t paying attention.” “I am now,” I say. “Well, I don’t have much competition here,” he says. I want to draw away, to close those shutters again, but I know I can’t. It’s as if I can hear Haymitch whispering in my ear, “Say it! Say it!” I swallow hard and get the words out. “You don’t have much competition anywhere.” And this time, it’s me who leans in.
Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1))
…"It was fun tonight. But you know what would be even more fun?" "What's that?" she asks. "Making out with you in my car when we get back to your place. You know, to see how foggy we can get the glass?" "That does sounds like fun. Count me in." By the time I walked her to her door, I couldn't see anything outside of my windows.
Sawyer Bennett (Off Sides (Off, #1))
I agreed. By this time the drink was beginning to cut the acid and my hallucinations were down to a tolerable level. The room service waiter had a vaguely reptilian cast to his features, but I was no longer seeing huge pterodactyls lumbering around the corridors in pools of fresh blood. The only problem now was a gigantic neon sign outside the window, blocking our view of the mountains -- millions of colored balls running around a very complicated track, strange symbols & filigree, giving off a loud hum.... "Look outside," I said. "Why?" "There's a big ... machine in the sky, ... some kind of electric snake ... coming straight at us." "Shoot it," said my attorney. "Not yet," I said. "I want to study its habits.
Hunter S. Thompson (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas)
Hello again,’ she said, shivering in the night air.‘Good eve, fair lady, your forgiveness we implore, to come so brashly tapping, tapping at your chamber door.’‘Oh, well, this isn’t exactly my chamber door. More like a window, actually.’The Raven bobbed his head. ‘I made some alterations for the sake of the rhyme.’‘I see. Well – good evening, fair Raven, my forgiveness I bestow, for this uncanny meeting outside of my window.’A boisterous laugh startled Catherine, sending her heart into her throat.
Marissa Meyer (Heartless)
The idea of Zen is to catch life as it flows. There is nothing extraordinary or mysterious about Zen. I raise my hand ; I take a book from the other side of the desk ; I hear the boys playing ball outside my window; I see the clouds blown away beyond the neighbouring wood: — in all these I am practising Zen, I am living Zen. No wordy discussions is necessary, nor any explanation. I do not know why — and there is no need of explaining, but when the sun rises the whole world dances with joy and everybody’s heart is filled with bliss. If Zen is at all conceivable, it must be taken hold of here.
D.T. Suzuki (An Introduction to Zen Buddhism)
All the time, I looked out our lattice window. I watched the birds fly by. I followed the clouds on their travels. I studied the moon as it grew larger, then shrank. So much happened outside my window that I almost forgot what was happening inside that room.
Lisa See (Snow Flower and the Secret Fan)
In any case, there was only one tunnel, dark and lonely, mine, the tunnel in which I had spent my childhood, my youth, my whole life. And in one of those transparent lengths of the stone wall I had seen this girl and had gullibly believed that she was traveling another tunnel parallel to mine, when in reality she belonged to the broad world, to the world without confines of those who do not live in tunnels; and perhaps she had peeped into one of my strange windows out of curiosity and had caught a glimpse of my doomed loneliness, or her fancy had been intrigued by the mute language, the clue of my painting. And then, while I advanced always along my corridor, she lived her normal life outside, the exciting life of those people who live outside, that strange, absurd life in which there are dances and parties and gaiety and frivolity. And it happened at times that when I walked by one of my windows she was waiting for me, silent and longing (why was she waiting for me? why silent and longing?); but other times she did not get there on time, or she forgot about this poor creature hemmed in, and then I, with my face pressed against the glass wall, could see her in the distance, smiling or dancing carefree, or, what was worse, I could not see her at all and I imagined her in inaccessible or vile places. And then I felt my destiny a far lonelier one than I had imagined.
Ernesto Sabato (El túnel)
So the next morning, I had the deeply wretched experience of seeing Prince Marek stop outside the tower doors to look up to my window and blow me a cheerful and indiscreet kiss. I’d been watching only to be sure he actually left; it took nearly all the caution left in me not to throw something down at his head, and I don’t mean a token of my regard.
Naomi Novik (Uprooted)
You'll get over it...' It's the cliches that cause the trouble. To lose someone you love is to alter your life for ever. You don't get over it because 'it' is the person you loved. The pain stops, there are new people, but the gap never closes. How could it? The particularness of someone who mattered enough to greive over is not made anodyne by death. This hole in my heart is in the shape of you and no-one else can fit it. Why would I want them to? I've thought a lot about death recently, the finality of it, the argument ending in mid-air. One of us hadn't finished, why did the other one go? And why without warning? Even death after long illness is without warning. The moment you had prepared for so carefully took you by storm. The troops broke through the window and snatched the body and the body is gone. The day before the Wednesday last, this time a year ago, you were here and now you're not. Why not? Death reduces us to the baffled logic of a small child. If yesterday why not today? And where are you? Fragile creatures of a small blue planet, surrounded by light years of silent space. Do the dead find peace beyond the rattle of the world? What peace is there for us whose best love cannot return them even for a day? I raise my head to the door and think I will see you in the frame. I know it is your voice in the corridor but when I run outside the corridor is empty. There is nothing I can do that will make any difference. The last word was yours. The fluttering in the stomach goes away and the dull waking pain. Sometimes I think of you and I feel giddy. Memory makes me lightheaded, drunk on champagne. All the things we did. And if anyone had said this was the price I would have agreed to pay it. That surprises me; that with the hurt and the mess comes a shaft of recognition. It was worth it. Love is worth it.
Jeanette Winterson (Written on the Body)
Oh, now my Erin, she'd smile down on me no matter where I walked." Grandpop smiled that little smile again. "But I'd be separated from her, and I'd feel that separation in my soul, you see?" Nathan shook his head. Grandpop sighed. "You have the Irish eyes, boy. One of these days, you'll see from eyes, not your own, feel with a heart outside your chest. Wild Irish eyes. Nathan. When you love, love well and love true, and take care, lad, because those Irish eyes are windows into not just your own soul, but the soul of the one you love." Grandpop looked out at his Erin's grave. "And when you lose that heart, you can't leave the places where your memories are the best. And if I left her, I'd not be buried beside her.
Lora Leigh (Wild Card (Elite Ops, #1))
...the solitude was intoxicating. On my first night there I lay on my back on the sticky carpet for hours, in the murky orange pool of city glow coming through the window, smelling heady curry spices spiraling across the corridor and listening to two guys outside yelling at each other in Russian and someone practicing stormy flamboyant violin somewhere, and slowly realizing that there was not a single person in the world who could see me or ask me what I was doing or tell me to do anything else, and I felt as if at any moment the bedsit might detach itself from the buildings like a luminous soap bubble and drift off into the night, bobbing gently above the rooftops and the river and the stars.
Tana French (In the Woods (Dublin Murder Squad, #1))
Over and over again I sail towards joy, which is never in the room with me, but always near me, across the way, like those rooms full of gayety one sees from the street, or the gayety in the street one sees from a window. Will I ever reach joy? It hides behind the turning merry-go-round of the traveling circus. As soon as I approach it, it is no longer joy. Joy is a foam, an illumination. I am poorer and hungrier for the want of it. When I am in the dance, joy is outside in the elusive garden. When I am in the garden, I hear it exploding from the house. When I am traveling, joy settles like an aurora borealis over the land I leave. When I stand on the shore I see it bloom on the flag of a departing ship. What joy? Have I not possessed it? I want the joy of simple colours, street organs, ribbons, flags, not a joy that takes my breath away and throws me into space alone where no one else can breathe with me, not the joy that comes from a lonely drunkenness. There are so many joys, but I have only known the ones that come like a miracle, touching everything with light.
Anaïs Nin (Mirages: The Unexpurgated Diary of Anais Nin (1939-1947))
Here’s what I’ve got, the reasons why our marriage might work: Because you wear pink but write poems about bullets and gravestones. Because you yell at your keys when you lose them, and laugh, loudly, at your own jokes. Because you can hold a pistol, gut a pig. Because you memorize songs, even commercials from thirty years back and sing them when vacuuming. You have soft hands. Because when we moved, the contents of what you packed were written inside the boxes. Because you think swans are overrated. Because you drove me to the train station. You drove me to Minneapolis. You drove me to Providence. Because you underline everything you read, and circle the things you think are important, and put stars next to the things you think I should think are important, and write notes in the margins about all the people you’re mad at and my name almost never appears there. Because you make that pork recipe you found in the Frida Khalo Cookbook. Because when you read that essay about Rilke, you underlined the whole thing except the part where Rilke says love means to deny the self and to be consumed in flames. Because when the lights are off, the curtains drawn, and an additional sheet is nailed over the windows, you still believe someone outside can see you. And one day five summers ago, when you couldn’t put gas in your car, when your fridge was so empty—not even leftovers or condiments— there was a single twenty-ounce bottle of Mountain Dew, which you paid for with your last damn dime because you once overheard me say that I liked it.
Matthew Olzmann
I realized I still had my eyes shut. I had shut them when I put my face to the screen, like I was scared to look outside. Now I had to open them. I looked out the window and saw for the first time how the hospital was out in the country. The moon was low in the sky over the pastureland; the face of it was scarred and scuffed where it had just torn up out of the snarl of scrub oak and madrone trees on the horizon. The stars up close to the moon were pale; they got brighter and braver the farther they got out of the circle of light ruled by the giant moon. I was off on a hunt with Papa and the uncles and I lay rolled in blankets Grandma had woven, lying off a piece from where the men hunkered around the fire as they passed a quart jar of cactus liquor in a silent circle. I watched that big Oregon prairie moon above me put all the stars around it to shame. I kept awake watching, to see if the moon ever got dimmer or the stars got brighter, till the dew commenced to drift onto my cheeks and I had to pull a blanket over my head.
Ken Kesey (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest)
When people call it [depression] I always get pissed off because I always think depression sounds like you just get like really sad, you get quiet and melancholy and just like sit quietly by the window sighing or just lying around. A state of not caring about anything. A kind of blue kind of peaceful state … Well this - isn’t a state. This is a feeling. I feel it all over. In my arms and legs … All over. My head, throat, butt. In my stomach. It’s all over everywhere. I don’t know what to call it. It’s like I can’t get enough outside it to call it anything. It’s like horror more than sadness. It’s more like horror. It’s like something horrible is about to happen, the most horrible thing you imagine – no, worse than you can imagine because there’s the feeling that there’s something you have to do right away to stop it but you don’t know what it is you have to do, and then it’s happening, too, the whole horrible time, it’s about to happen and also it’s happening, all at the same time. … Everything gets horrible. Everything you see gets ugly. Lurid is the word. … That’s the right word for it. And everything sounds harsh, spiny and harsh-sounding, like every sound you hear all of a sudden has teeth. And smelling like I smell bad even after I just got out of the shower. It’s like what’s the point of washing if everything smells like I need another shower.
David Foster Wallace (Infinite Jest)
Yesterday it was sun outside. The sky was blue and people were lying under blooming cherry trees in the park. It was Friday, so records were released, that people have been working on for years. Friends around me find success and level up, do fancy photo shoots and get featured on big, white, movie screens. There were parties and lovers, hand in hand, laughing perfectly loud, but I walked numbly through the park, round and round, 40 times for 4 hours just wanting to make it through the day. There's a weight that inhabits my chest some times. Like a lock in my throat, making it hard to breathe. A little less air got through and the sky was so blue I couldn’t look at it because it made me sad, swelling tears in my eyes and they dripped quietly on the floor as I got on with my day. I tried to keep my focus, ticked off the to-do list, did my chores. Packed orders, wrote emails, paid bills and rewrote stories, but the panic kept growing, exploding in my chest. Tears falling on the desk tick tick tick me not making a sound and some days I just don't know what to do. Where to go or who to see and I try to be gentle, soft and kind, but anxiety eats you up and I just want to be fine. This is not beautiful. This is not useful. You can not do anything with it and it tries to control you, throw you off your balance and lovely ways but you can not let it. I cleaned up. Took myself for a walk. Tried to keep my eyes on the sky. Stayed away from the alcohol, stayed away from the destructive tools we learn to use. the smoking and the starving, the running, the madness, thinking it will help but it only feeds the fire and I don't want to hurt myself anymore. I made it through and today I woke up, lighter and proud because I'm still here. There are flowers growing outside my window. The coffee is warm, the air is pure. In a few hours I'll be on a train on my way to sing for people who invited me to come, to sing, for them. My own songs, that I created. Me—little me. From nowhere at all. And I have people around that I like and can laugh with, and it's spring again. It will always be spring again. And there will always be a new day.
Charlotte Eriksson
The rainbow comes and goes. Enjoy it while it lasts. Don’t be surprised by its departure, and rejoice when it returns. There is so much to be joyful about, so many different kinds of rainbows in one’s life: making love is an incredible rainbow, as is falling in love; knowing friendship; being able to really talk with someone who has a problem and say something that will help; waking up in the morning, looking out, and seeing a tree that has suddenly blossomed, like the one I have outside my window—what joy that brings. It may seem a small thing, but rainbows come in all sizes. I think about Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz singing, about where “bluebirds fly,” and Jan Peerce singing about “a bluebird of happiness.” Well, they may never find it, they may never reach it, and that’s okay. The searching, that’s what I think life is really all about. Don’t you? I
Anderson Cooper (The Rainbow Comes and Goes: A Mother and Son on Life, Love, and Loss)
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))
There are no rules. Love. Survival. Truth. Freedom. I write my words. I savor them. They have taste and strength and memory and rhythm. Outside my window, I see the morning star. And I watch it until it winks out in the light of dawn.
Katherine Longshore (Brazen (Royal Circle, #3))
MY BOSS SENDS me home because of all the dried blood on my pants, and I am overjoyed. The hole punched through my cheek doesn’t ever heal. I’m going to work, and my punched-out eye sockets are two swollen-up black bagels around the little piss holes I have left to see through. Until today, it really pissed me off that I’d become this totally centered Zen Master and nobody had noticed. Still, I’m doing the little FAX thing. I write little HAIKU things and FAX them around to everyone. When I pass people in the hall at work, I get totally ZEN right in everyone’s hostile little FACE. Worker bees can leave Even drones can fly away The queen is their slave You give up all your worldly possessions and your car and go live in a rented house in the toxic waste part of town where late at night, you can hear Marla and Tyler in his room, calling each other hum; butt wipe. Take it, human butt wipe. Do it, butt wipe. Choke it down. Keep it down, baby. Just by contrast, this makes me the calm little center of the world. Me, with my punched-out eyes and dried blood in big black crusty stains on my pants, I’m saying HELLO to everybody at work. HELLO! Look at me. HELLO! I am so ZEN. This is BLOOD. This is NOTHING. Hello. Everything is nothing, and it’s so cool to be ENLIGHTENED. Like me. Sigh. Look. Outside the window. A bird. My boss asked if the blood was my blood. The bird flies downwind. I’m writing a little haiku in my head. Without just one nest A bird can call the world home Life is your career I’m counting on my fingers: five, seven, five. The blood, is it mine? Yeah, I say. Some of it. This is a wrong answer.
Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club)
She was beginning to stir questions in me that I'd spent all my life refusing to ask, since the day I had looked down from the window at the broken body of the schoolboy on the flagstones a long way below, while a master hurried from the cloisters with his black gown flapping in the winter wind, to see what had happened: the day when I was suddenly old enough to understand that I had a choice. I could either do what that other boy had done, or I could spend the rest of my life outside society, where it was safe
Adam Hall (Quiller)
Yesterday morning, I awoke to a brilliant rainbow. At first, I marveled at the sky’s pink hues, and I thought how soothing it was. I haven’t had that feeling in a long time, that feeling of being at peace with myself or my life. I got out of bed to stand to pull the obligatory curtain further, the color peeking through the leaves of the oaks outside my window. Where I had been seeing grey for quite some time shone now pink. The color is hard to describe accurately. It was pink; but it bordered on a light red. It told me to come look at it.
R.B. O'Brien
I had resigned my temporary lectureship—thankless, dreary work, from which I would be suddenly distracted by the slightest song, the slightest sound coming from the country outside; in every passing cry I heard an invitation. How often I have leapt from my reading and run to the window to see—nothing pass by! How often I have hurried out of doors. . . The only attention I found possible was that of my five senses.
André Gide (The Immoralist)
I know.” He leaned in and brushed his knuckles across her cheek. “And you can try and pretend it’s okay. That you’re strong and tough and you don’t need anyone. That you didn’t need her. But that’s all bullshit. I know it, and you know it.” Savannah stared at Cole. “You’re so pushy. I told you my story. Why can’t you leave it alone?” “Have you ever dealt with it?” She’d spent so many years holding it all inside. “I’m here right now, aren’t I? I obviously dealt with my past.” “I’m not talking about surviving it. Yeah, you survived it. But you haven’t let go of it.” He rubbed her arm. “What she did to you mattered. It wasn’t fair.” He was wrong. She was fine. It didn’t matter. She had always shown everyone how strong she was. “Show me how you feel, Peaches.” Her bottom lip trembled. She got up, walked to the window to look outside, staring at the darkness, not really seeing anything but the years falling away, stripping away the cool, confident woman she was now, revealing the scared little girl she once was. She’d vowed to never go back to that place, to never revisit those feelings again, yet here she stood. Cole wrapped his arms around her. She stiffened. “It’s okay to be vulnerable, Savannah, to let someone see you scared.” “I’m not scared. Not anymore.
Jaci Burton (Playing to Win (Play by Play, #4))
What are you thinking of, Katharine?" he asked suspiciously, noticing her tone of dreaminess and the inapt words. "I was thinking of you--yes, I swear it. Always of you, but you take such strange shapes in my mind. You've destroyed my loneliness. Am I to tell you how I see you? No, tell me--tell me from the beginning." Beginning with spasmodic words, he went on to speak more and more fluently, more and more passionately, feeling her leaning towards him, listening with wonder like a child, with gratitude like a woman. She interrupted him gravely now and then. "But it was foolish to stand outside and look at the windows. Suppose William hadn't seen you. Would you have gone to bed?" He capped her reproof with wonderment that a woman of her age could have stood in Kingsway looking at the traffic until she forgot. "But it was then I first knew I loved you!" she exclaimed. "Tell me from the beginning," he begged her. "No, I'm a person who can't tell things," she pleaded. "I shall say something ridiculous--something about flames--fires. No, I can't tell you." But he persuaded her into a broken statement, beautiful to him, charged with extreme excitement as she spoke of the dark red fire, and the smoke twined round it, making him feel that he had stepped over the threshold into the faintly lit vastness of another mind, stirring with shapes, so large, so dim, unveiling themselves only in flashes, and moving away again into the darkness, engulfed by it.
Virginia Woolf (Night and Day)
The passing clouds outside the window form the perfect backdrop for wavering frames I see moving inside my mind.
Pavitraa Parthasarathy
I was making dinner and I got a message. Go look outside, she said, go look at the sunset. My apartment is small, with four rooms and two windows that don’t see much light so I had no idea. I pulled my coat on and hurried out. I was running to this sunset, suddenly the only thing that mattered. I hurried past the taller buildings to the park and the sky was leaking shades of pink and purple. It was beautiful and fleeting, there one minute and gone the next. I would’ve missed it; I almost kissed it. And so I started thinking, how great it would be to get a nudge, a tap on your shoulder, a moment or two before your life changes. Stop what you’re doing and look around, you’ll want to remember this later. In a minute, you’re going to fall in love.
Kelsey Danielle
Outside the walls of the Crimson Cabaret was a world of rain and darkness. At intervals, whenever someone entered or exited through the front door of the club, one could actually see the steady rain and was allowed a brief glimpse of the darkness. Inside it was all amber light, tobacco smoke, and the sound of the raindrops hitting the windows, which were all painted black. On such nights, as I sat at one of the tables in that drab little place, I was always filled with an infernal merriment, as if I were waiting out the apocalypse and could not care less about it. I also liked to imagine that I was in the cabin of an old ship during a really vicious storm at sea or in the club car of a luxury passenger train that was being rocked on its rails by ferocious winds and hammered by a demonic rain. Sometimes, when I was sitting in the Crimson Cabaret on a rainy night, I thought of myself as occupying a waiting room for the abyss (which of course was exactly what I was doing) and between sips from my glass of wine or cup of coffee I smiled sadly and touched the front pocket of my coat where I kept my imaginary ticket to oblivion.
Thomas Ligotti (The Nightmare Factory)
But it was the second guy who caught my eye. Like the girl, he, too, paused by the door, seeming even more wary than she looked. The sunlight streaming in through the windows highlighted the rich honey in his dark chocolate brown hair, even as it cast his face in shadow. The tan skin of his arms resembled marble—hard, but smooth and supple at the same time. He must have passed through the mist spewed up by the fountain outside, because his black T-shirt was wet in places and the damp patches clung to his skin. The wetness allowed me to see just how muscled his chest was. Oh, yeah, I totally ogled that part of him, right up until I spotted the silver cuff on his right wrist. Given the angle, I couldn’t tell what crest was stamped into the metal, but I glanced at the others, who also wore cuffs. I sighed. So they belonged to some Family then. Wonderful. This day just kept getting better.
Jennifer Estep (Cold Burn of Magic (Black Blade, #1))
I watched the light flicker on the limestone walls until Archer said, "I wish we could go to the movies." I stared at him. "We're in a creepy dungeon. There's a chance I might die in the next few hours. You are going to die in the next few hours. And if you had one wish, it would be to catch a movie?" He shook his head. "That's not what I meant. I wish we weren't like this. You know, demon, demon-hunter. I wish I'd met you in a normal high school, and taken you on normal dates, and like, carried your books or something." Glancing over at me, he squinted and asked, "Is that a thing humans actually do?" "Not outside of 1950s TV shows," I told him, reaching up to touch his hair. He wrapped an arm around me and leaned against the wall, pulling me to his chest. I drew my legs up under me and rested my cheek on his collarbone. "So instead of stomping around forests hunting ghouls, you want to go to the movies and school dances." "Well,maybe we could go on the occasional ghoul hunt," he allowed before pressing a kiss to my temple. "Keep things interesting." I closed my eyes. "What else would we do if we were regular teenagers?" "Hmm...let's see.Well,first of all, I'd need to get some kind of job so I could afford to take you on these completely normal dates. Maybe I could stock groceries somewhere." The image of Archer in a blue apron, putting boxes of Nilla Wafers on a shelf at Walmart was too bizarre to even contemplate, but I went along with it. "We could argue in front of our lockers all dramatically," I said. "That's something I saw a lot at human high schools." He squeezed me in a quick hug. "Yes! Now that sounds like a good time. And then I could come to your house in the middle of the night and play music really loudly under your window until you took me back." I chuckled. "You watch too many movies. Ooh, we could be lab partners!" "Isn't that kind of what we were in Defense?" "Yeah,but in a normal high school, there would be more science, less kicking each other in the face." "Nice." We spent the next few minutes spinning out scenarios like this, including all the sports in which Archer's L'Occhio di Dio skills would come in handy, and starring in school plays.By the time we were done, I was laughing, and I realized that, for just a little while, I'd managed to forget what a huge freaking mess we were in. Which had probably been the point. Once our laughter died away, the dread started seeping back in. Still, I tried to joke when I said, "You know, if I do live through this, I'm gonna be covered in funky tattoos like the Vandy. You sure you want to date the Illustrated Woman, even if it's just for a little while?" He caught my chin and raised my eyes to his. "Trust me," he said softly, "you could have a giant tiger tattooed on your face, and I'd still want to be with you." "Okay,seriously,enough with the swoony talk," I told him, leaning in closer. "I like snarky, mean Archer." He grinned. "In that case, shut up, Mercer.
Rachel Hawkins (Demonglass (Hex Hall, #2))
On the train I saw that world passing my window. It was when I came to see it was I who was passing that my self-centered childhood was over. But it was not until I began to write, that I found the world out there revealing, because memory had become attached to seeing, love had added itself to discovery, and because I recognized in my own continuing longing to keep going, the need I carried inside myself to know - the apprehension, first, and then the passion, to connect myself to it. Through travel I first became aware of the outside world; it was through travel that I found my own introspective way into becoming a part of it. This is, of course, simply saying that the outside world is the vital component of my inner life. My imagination takes its strength and guides its direction from what I see and hear and learn and feel and remember of my living world. But I was to learn slowly that both these worlds, outer and inner, were different from what they seemed to me in the beginning.
Eudora Welty (On Writing (Modern Library))
At daycare the next morning, I learned of the boy's accidental death. My throat tightened at the thought of the scream I'd heard: so it was him. It seemed he had been playing alone on an outside walkway, and he had gone over the railing. What was he seeing as he fell with that cry? It was nighttime; the glow of streetlamps, lighted windows, and neon signs must have streamed like water around his falling body. Perhaps he gazed in amazement at the unfamiliar torrents of lights, wondering where he was going.
Yūko Tsushima (Territory of Light)
Formerly, in my attempts to isolate this talent, I deducted, so to speak, from what I heard, the part itself, a part, the common property of all the actresses who appeared as Phèdre, which I myself had studied beforehand so that I might be capable of subtracting it, of gleaming as a residuum Mme Berma’s talent alone. But this talent which I sought to discover outside the part itself was indissolubly one with it. So with a great musician (it appears that this was the case with Vinteuil when he played the piano), his playing is that of so fine a pianist that one is no longer aware that the performer is a pianist at all, because his playing has become so transparent, so imbued with what he is interpreting, that one no longer sees the performer himself — he is simply a window opening upon a great work of art.
Marcel Proust
A character like that," he said to himself—"a real little passionate force to see at play is the finest thing in nature. It's finer than the finest work of art—than a Greek bas-relief, than a great Titian, than a Gothic cathedral. It's very pleasant to be so well treated where one had least looked for it. I had never been more blue, more bored, than for a week before she came; I had never expected less that anything pleasant would happen. Suddenly I receive a Titian, by the post, to hang on my wall—a Greek bas-relief to stick over my chimney-piece. The key of a beautiful edifice is thrust into my hand, and I'm told to walk in and admire. My poor boy, you've been sadly ungrateful, and now you had better keep very quiet and never grumble again." The sentiment of these reflexions was very just; but it was not exactly true that Ralph Touchett had had a key put into his hand. His cousin was a very brilliant girl, who would take, as he said, a good deal of knowing; but she needed the knowing, and his attitude with regard to her, though it was contemplative and critical, was not judicial. He surveyed the edifice from the outside and admired it greatly; he looked in at the windows and received an impression of proportions equally fair. But he felt that he saw it only by glimpses and that he had not yet stood under the roof. The door was fastened, and though he had keys in his pocket he had a conviction that none of them would fit. She was intelligent and generous; it was a fine free nature; but what was she going to do with herself? This question was irregular, for with most women one had no occasion to ask it. Most women did with themselves nothing at all; they waited, in attitudes more or less gracefully passive, for a man to come that way and furnish them with a destiny. Isabel's originality was that she gave one an impression of having intentions of her own. "Whenever she executes them," said Ralph, "may I be there to see!
Henry James (The Portrait of a Lady)
Are broken windows a new decorating theme around here?” Archer asked, coming up behind Jenna and me and poking his head into the parlor. “So it would seem,” I said. I was still looking outside when a faint light appeared in the gloom. It took me a minute to realize that it was from Cal’s cabin. Was someone out there? Was Cal out there? But just as quickly as it had appeared, the light went out again. Frowning, I turned from the doorway, and I went to slip my arm through Archer’s. Then I remembered what Nausicaa had said earlier. Now wasn’t exactly the best time for PDA, probably. The three of us trailed behind everyone else into the ballroom. Here, at least, things looked more or less the same. Of course, the ballroom had always been one of the more bizarre rooms at Hex Hall, so that didn’t say much. Still, I was relieved to see the familiar jumble of tables and chairs and not, like, tree stumps or whatever.
Rachel Hawkins (Spell Bound (Hex Hall, #3))
At the bakery it's just me. It's a small place. Just me and the raspberry horns and the tourtiere pies and my cigarette going in the ashtray near the black sink. Every once in a while a car passes through the dark street outside the storefont windows, but that's pretty much all I see of people while I'm there, until the end of my shift at eight when Monica shows up to open the store for the day. A solid twelve hours by myself, nothing but the radio to keep me company, and I like it just fine, being alone. It's even better in the winter, during a storm, when the snow piles up outside and no cars come by at all. Inside the bakery it's warm and there's plenty to keep my hands busy. Times like that, for all I can tell I'm the only person left on earth. I could go on making pies and watching the snow pile up until the end of time, so long as there was enough coffee on hand. I don't need company like some people seem to.
Ron Currie Jr. (Everything Matters!)
One day, a bird slammed into my studio window. I was sitting on a yoga ball and tumbled backward in terror. Almost every residency I've had since, I've found at least one stunned bird sprawled on the ground outside my workspace. I learned: they never see the glass coming. They only see the reflection of the sky.
Carmen Maria Machado (In the Dream House)
Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the base Only sentries were stirring--they guarded the place. At the foot of each bunk sat a helmet and boot For the Santa of Soldiers to fill up with loot. The soldiers were sleeping and snoring away As they dreamed of “back home” on good Christmas Day. One snoozed with his rifle--he seemed so content. I slept with the letters my family had sent. When outside the tent there arose such a clatter. I sprang from my rack to see what was the matter. Away to the window I flew like a flash. Poked out my head, and yelled, “What was that crash?” When what to my thrill and relief should appear, But one of our Blackhawks to give the all clear. More rattles and rumbles! I heard a deep whine! Then up drove eight Humvees, a jeep close behind… Each vehicle painted a bright Christmas green. With more lights and gold tinsel than I’d ever seen. The convoy commander leaped down and he paused. I knew then and there it was Sergeant McClaus! More rapid than rockets, his drivers they came When he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name: “Now, Cohen! Mendoza! Woslowski! McCord! Now, Li! Watts! Donetti! And Specialist Ford!” “Go fill up my sea bags with gifts large and small! Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away, all!” In the blink of an eye, to their trucks the troops darted. As I drew in my head and was turning around, Through the tent flap the sergeant came in with a bound. He was dressed all in camo and looked quite a sight With a Santa had added for this special night. His eyes--sharp as lasers! He stood six feet six. His nose was quite crooked, his jaw hard as bricks! A stub of cigar he held clamped in his teeth. And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath. A young driver walked in with a seabag in tow. McClaus took the bag, told the driver to go. Then the sarge went to work. And his mission today? Bring Christmas from home to the troops far away! Tasty gifts from old friends in the helmets he laid. There were candies, and cookies, and cakes, all homemade. Many parents sent phone cards so soldiers could hear Treasured voices and laughter of those they held dear. Loving husbands and wives had mailed photos galore Of weddings and birthdays and first steps and more. And for each soldier’s boot, like a warm, happy hug, There was art from the children at home sweet and snug. As he finished the job--did I see a twinkle? Was that a small smile or instead just a wrinkle? To the top of his brow he raised up his hand And gave a salute that made me feel grand. I gasped in surprise when, his face all aglow, He gave a huge grin and a big HO! HO! HO! HO! HO! HO! from the barracks and then from the base. HO! HO! HO! as the convoy sped up into space. As the camp radar lost him, I heard this faint call: “HAPPY CHRISTMAS, BRAVE SOLDIERS! MAY PEACE COME TO ALL!
Trish Holland (The Soldiers' Night Before Christmas (Big Little Golden Book))
Pulling to a stop in front of Aly’s house, I take a deep breath. With a flick of my wrist, I cut the engine and listen to the silence. I’ve sat in this exact spot more times than I can count. In many ways, Aly’s house is like my sanctuary. A place I go when my own home feels like a graveyard. I glance up at the bedroom window of the girl who knows me better than anyone, the only person I let see me cry after Dad died. I won’t let this experiment take that or her away from me. Tonight, I’m going to prove that Aly and I can go back to our normal, easy friendship. Throwing open my door, I trudge up her sidewalk, plant my feet outside her front door, and ring the bell. “Coming!” I step back and see Aly stick her head out of her second-story window. “No problem,” I call back up. “Take your time.” More time to get my head on straight. Aly disappears behind a film of yellow curtain, and I turn to look out at the quiet neighborhood. Up and down the street, the lights blink on, filling the air with a low hum that matches the thrumming of my nerves. Across the street, old Mr. Lawson sits at his usual perch under a gigantic American flag, drinking beer and mumbling to himself. Two little girls ride their bikes around the cul-de-sac, smiling and waving. Just a normal, run-of-the-mill Friday night. Except not. I thrust my hands into my pockets, jiggling the loose change from my Taco Bell run earlier tonight, and grab my pack of Trident. I toss a stick into my mouth and chew furiously. Supposedly, the smell of peppermint can calm your nerves. I grab a second stick and shove it in, too. With the clacking sound of Aly’s shoes approaching the door behind me, I remind myself again about tonight’s mission. All I need is focus. I take another deep breath for good measure and rock back on my heels, ready to greet my best friend. She opens the door, wearing a black dress molded to her skin, and I let the air out in one big huff.
Rachel Harris (The Fine Art of Pretending (The Fine Art of Pretending, #1))
It was early autumn, then, before the snow began to fly. –(There’s an expression for you, born in the country, born from the imaginations of men and their feeling for the right word, the only word, to mirror clearly what they see! Those with few words must know how to use them.) Men who have seen it, who have watched it day by day outside their cabin window coming down from the sky, like the visible remorse of an ageing year; who have watched it bead upon the ears of the horses they rode, muffle the sound of hoofs on the trail, lie upon spruce boughs and over grass – cover, as if forever, the landscape in which they moved, round off the mountains, blanket the ice in the rivers – for them the snow flies. The snow doesn’t fall. It may ride the wind. It may descend slowly, in utter quiet, from the grey and laden clouds, so that you can hear the flakes touching lightly on the wide white waste, as they come to rest at the end of their flight. Flight – that’s the word. They beat in the air like wings, as if reluctant ever to touch the ground. I have observed them coming down, on a very cold day, near its end when the sky above me was still blue, in flakes great and wide as the palm of my hand. They were like immense moths winging down in the twilight, making the silence about me visible.
Howard O'Hagan (Tay John)
Through constant self-sacrifice I had thoroughly ruined life in Desselbrunn for myself, one day it suddenly became unbearable, I thought. The beginning of this self-sacrifice had been the rejection of my Steinway, the triggering moment so to speak for my subsequent inability to tolerate life in Deselbrunn. All at once I could no longer breathe the Desselbrunn air and the walls in Desselbrunn made me sick and the rooms threatened to choke me, one has to remember how cavernous the rooms are there, nine-by-six meter or eight-by-eight meter rooms, I thought. I hated those rooms and I hated what was in those rooms and when I left my house I hated the people outside my house, all at once I was being unjust to all those people, who only wanted the best for me, but precisely that drove me crazy after a while, their constant willingness to be helpful, which I suddenly found profoundly revolting. I barricaded myself and stared out the window, without seeing anything but my own unhappiness. I ran outdoors and cursed at everybody. I ran into the woods and huddled beneath a tree, exhausted.
Thomas Bernhard (The Loser)
My love, why did you leave me on Lexington Avenue in the Ford that had no brakes? It stalled in the traffic and broke down outside her window. She was writing a letter: I love you very much: Careful Now in capitals. That was a different letter. Yes, but I get confused. One day she saw a golden oriel in the orchard. One day she said, Then have your orgy with Blondie, work out your passion on her. I see it all, the poop of burnished gold. If I got angry and made a scene? But No. No. No, I believe you, of course, I believe you for didn't you say I was the one? Yes, you said, Take care of this girl for she is what makes my blood circulate and all the stars revolve and the seasons return. This was my dream, and why I had circles under my eyes this morning at breakfast. Everyone noticed it, and I think one of them sniggered. You don't take much interest in politics, do you? You never read the newspapers? I drank my coffee, but I had a slight feeling of nausea. It's to be expected, I don't mind it at all, it's nothing. My love, are you feeling better? He can't talk, he can only mutter. O my dear, O my dear, drink a little milk, lie down and rest a little. I will comfort you. I can carry love like Saint Christopher. It is heavy, but I can carry it. It's the stones of suspicion I stumble on. Did I say suspicion? No. No. No. It's nothing. I love you. A slight feeling of nausea, that's all. After a while I got out into the open air, and his face was the moon hanging in the snowy branches.
Elizabeth Smart (By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept)
And suddenly I knew, as I touched the damp, grainy surface of the seawall, that I would always remember this night, that in years to come I would remember sitting here, swept with confused longing as I listened to the water lapping the giant boulders beneath the promenade and watched the children head toward the shore in a winding, lambent procession. I wanted to come back tomorrow night, and the night after, and the one after that as well, sensing that what made leaving so fiercely painful was the knowledge that there would never be another night like this, that I would never eat soggy cakes along the coast road in the evening, not this year or any other year, nor feel the baffling, sudden beauty of that moment when, if only for an instant, I had caught myself longing for a city I never knew I loved. Exactly a year from now, I vowed, I would sit outside at night wherever I was, somewhere in Europe, or in America, and turn my face to Egypt, as Moslems do when they pray and face Mecca, and remember this very night, and how I had thought these things and made this vow. You're beginning to sound like Elsa and her silly seders, I said to myself, mimicking my father's humour. On my way home I thought of what the others were doing. I wanted to walk in, find the smaller living room still lit, the Beethoven still playing, with Abdou still cleaning the dining room, and, on closing the front door, suddenly hear someone say, "We were just waiting for you, we're thinking of going to the Royal." "But we've already seen that film," I would say. "What difference does it make. We'll see it again." And before we had time to argue, we would all rush downstairs, where my father would be waiting in a car that was no longer really ours, and, feeling the slight chill of a late April night, would huddle together with the windows shut, bicker as usual about who got to sit where, rub our hands, turn the radio to a French broadcast, and then speed to the Corniche, thinking that all this was as it always was, that nothing ever really changed, that the people enjoying their first stroll on the Corniche after fasting, or the woman selling tickets at the Royal, or the man who would watch our car in the side alley outside the theatre, or our neighbours across the hall, or the drizzle that was sure to greet us after the movie at midnight would never, ever know, nor even guess, that this was our last night in Alexandria.
André Aciman (Out of Egypt: A Memoir)
Over the years I have read many, many books about the future, my ‘we’re all doomed’ books, as Connie liked to call them. ‘All the books you read are either about how grim the past was or how gruesome the future will be. It might not be that way, Douglas. Things might turn out all right.’ But these were well-researched, plausible studies, their conclusions highly persuasive, and I could become quite voluble on the subject. Take, for instance, the fate of the middle-class, into which Albie and I were born and to which Connie now belongs, albeit with some protest. In book after book I read that the middle-class are doomed. Globalisation and technology have already cut a swathe through previously secure professions, and 3D printing technology will soon wipe out the last of the manufacturing industries. The internet won’t replace those jobs, and what place for the middle-classes if twelve people can run a giant corporation? I’m no communist firebrand, but even the most rabid free-marketeer would concede that market-forces capitalism, instead of spreading wealth and security throughout the population, has grotesquely magnified the gulf between rich and poor, forcing a global workforce into dangerous, unregulated, insecure low-paid labour while rewarding only a tiny elite of businessmen and technocrats. So-called ‘secure’ professions seem less and less so; first it was the miners and the ship- and steel-workers, soon it will be the bank clerks, the librarians, the teachers, the shop-owners, the supermarket check-out staff. The scientists might survive if it’s the right type of science, but where do all the taxi-drivers in the world go when the taxis drive themselves? How do they feed their children or heat their homes and what happens when frustration turns to anger? Throw in terrorism, the seemingly insoluble problem of religious fundamentalism, the rise of the extreme right-wing, under-employed youth and the under-pensioned elderly, fragile and corrupt banking systems, the inadequacy of the health and care systems to cope with vast numbers of the sick and old, the environmental repercussions of unprecedented factory-farming, the battle for finite resources of food, water, gas and oil, the changing course of the Gulf Stream, destruction of the biosphere and the statistical probability of a global pandemic, and there really is no reason why anyone should sleep soundly ever again. By the time Albie is my age I will be long gone, or, best-case scenario, barricaded into my living module with enough rations to see out my days. But outside, I imagine vast, unregulated factories where workers count themselves lucky to toil through eighteen-hour days for less than a living wage before pulling on their gas masks to fight their way through the unemployed masses who are bartering with the mutated chickens and old tin-cans that they use for currency, those lucky workers returning to tiny, overcrowded shacks in a vast megalopolis where a tree is never seen, the air is thick with police drones, where car-bomb explosions, typhoons and freak hailstorms are so commonplace as to barely be remarked upon. Meanwhile, in literally gilded towers miles above the carcinogenic smog, the privileged 1 per cent of businessmen, celebrities and entrepreneurs look down through bullet-proof windows, accept cocktails in strange glasses from the robot waiters hovering nearby and laugh their tinkling laughs and somewhere, down there in that hellish, stewing mess of violence, poverty and desperation, is my son, Albie Petersen, a wandering minstrel with his guitar and his keen interest in photography, still refusing to wear a decent coat.
David Nicholls (Us)
I realized I still had my eyes shut. I had shut them when I put my face to the screen, like I was scared to look outside. Now I had to open them. I looked out the window and saw for the first time how the hospital was out in the country. The moon was low in the sky over the pastureland; the face of it was scarred and scuffed where it had just torn up out of the snarl of scrub oak and madrone trees on the horizon. The stars up close to the moon were pale; they got brighter and braver the farther they got out of the circle of light ruled by the giant moon. It called to mind how I noticed the exact same thing when I was off on a hunt with Papa and the uncles and I lay rolled in blankets Grandma had woven, lying off a piece from where the men hunkered around the fire as they passed a quart jar of cactus liquor in a silent circle. I watched that big Oregon prairie moon above me put all the stars around it to shame. I kept awake watching, to see if the moon ever got dimmer or if the stars got brighter, till the dew commenced to drift onto my cheeks and I had to pull a blanket over my head. Something moved on the grounds down beneath my window — cast a long spider of shadow out across the grass as it ran out of sight behind a hedge. When it ran back to where I could get a better look, I saw it was a dog, a young, gangly mongrel slipped off from home to find out about things went on after dark. He was sniffing digger squirrel holes, not with a notion to go digging after one but just to get an idea what they were up to at this hour. He’d run his muzzle down a hole, butt up in the air and tail going, then dash off to another. The moon glistened around him on the wet grass, and when he ran he left tracks like dabs of dark paint spattered across the blue shine of the lawn. Galloping from one particularly interesting hole to the next, he became so took with what was coming off — the moon up there, the night, the breeze full of smells so wild makes a young dog drunk — that he had to lie down on his back and roll. He twisted and thrashed around like a fish, back bowed and belly up, and when he got to his feet and shook himself a spray came off him in the moon like silver scales. He sniffed all the holes over again one quick one, to get the smells down good, then suddenly froze still with one paw lifted and his head tilted, listening. I listened too, but I couldn’t hear anything except the popping of the window shade. I listened for a long time. Then, from a long way off, I heard a high, laughing gabble, faint and coming closer. Canada honkers going south for the winter. I remembered all the hunting and belly-crawling I’d ever done trying to kill a honker, and that I never got one. I tried to look where the dog was looking to see if I could find the flock, but it was too dark. The honking came closer and closer till it seemed like they must be flying right through the dorm, right over my head. Then they crossed the moon — a black, weaving necklace, drawn into a V by that lead goose. For an instant that lead goose was right in the center of that circle, bigger than the others, a black cross opening and closing, then he pulled his V out of sight into the sky once more. I listened to them fade away till all I could hear was my memory of the sound.
Ken Kesey (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest :Text and Criticism)
Speaking to a foreigner was the dream of every student, and my opportunity came at last. When I got back from my trip down the Yangtze, I learned that my year was being sent in October to a port in the south called Zhanjiang to practice our English with foreign sailors. I was thrilled. Zhanjiang was about 75 miles from Chengdu, a journey of two days and two nights by rail. It was the southernmost large port in China, and quite near the Vietnamese border. It felt like a foreign country, with turn-of-the-century colonial-style buildings, pastiche Romanesque arches, rose windows, and large verandas with colorful parasols. The local people spoke Cantonese, which was almost a foreign language. The air smelled of the unfamiliar sea, exotic tropical vegetation, and an altogether bigger world. But my excitement at being there was constantly doused by frustration. We were accompanied by a political supervisor and three lecturers, who decided that, although we were staying only a mile from the sea, we were not to be allowed anywhere near it. The harbor itself was closed to outsiders, for fear of 'sabotage' or defection. We were told that a student from Guangzhou had managed to stow away once in a cargo steamer, not realizing that the hold would be sealed for weeks, by which time he had perished. We had to restrict our movements to a clearly defined area of a few blocks around our residence. Regulations like these were part of our daily life, but they never failed to infuriate me. One day I was seized by an absolute compulsion to get out. I faked illness and got permission to go to a hospital in the middle of the city. I wandered the streets desperately trying to spot the sea, without success. The local people were unhelpful: they did not like non-Cantonese speakers, and refused to understand me. We stayed in the port for three weeks, and only once were we allowed, as a special treat, to go to an island to see the ocean. As the point of being there was to talk to the sailors, we were organized into small groups to take turns working in the two places they were allowed to frequent: the Friendship Store, which sold goods for hard currency, and the Sailors' Club, which had a bar, a restaurant, a billiards room, and a ping-pong room. There were strict rules about how we could talk to the sailors. We were not allowed to speak to them alone, except for brief exchanges over the counter of the Friendship Store. If we were asked our names and addresses, under no circumstances were we to give our real ones. We all prepared a false name and a nonexistent address. After every conversation, we had to write a detailed report of what had been said which was standard practice for anyone who had contact with foreigners. We were warned over and over again about the importance of observing 'discipline in foreign contacts' (she waifi-lu). Otherwise, we were told, not only would we get into serious trouble, other students would be banned from coming.
Jung Chang (Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China)
And now I see the outside of our house, with the latticed bedroom-windows standing open to let in the sweet-smelling air, and the ragged old rooks'-nests still dangling in the elm-trees at the bottom of the front garden. Now I am in the garden at the back, beyond the yard where the empty pigeon-house and dog-kennel are—a very preserve of butterflies, as I remember it, with a high fence, and a gate and padlock; where the fruit clusters on the trees, riper and richer than fruit has ever been since, in any other garden, and where my mother gathers some in a basket, while I stand by, bolting furtive gooseberries, and trying to look unmoved. A great wind rises, and the summer is gone in a moment. We are playing in the winter twilight, dancing about the parlour. When my mother is out of breath and rests herself in an elbow-chair, I watch her winding her bright curls round her fingers, and straitening her waist, and nobody knows better than I do that she likes to look so well, and is proud of being so pretty.
Charles Dickens (David Copperfield)
Over and over again I sail towards joy, which is never in the room with me, but always near me, across the way, like those rooms full of gayety one sees from the street, or the gayety in the street one sees from a window. Will I ever reach joy? It hides behind the turning merry-go-round of the traveling circus. As soon as I approach it, it is no longer joy. Joy is a foam, an illumination. I am poorer and hungrier for the want of it. When I am in the dance, joy is outside in the elusive garden. When I am in the garden, I hear it exploding from the house. When I am traveling, joy settles like an aurora borealis over the land I leave. When I stand on the shore I see it bloom on the flag of a departing ship. What joy? Have I not possessed it? I want the joy of simple colors, street organs, ribbons, flags, not a joy that takes my breath away and throws me into space alone where no one else can breathe with me, not the joy that comes from a lonely drunkenness. There are so many joys, but I have only known the ones that come like a miracle, touching everything with light.
Anaïs Nin
In a private room down the hall, a tired but delighted Cecily was watching her husband with his brand-new son. Cecily had thought that the expression on Tate’s face at their wedding would never be duplicated. But when they placed the tiny little boy in his father’s gowned arms in the delivery room, and he saw his child for the first time, the look on his face was indescribable. Tears welled in his eyes. He’d taken the tiny little fist in his big, dark hand and smoothed over the perfect little fingers and then the tiny little face, seeking resemblances. “Generations of our families,” he said softly, “all there, in that face.” He’d looked down at his wife with unashamedly wet eyes. “In our son’s face.” She wiped her own tears away with a corner of the sheet and coaxed Tate’s head down so that she could do the same for him where they were, temporarily, by themselves. Now she was cleaned up, like their baby, and drowsy as she lay on clean white sheets and watched her husband get acquainted with his firstborn. “Isn’t he beautiful?” he murmured, still awed by the child. “Next time, we have to have a little girl,” he said with a tender smile, “so that she can look like you.” Her heart felt near to bursting as she stared up at that beloved face, above the equally beloved face of their firstborn. “My heart is happy when I see you,” she whispered in Lakota. He chuckled, having momentarily forgotten that he’d taught her how to say it. “Mine is equally happy when I see you,” he replied in English. She reached out and clasped his big hand with her small one. On the table beside her was a bouquet of roses, red and crisp with a delightful soft perfume. Her eyes traced them, and she remembered the first rose he’d ever given her, when she was seventeen: a beautiful red paper rose that he’d brought her from Japan. Now the roses were real, not imitation. Just as her love for him, and his for her, had become real enough to touch. He frowned slightly at her expression. “What is it?” he asked softly. “I was remembering the paper rose you brought me from Japan, just after I went to live with Leta.” She shrugged and smiled self-consciously. He smiled back. “And now you’re covered in real ones,” he discerned. She nodded, delighted to see that he understood exactly what she was talking about. But, then, they always had seemed to read each others’ thoughts-never more than now, with the baby who was a living, breathing manifestation of their love. “Yes,” she said contentedly. “The roses are real, now.” Outside the window, rain was coming down in torrents, silver droplets shattering on the bright green leaves of the bushes. In the room, no one noticed. The baby was sleeping and his parents were watching him, their eyes full of warm, soft dreams.
Diana Palmer (Paper Rose (Hutton & Co. #2))
By December 1975, a year had passed since Mr. Harvey had packed his bags, but there was still no sign of him. For a while, until the tape dirtied or the paper tore, store owners kept a scratchy sketch of him taped to their windows. Lindsey and Samuel walked in the neighboorhood or hung out at Hal's bike shop. She wouldn't go to the diner where the other kids went. The owner of the diner was a law and order man. He had blown up the sketch of George Harvey to twice its size and taped it to the front door. He willingly gave the grisly details to any customer who asked- young girl, cornfield, found only an elbow. Finallly Lindsey asked Hal to give her a ride to the police station. She wanted to know what exactly they were doing. They bid farewell to Samuel at the bike shop and Hal gave Lindsey a ride through a wet December snow. From the start, Lindsey's youth and purpose had caught the police off guard. As more and more of them realized who she was, they gave her a wider and wider berth. Here was this girl, focused, mad, fifteen... When Lindsey and Hal waited outside the captain's office on a wooden bench, she thought she saw something across the room that she recognized. It was on Detective Fenerman's desk and it stood out in the room because of its color. What her mother had always distinguished as Chinese red, a harsher red than rose red, it was the red of classic red lipsticks, rarely found in nature. Our mother was proud of her ability fo wear Chinese red, noting each time she tied a particular scarf around her neck that it was a color even Grandma Lynn dared not wear. Hal,' she said, every muscle tense as she stared at the increasingly familiar object on Fenerman's desk. Yes.' Do you see that red cloth?' Yes.' Can you go and get it for me?' When Hal looked at her, she said: 'I think it's my mother's.' As Hal stood to retrieve it, Len entered the squad room from behind where Lindsey sat. He tapped her on the shoulder just as he realized what Hal was doing. Lindsey and Detective Ferman stared at each other. Why do you have my mother's scarf?' He stumbled. 'She might have left it in my car one day.' Lindsey stood and faced him. She was clear-eyed and driving fast towards the worst news yet. 'What was she doing in your car?' Hello, Hal,' Len said. Hal held the scarf in his head. Lindsey grabbed it away, her voice growing angry. 'Why do you have m mother's scarf?' And though Len was the detective, Hal saw it first- it arched over her like a rainbow- Prismacolor understanding. The way it happened in algebra class or English when my sister was the first person to figure out the sum of x or point out the double entendres to her peers. Hal put his hand on Lindsey's shoulder to guide her. 'We should go,' he said. And later she cried out her disbelief to Samuel in the backroom of the bike shop.
Alice Sebold
I think I would make a very good astronaut. To be a good astronaut you have to be intelligent and I’m intelligent. You also have to understand how machines work and I’m good at understanding how machines work. You also have to be someone who would like being on their own in a tiny spacecraft thousands and thousands of miles away from the surface of the earth and not panic or get claustrophobia or homesick or insane. And I really like little spaces, so long as there is no one else in them with me. Sometimes when I want to be on my own I get into the airing cupboard outside the bathroom and slide in beside the boiler and pull the door closed behind me and sit there and think for hours and it makes me feel very calm. So I would have to be an astronaut on my own, or have my own part of the space craft which no one else could come into. And also there are no yellow things or brown things in a space craft, so that would be okay too. And I would have to talk to other people from Mission Control, but we would do that through a radio linkup and a TV monitor, so they wouldn’t be like real people who are strangers, but it would be like playing a computer game. Also I wouldn’t be homesick at all because I’d be surrounded by things I like, which are machines and computers and outer space. And I would be able to look out of a little window in the spacecraft and know that there was no one near me for thousands and thousands of miles, which is what I sometimes pretend at night in the summer when I go and lie on the lawn and look up at the sky and I put my hands round the sides of my face so that I can’t see the fence and the chimney and the washing line and I can pretend I’m in space. And all I could see would be stars. And stars are the places where molecules that life is made of were constructed billions of years ago. For example, all the iron in your blood which keeps you from being anemic was made in a star. And I would like it if I could take Toby with me into space, and that might be allowed because they sometimes do take animals into space for experiments, so if I could think of a good experiment you could do with a rat that didn’t hurt the rat, I could make them let me take Toby. But if they didn’t let me I would still go because it would be a Dream Come True.
Mark Haddon (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time)
But if my father could stand up to schoolmasters and if he inherited some of his own father's gifts as a teacher, he himself could never have become one. He could teach and loved teaching. He could radiate enthusiasm, but he could never impose discipline. He could never have taught a dull subject to a dull boy, never have said: "Do this because I say so." Enthusiasm spread knowledge sideways, among equals. Discipline forced it downwards from above. My father's relationships were always between equals, however old or young, distinguished or undistinguished the other person. Once, when I was quite little, he came up to the nursery while I was having my lunch. And while he was talking I paused between mouthfuls, resting my hands on the table, knife and fork pointing upwards. "You oughtn't really to sit like that," he said, gently. "Why not?" I asked, surprised. "Well..." He hunted around for a reason he could give. Because it's considered bad manners? Because you mustn't? Because... "Well," he said, looking in the direction my fork was pointing, "Suppose somebody suddenly fell through the ceiling. They might land on your fork and that would be very painful." "I see," I said, though I didn't really. It seemed such an unlikely thing to happen, such a funny reason for holding your knife and fork flat when you were not using them... But funny reason or not, it seems I have remembered it. In the same sort of way I learned about the nesting habits of starlings. I had been given a bird book for Easter (Easter 1934: I still have the book) and with its help I had made my first discovery. "There's a blackbird's nest in the hole under the tiles just outside the drawing-room window," I announced proudly. "I've just seen the blackbird fly in." "I think it's probably really a starling," said my father. "No, it's a blackbird," I said firmly, hating to be wrong, hating being corrected. "Well," said my father, realizing how I felt but at the same time unable to allow an inaccuracy to get away with it, "Perhaps it's a blackbird visiting a starling." A blackbird visiting a starling. Someone falling through the ceiling. He could never bear to be dogmatic, never bring himself to say (in effect): This is so because I say it is, and I am older than you and must know better. How much easier, how much nicer to escape into the world of fantasy in which he felt himself so happily at home.
Christopher Milne (The Enchanted Places)
My point is that bias is not advertised by a glowing sign worn around jurors’ necks; we are all guilty of it, because the brain is wired for us to see what we believe, and it usually happens outside of everyone’s awareness. Affective realism decimates the ideal of the impartial juror. Want to increase the likelihood of a conviction in a murder trial? Show the jury some gruesome photographic evidence. Tip their body budgets out of balance and chances are they’ll attribute their unpleasant affect to the defendant: “I feel bad, therefore you must have done something bad. You are a bad person.” Or permit family members of the deceased to describe how the crime has hurt them, a practice known as a victim impact statement, and the jury will tend to recommend more severe punishments. Crank up the emotional impact of a victim impact statement by recording it professionally on video and adding music and narration like a dramatic film, and you’ve got the makings of a jury-swaying masterpiece.45 Affective realism intertwines with the law outside the courtroom as well. Imagine that you are enjoying a quiet evening at home when suddenly you hear loud banging outside. You look out the window and see an African American man attempting to force open the door of a nearby house. Being a dutiful citizen, you call 911, and the police arrive and arrest the perpetrator. Congratulations, you have just brought about the arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., as it happened on July 16, 2009. Gates was trying to force open the front door of his own home, which had become stuck while he was traveling. Affective realism strikes again. The real-life eyewitness in this incident had an affective feeling, presumably based on her concepts about crime and skin color, and made a mental inference that the man outside the window had intent to commit a crime.
Lisa Feldman Barrett (How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain)
Leaving Forever My son can look me level in the eyes now, and does, hard, when I tell him he cannot watch chainsaw murders at the midnight movie, that he must bend his mind to Biology, under this roof, in the clear light of a Tensor lamp. Outside, his friends throb with horsepower under the moon. He stands close, milk sour on his breath, gauging the heat of my conviction, eye-whites pink from his new contacts. He can see me better than before. And I can see myself in those insolent eyes, mostly head in the pupil's curve, closed in by the contours of his unwrinkled flesh. At the window he waves a thin arm and his buddies squall away in a glare of tail lights. I reach out my arm to his shoulder, but he shrugs free and shows me my father's narrow eyes, the trembling hand at my throat, the hard wall at the back of my skull, the raised fist framed in the bedroom window I had climbed through at three A.M. "If you hit me I'll leave forever," I said. But everything was fine in a few days, fine. "I would have come back," I said, "false teeth and all." Now, twice a year after the long drive, in the yellow light of the front porch, I breathe in my father's whiskey, ask for a shot, and see myself distorted in his thick glasses, the two of us grinning, as he holds me with both hands at arm's length.
Ron Smith (Running Again in Hollywood Cemetery: Poems)
After All This" After all this love, after the birds rip like scissors through the morning sky, after we leave, when the empty bed appears like a collapsed galaxy, or the wake of disturbed air behind a plane, after that, as the wind turns to stone, as the leaves shriek, you are still breathing inside my own breath. The lighthouse on the far point still sweeps away the darkness with the brush of an arm. The tides inside your heart still pull me towards you. After all this, what are these words but mollusk shells a child plays with? What could say more than the eloquence of last night’s constellations? or the storm anchored by its own flashes behind the far mountains? I remember the way your body wavers under my touch like the northern lights. After all this, I want the certainty of hidden roots spreading in all directions from their tree. I want to hear again the sky tangled in your voice. Some nights I can hear the footsteps of the stars. How can these words ever reveal the secret that waits in their sleeping light? The words that walk through my mind say only what has already passed. Beyond, the swallows are still knitting the wind. After a while, the smokebush will turn to fire. After a while, the thin moon will grow like a tear in a curtain. Under it, a small boy kicks a ball against the wall of a burned out house. He is too young to remember the war. He hardly knows the emptiness that kindles around him. He can speak the language of early birds outside our window. Someday he will know this kind of love that changes the color of the sky, and frees the earth from its moorings. Sometimes I kiss your eyes to see beyond what I can imagine. Sometimes I think I can speak the language of unborn stars. I think the whole earth breathes with you. After all this, these words are all I have to say what is impossible to think, what shy dreams hide in the rafters of my heart, because these words are only a form of touch, only tell you I have no life that isn’t yours, and no death you couldn’t turn into a life.
Richard Jackson (Resonance)
It’s dark as a tomb in here,” she said, unable to see more than shadows. “Will you light the candles, please,” she asked, “assuming there are candles in here?” “Aye, milady, right there, next to the bed.” His shadow crossed before her, and Elizabeth focused on a large, oddly shaped object that she supposed could be a bed, given its size. “Will you light them, please?” she urged. “I-I can’t see a thing in here.” “His lordship don’t like more’n one candle lit in the bedchambers,” the footman said. “He says it’s a waste of beeswax.” Elizabeth blinked in the darkness, torn somewhere between laughter and tears at her plight. “Oh,” she said, nonplussed. The footman lit a small candle at the far end of the room and left, closing the door behind him. “Milady?” Berta whispered, peering through the dark, impenetrable gloom. “Where are you?” “I’m over here,” Elizabeth replied, walking cautiously forward, her arms outstretched, her hands groping about for possible obstructions in her path as she headed for what she hoped was the outside wall of the bedchamber, where there was bound to be a window with draperies hiding its light. “Where?” Berta asked in a frightened whisper, and Elizabeth could hear the maid’s teeth chattering halfway across the room. “Here-on your left.” Berta followed the sound of her mistress’s voice and let out a terrified gasp at the sight of the ghostlike figure moving eerily through the darkness, arms outstretched. “Raise your arm,” she said urgently, “so I’ll know ‘tis you.” Elizabeth, knowing Berta’s timid nature, complied immediately. She raised her arm, which, while calming poor Berta, unfortunately caused Elizabeth to walk straight into a slender, fluted pillar with a marble bust upon it, and they both began to topple. “Good God!” Elizabeth burst out, wrapping her arms protectively around the pillar and the marble object upon it. “Berta!” she said urgently. “This is no time to be afraid of the dark. Help me, please. I’ve bumped into something-a bust and its stand, I think-and I daren’t let go of them until I can see how to set them upright. There are draperies over here, right in front of me. All you have to do is follow my voice and open them. Once we do, ‘twill be bright as day in here.” “I’m coming, milady,” Berta said bravely, and Elizabeth breathed a sigh of relief. “I’ve found them!” Berta cried softly a few minutes later. “They’re heavy-velvet they are, with another panel behind them.” Berta pulled one heavy panel back across the wall, and then, with renewed urgency and vigor, she yanked back the other and turned around to survey the room. “Light as last!” Elizabeth said with relief. Dazzling late-afternoon sunlight poured into the windows directly in front of her, blinding her momentarily. “That’s much better,” she said, blinking. Satisfied that the pillar was quite sturdy enough to stand without her aid, Elizabeth was about to place the bust back upon it, but Berta’s cry stopped her. “Saints preserve us!” With the fragile bust clutched protectively to her chest Elizabeth swung sharply around. There, spread out before her, furnished entirely in red and gold, was the most shocking room Elizabeth had ever beheld: Six enormous gold cupids seemed to hover in thin air above a gigantic bed clutching crimson velvet bed draperies in one pudgy fist and holding bows and arrows in the other; more cupids adorned the headboard. Elizabeth’s eyes widened, first in disbelief, and a moment later in mirth. “Berta,” she breathed on a smothered giggle, “will you look at this place!
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
Today it's snowing, so beautifully, all white! And only yesterday I was very sad, I thought there won't be any winter this year. I can't imagine a winter without snow. Can a Lithuanian live without snow? Could a Lithuanian ever live only with green and brown and red? In Brazil, or Australia? Oh, my God, how would that be possible, without snow, without ice flowers on the windows, without the biting cold? You look at those white distances and something wakes up in you, something so close to you... Or when you listen to the wind banging outside, how it spills on the window glass with thin cold icy snow flakes. You put your forehead against the night window and you stare into the dark and see the snow fall, and hear a soft thumping of feet in the street below.
Jonas Mekas (I Had Nowhere to Go)
That explains what I’m doing here.” He put his chin down on the edge of the gurney, watching me like a big friendly dog. “What are you doing here?” He was so dreamily handsome, looking at me with concern in his eyes, and his tone was so gentle, that I almost answered him. “You followed me,” he said. I shifted on the gurney, trying in vain to find a more comfortable position. My hip sure did hurt. “You wanted to know where I was going so late at night,” he said. “I’ve seen you watching me through your window.” Note to self: when boys look back at you watching them in the darkness outside your well-lit window, but their expressions do not change, you relax, assuming they can’t really see you watching them, when they can totally see you. There was no way around it now.
Jennifer Echols (Love Story)
I use that word endlessly: "primitive." "Oh, the primitive world," I say. "What instinctive truths were lost with it!" And while I sit there, baiting a poor, unimaginative woman with the word that freaky boy tries to conjure the reality! I sit looking at pages of centaurs trampling the soil of Argos - and outside my window he is trying to become one, in a Hampshire field! ... I watch that woman knitting, night after night - a woman I haven't kissed in six years - and he stands in the dark for an hour, sucking the sweat of his God's hairy cheek! Then in the morning, I put away my books on the cultural shelf, close up the Kodachrome snaps of Mount Olympus, touch my reproduction statue of Dionysus for luck - and go off to hospital to treat him for insanity. Do you see?
Peter Shaffer (Equus (Penguin Plays))
When someone’s been gone a long time, at first you save up all the things you want to tell them. You try to keep track of everything in your head. But it’s like trying to hold on to a fistful of sand: all the little bits slip out of your hands, and then you’re just clutching air and grit. That’s why you can’t save it all up like that. Because by the time you finally see each other, you’re catching up only on the big things, because it’s too much bother to tell about the little things. But the little things are what make up life. Like a month ago when Daddy slipped on a banana peel, a literal banana peel that Kitty had dropped on the kitchen floor. Kitty and I laughed for ages. I should have e-mailed Margot about it right away; I should have taken a picture of the banana peel. Now everything feels like you had to be there and oh never mind, I guess it’s not that funny. Is this how people lose touch? I didn’t think that could happen with sisters. Maybe with other people, but never us. Before Margot left, I knew what she was thinking without having to ask; I knew everything about her. Not anymore. I don’t know what the view looks like outside her window, or if she still wakes up early every morning to have a real breakfast or if maybe now that she’s at college she likes to go out late and sleep in late. I don’t know if she prefers Scottish boys to American boys now, or if her roommate snores. All I know is she likes her classes and she’s been to visit London once. So basically I know nothing. And so does she. There are big things I haven’t told her—how my letters got sent out. The truth about me and Peter. The truth about me and Josh. I wonder if Margot feels it too. The distance between us. If she even notices. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
Jenny Han
When I wake, it seems a little less hot than usual, so I’m worried I have a fever until light flashes behind the curtains and the sound of a detonation rolls in with a force that makes the windows rattle. As I step outside with a plastic bag over my cast, a stiff breeze pulls my hair away from my face, and I see the pregnant clouds of the monsoon hanging low over the city. The rains have finally decided to come. I sit down on the lawn, resting my back against the wall of the house, and light an aitch I’ve waited a long time to smoke. Suddenly the air is still and the trees are silent, and I can hear laughter from my neighbor’s servant quarters. A bicycle bell sounds in the street, reminding me of the green Sohrab I had as a child. Then the wind returns, bringing the smell of wet soil and a pair of orange parrots that swoop down to take shelter in the lower branches of the banyan tree, where they glow in the shadows.
Mohsin Hamid (Moth Smoke)
On the 27th morning, at around 8 a.m. the train left Godhra Station. The karsevaks were loudly chanting the Ram Dhoon. The train had hardly gone a few meters, when it suddenly stopped. Somebody had perhaps pulled the chain to stop the train. Before anybody could know what had happened, we saw a huge mob approaching the train. People were carrying weapons like Gupti, Spears, Swords and such other deadly weapons in their hands and were throwing stones at the train. We all got frightened and somehow closed the windows and the doors of the compartment. People outside were shouting loudly, saying ‘Maro, Kato’ and were attacking the train. A loudspeaker from the Masjid (i.e. Mosque) closeby was also very loudly shouting ‘Maro, Kato, Laden na dushmano ne Maro.’ (“Cut, kill, kill the enemies of Laden”)These attackers were so fierce that they managed to break the windows and close the doors from outside before pouring petrol inside and setting the compartment on fire so that nobody could escape alive. A number of attackers entered the compartment and were beating the karsevaks and looting their belongings. The compartments were drenched in petrol all over. We were terrified and were shouting for help but who was there to help us? A few policemen were later seen approaching the compartment but they were also whisked away by the furious mob outside. There was so much of smoke in the compartment that we were unable to see each other and also getting suffocated. Going out was too difficult, however, myself and Pooja somehow managed to jump out through the windows. Pooja was hurt in her back and was unable to stand up. People outside were trying to hold us to take us away but we could escape and run under the burning train and succeeded in crawling towards the cabin. I have seen my parents and sisters being burnt alive right in front of my eyes.” Luckily, Gayatri was not hurt too badly. “We somehow managed to go up to the station and meet our aunty (Masi). After the compartments were completely burnt, the crowd started withering. We saw that even amongst them were men, women and youngsters like us, both male and female.
M.D. Deshpande (Gujarat Riots: The True Story: The Truth of the 2002 Riots)
His teeth began to chatter. God All-Mighty! he thought, why haven't I realized it all these years? All these years I've gone around with a--SKELETON--inside me! How is it we take ourselves for granted? How is it we never question our bodies and our being? A skeleton. One of those jointed, snowy, hard things, one of those foul, dry, brittle, gouge-eyed, skull-faced, shake-fingered, rattling things that sway from neck-chains in abandoned webbed closets, one of those things found on the desert all long and scattered like dice! He stood upright, because he could not bear to remain seated. Inside me now, he grasped his stomach, his head, inside my head is a--skull. One of those curved carapaces which holds my brain like an electrical jelly, one of those cracked shells with the holes in front like two holes shot through it by a double-barreled shotgun! With its grottoes and caverns of bone, its revetments and placements for my flesh, my smelling, my seeing, my hearing, my thinking! A skull, encompassing my brain, allowing it exit through its brittle windows to see the outside world!
Ray Bradbury (The October Country)
I find myself in a dark hallway. At the end of the hall is a door, slightly open with white light spilling around its edges. The hall is full of galoshes and rain coats. I walk slowly and silently to the door and carefully look in to the next room. Morning light fills up the room and is painful at first, but as my eyes adjust I see that in the room is a plain wooden table next to a window. A woman sits at the table facing the window. A teacup sits at her elbow. Outside is the lake, the waves rush up the shore and recede with calming repetition which becomes like stillness after a few minutes. The woman is extremely still. Something about her is familiar. She is an old woman; her hair is perfectly white and lies long on her back in a thin stream, over a slight dowager's hump. She wears a sweater the colour of coral. The curve of her shoulders, the stiffness in her posture says her is someone who is very tired, and I am very tired, myself. I shift my weight from one foot to the other and the floor creaks; the woman turns and sees me and her face is remade in to joy. I am suddenly amazed; this is Clare, Clare old! and she is coming to me, so slowly, and I take her in to my arms.
Audrey Niffenegger (The Time Traveler's Wife)
My dwelling was small, and I could hardly entertain an echo in it; but it seemed larger for being a single apartment and remote from neighbors. All the attractions of a house were concentrated in one room; it was kitchen, chamber, parlor, and keeping-room; and whatever satisfaction parent or child, master or servant, derive from living in a house, I enjoyed it all. Cato says, the master of a family (patremfamilias) must have in his rustic villa "cellam oleariam, vinariam, dolia multa, uti lubeat caritatem expectare, et rei, et virtuti, et gloriae erit," that is, "an oil and wine cellar, many casks, so that it may be pleasant to expect hard times; it will be for his advantage, and virtue, and glory." I had in my cellar a firkin of potatoes, about two quarts of peas with the weevil in them, and on my shelf a little rice, a jug of molasses, and of rye and Indian meal a peck each. I sometimes dream of a larger and more populous house, standing in a golden age, of enduring materials, and without gingerbread work, which shall still consist of only one room, a vast, rude, substantial, primitive hall, without ceiling or plastering, with bare rafters and purlins supporting a sort of lower heaven over one's head—useful to keep off rain and snow, where the king and queen posts stand out to receive your homage, when you have done reverence to the prostrate Saturn of an older dynasty on stepping over the sill; a cavernous house, wherein you must reach up a torch upon a pole to see the roof; where some may live in the fireplace, some in the recess of a window, and some on settles, some at one end of the hall, some at another, and some aloft on rafters with the spiders, if they choose; a house which you have got into when you have opened the outside door, and the ceremony is over; where the weary traveller may wash, and eat, and converse, and sleep, without further journey; such a shelter as you would be glad to reach in a tempestuous night, containing all the essentials of a house, and nothing for house-keeping; where you can see all the treasures of the house at one view, and everything hangs upon its peg, that a man should use; at once kitchen, pantry, parlor, chamber, storehouse, and garret; where you can see so necessary a thing, as a barrel or a ladder, so convenient a thing as a cupboard, and hear the pot boil, and pay your respects to the fire that cooks your dinner, and the oven that bakes your bread, and the necessary furniture and utensils are the chief ornaments; where the washing is not put out, nor the fire, nor the mistress, and perhaps you are sometimes requested to move from off the trap-door, when the cook would descend into the cellar, and so learn whether the ground is solid or hollow beneath you without stamping. A house whose inside is as open and manifest as a bird's nest, and you cannot go in at the front door and out at the back without seeing some of its inhabitants; where to be a guest is to be presented with the freedom of the house, and not to be carefully excluded from seven eighths of it, shut up in a particular cell, and told to make yourself at home there—in solitary confinement. Nowadays the host does not admit you to his hearth, but has got the mason to build one for yourself somewhere in his alley, and hospitality is the art of keeping you at the greatest distance. There is as much secrecy about the cooking as if he had a design to poison you. I am aware that I have been on many a man's premises, and might have been legally ordered off, but I am not aware that I have been in many men's houses. I might visit in my old clothes a king and queen who lived simply in such a house as I have described, if I were going their way; but backing out of a modern palace will be all that I shall desire to learn, if ever I am caught in one.
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
Right now he needed to concentrate on keeping himself under control. Inside, his gut churned. There was a war going on. The joy of holding his son again clashed with the waves of anger that rose higher and higher with each passing moment. He thought he had known why Pete had arrived at the farm. He had pushed the fork into the soil and watched the earth turn over sure that the truth of their tragedy was about to be laid before them. He had watched the dry earth give up the rich brown soil and wanted to stay there forever in the cold garden just watching his fork move the earth. He had not wanted to hear what Pete had to say. And now this..this..What did you call this? A miracle? What else could it be? But this miracle was tainted. He was not holding the same boy he had taken to the Easter Show. This thin child with shaved hair was not the Lockie he knew. Someone had taken that child. They had taken his child and he could feel by the weight of him they had starved him. Someone had done this to him. They had done this and god knew what else. Doug walked slowly into the house, trying to find the right way to break the news to Sarah. She was lying down in the bedroom again. These days she spent more time there than anywhere else. Doug walked slowly through the house to the main bedroom at the back. It was the only room in the house whose curtains were permanently closed. How damaged was his child? Would he ever be the same boy they had taken up to the Show ? What had been done to him? Dear God, what had been done to him? His ribs stuck out even under the jumper he was wearing. It was not his jumper. He had been dressed in shorts and a T-shirt, perfect for the warm day. He had a cap with a Bulldogs logo. What could have happened to his clothes? How long had he had the jumper?Doug bit his lip. First things first. He opened the bedroom door cautiously and looked into the gloom. Sarah was on her back. Her mouth was slightly open. She was fast asleep. The room smelled musty with the heater on. Sarah slept tightly wrapped in her covers. Doug swallowed. He wanted to run into the room whooping and shouting that Lockie was home but Sarah was so fragile he had no idea how she would react. He walked over to the window and opened the curtains. Outside it was getting dark already but enough light entered the room to wake Sarah up. She moaned and opened her eyes. ‘Oh god, Doug, please just close them. I’m so tired.’ Doug sat down on the bed and Sarah turned her back to him. She had not looked at him. Lockie opened his eyes and looked around the room. ‘Ready to say hello to Mum, mate?’ Doug asked. ‘Hi, Mum,’ said Lockie to his mother’s back. His voice had changed. It was deeper and had an edge to it. He sounded older. He sounded like someone who had seen too much. But Sarah would know it was her boy. Doug saw Sarah’s whole body tense at the sound of Lockie’s voice and then she reached her arm behind her and twisted the skin on her back with such force Doug knew she would have left a mark. ‘It’s not a dream, Sarah,’ he said quietly. ‘He’s home.’ Sarah sat up, her eyes wide. ‘Hi, Mum,’ said Lockie again. ‘Hello, my boy,’ said Sarah softly. Softly, as though he hadn’t been missing for four months. Softly, as though he had just been away for a day. Softly, as though she hadn’t been trying to die slowly. Softly she said, ‘Hello, my boy.’ Doug could see her chest heaving. ‘We’ve been looking for you,’ she said, and then she held out her arms. Lockie climbed off Doug’s lap and onto his mother’s legs. She wrapped her arms around him and pushed her nose into his neck, finding his scent and identifying her child. Lockie buried his head against her breasts and then he began to cry. Just soft little sobs that were soon matched by his mother’s tears. Doug wanted them to stop but tears were good. He would have to get used to tears.
Nicole Trope (The Boy Under the Table)
M. Vinteuil...carried politeness and consideration for others to such scrupulous lengths, always putting himself in their place, that he was afraid of boring them, or of appearing egotistical, if he carried out or even allowed them to suspect what were his own desires. On the day when my parents had gone to pay him a visit, I had accompanied them, but they had allowed me to remain outside, and as M. Vinteuil's house, Montjouvain, stood at the foot of a bushy hillock where I went to hide, I had found myself on a level with his drawing-room, upstairs, and only a few feet away from its window. When the servant came in to tell him that my parents had arrived, I had seen M. Vinteuil hurriedly place a sheet of music in a prominent position on the piano. But as soon as they entered the room he had snatched it away and put it in a corner. He was afraid, no doubt, of letting them suppose that he was glad to see them only because it gave him a chance of playing them some of his compositions. And every time that my mother, in the course of her visit, had returned to the subject he had hurriedly protested: 'I can't think who put that on the piano; it's not the proper place for it at all,' and had turned the conversation aside to other topics, precisely because they were of less interest to himself.
Marcel Proust (Du côté de chez Swann (À la recherche du temps perdu, #1))
Proper procedure for invading a house is to take a four-man team and “stack” it outside the door. That means the men are essentially in a line--numbered on through four. Number four comes around to check that no one has booby-trapped the house. He nods to number one. Number one then leans back on number two, number two leans back on number three, number three then pushes back forward on number two, number two pushes back on number one, number one nods to number four, and number four kicks in the door. Number one runs in, followed by two, three, and four. Everyone makes sure that the room is clear and then everyone stacks back in place for the next door. This is the way you move strategically and stealthily through the house until all is secure and any targets are apprehended. We arrived at our target house and Jerry was all fired up to knock in the door. We are all stacked up and I was number one, so I was the point man and Jerry was number four so he was the door kicker. We were all ready to roll until all of a sudden I saw something and held my hand up to motion, STOP! Then I put my finger next to my mouth and motioned for everyone to shush. There was a broken window in the door. I reached in through the jagged, broken glass and without making a sound I turned the knob. I just opened the door. I could see the look on Jerry’s crestfallen face. I had ruined Jerry’s moment.
Noah Galloway (Living with No Excuses: The Remarkable Rebirth of an American Soldier)
In Amsterdam, I took a room in a small hotel located in the Jordann District and after lunch in a café went for a walk in the western parts of the city. In Flaubert’s Alexandria, the exotic had collected around camels, Arabs peacefully fishing and guttural cries. Modern Amsterdam provided different but analogous examples: buildings with elongated pale-pink bricks stuck together with curiously white mortar, long rows of narrow apartment blocks from the early twentieth century, with large ground-floor windows, bicycles parked outside every house, street furniture displaying a certain demographic scruffiness, an absence of ostentatious buildings, straight streets interspersed with small parks…..In one street lines with uniform apartment buildings, I stopped by a red front door and felt an intense longing to spend the rest of my life there. Above me, on the second floor, I could see an apartment with three large windows and no curtains. The walls were painted white and decorated with a single large painting covered with small blue and red dots. There was an oaken desk against a wall, a large bookshelf and an armchair. I wanted the life that this space implied. I wanted a bicycle; I wanted to put my key in that red front door every evening. Why be seduced by something as small as a front door in another country? Why fall in love with a place because it has trams and its people seldom have curtains in their homes? However absurd the intense reactions provoked by such small (and mute) foreign elements my seem, the pattern is at least familiar from our personal lives. My love for the apartment building was based on what I perceived to be its modesty. The building was comfortable but not grand. It suggested a society attracted to the financial mean. There was an honesty in its design. Whereas front doorways in London are prone to ape the look of classical temples, in Amsterdam they accept their status, avoiding pillars and plaster in favor of neat, undecorated brick. The building was modern in the best sense, speaking of order, cleanliness, and light. In the more fugitive, trivial associations of the word exotic, the charm of a foreign place arises from the simple idea of novelty and change-from finding camels where at home there are horses, for example, or unadorned apartment buildings where at home there are pillared ones. But there may be a more profound pleasure as well: we may value foreign elements not only because they are new but because they seem to accord more faithfully with our identity and commitments than anything our homeland can provide. And so it was with my enthusiasms in Amsterdam, which were connected to my dissatisfactions with my own country, including its lack of modernity and aesthetic simplicity, its resistance to urban life and its net-curtained mentality. What we find exotic abroad may be what we hunger for in vain at home.
Alain de Botton (The Art of Travel)
I don’t think we can separate the art from the artist, nor should we need to. I think we can look at a piece of art as the transformed or redeemed aspect of an artist, and marvel at the miraculous journey that the work of art has taken to arrive at the better part of the artist’s nature. Perhaps beauty can be measured by the distance it has travelled to come into being. That bad people make good art is a cause for hope. To be human is to transgress, of that we can be sure, yet we all have the opportunity for redemption, to rise above the more lamentable parts of our nature, to do good in spite of ourselves, to make beauty from the unbeautiful, and to have the courage to present our better selves to the world. The moon is high and yellow in the sky outside my window. It is a display of sublime beauty. It is also a cry for mercy — that this world is worth saving. Mostly, though, it is a defiant articulation of hope that, despite the state of the world, the moon continues to shine. Hope too resides in a gesture of kindness from one broken individual to another or, indeed, we can find it in a work of art that comes from the hand of a wrongdoer. These expressions of transcendence, of betterment, remind us that there is good in most things, rarely only evil. Once we awaken to this fact, we begin to see goodness everywhere, and this can go some way in setting right the current narrative that humans are shit and the world is fucked.
Nick Cave
Andreevich. “Don’t be angry with me, Misha. It’s stuffy in here, and hot outside. I don’t have enough air.” “You can see the vent window on the floor is open. Forgive us for smoking. We always forget that we shouldn’t smoke in your presence. Is it my fault that it’s arranged so stupidly here? Find me another room.” “Well, so I’m leaving, Gordosha. We’ve talked enough. I thank you for caring about me, dear comrades. It’s not a whimsy on my part. It’s an illness, sclerosis of the heart’s blood vessels. The walls of the heart muscle wear out, get thin, and one fine day can tear, burst. And I’m not forty yet. I’m not a drunkard, not a profligate.” “It’s too early to be singing at your funeral. Nonsense. You’ll live a long while yet.” “In our time the frequency of microscopic forms of cardiac hemorrhages has increased greatly. Not all of them are fatal. In some cases people survive. It’s the disease of our time. I think its causes are of a moral order. A constant, systematic dissembling is required of the vast majority of us. It’s impossible, without its affecting your health, to show yourself day after day contrary to what you feel, to lay yourself out for what you don’t love, to rejoice over what brings you misfortune. Our nervous system is not an empty sound, not a fiction. It’s a physical body made up of fibers. Our soul takes up room in space and sits inside us like the teeth in our mouth. It cannot be endlessly violated with impunity.
Boris Pasternak (Doctor Zhivago (Vintage International))
Dr. Syngmann: But someone must have made it all. Don't you think so, John? Pastor Jón: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and so on, said the late pastor Lens. Dr. Syngmann: Listen, John, how is it possible to love God? And what reason is there for doing so? To love, is that not the prelude to sleeping together, something connected with the genitals, at its best a marital tragedy among apes? It would be ridiculous. People are fond of their children, all right, but if someone said he was fond of God, wouldn't that be blasphemy? Pastor Jón once again utters that strange word 'it' and says: I accept it. Dr. Syngmann: What do you mean when you say you accept God? Did you consent to his creating the world? Do you think the world as good as all that, or something? This world! Or are you all that pleased with yourself? Pastor Jón: Have you noticed that the ewe that was bleating outside the window is now quiet? She has found her lamb. And I believe that the calf here in the homefield will pull through. Dr. Syngmann: I know as well as you do, John, that animals are perfect within their limits and that man is the lowest rung in the reverse-evolution of earthly life: one need only compare the pictures of an emperor and a dog to see that, or a farmer and the horse he rides. But I for my part refuse to accept it. Pastor Jón Prímus: To refuse to accept it - what is meant by that? Suicide or something? Dr. Syngmann: At this moment, when the alignment with a higher humanity is at hand, a chapter is at last beginning that can be taken seriously in the history of the earth. Epagogics provide the arguments to prove to the Creator that life is an entirely meaningless gimmick unless it is eternal. Pastor Jón: Who is to bell the cat? Dr. Syngmann: As regards epagogics, it is pleading a completely logical case. In six volumes I have proved my thesis with incontrovertible arguments; even juridically. But obviously it isn't enough to use cold reasoning. I take the liberty of appealing to this gifted Maker's honour. I ask Him - how could it ever occur to you to hand over the earth to demons? The only ideal over which demons can unite is to have a war. Why did you permit the demons of the earth to profess their love to you in services and prayers as if you were their God? Will you let honest men call you demiurge, you, the Creator of the world? Whose defeat is it, now that the demons of the earth have acquired a machine to wipe out all life? Whose defeat is it if you let life on earth die on your hands? Can the Maker of the heavens stoop so low as to let German philosophers give Him orders what to do? And finally - I am a creature you have created. And that's why I am here, just like you. Who has given you the right to wipe me out? Is justice ridiculous in your eyes? Cards on the table! (He mumbles to himself.) You are at least under an obligation to resurrect me!
Halldór Laxness (Under the Glacier)
The pause that followed was one she couldn’t interpret. Maybe he was pissed she was interfering? “I just want to make sure you’re okay.” “Do you do this with patients a lot?” “Yes,” she lied. “Havers know you’re checking his work?” “Did he even look at your veins?” Rehvenge’s laugh was low. “I would rather you had called for a different reason.” “I don’t understand,” she said tightly. “What? That someone might want to have something to do with you outside of work? You’re not blind. You’ve seen yourself in mirrors. And surely you know you’re smart, so it’s not all just pretty window dressing.” As far as she was concerned, he was speaking in a foreign language. “I don’t understand why you’re not taking care of yourself.” “Hmmm.” He laughed softly, and she felt the purr as well as heard it in her ear. “Oh…so maybe this is a pretense just so I can see you again.” “Look, the only reason I called was—” “Because you needed an excuse. You shut me down in the exam room, but really wanted to talk to me. So you called about my arm to get me on the phone. And now you have me.” That voice dropped even lower. “Do I get to pick what you do with me?” She stayed quiet. Until he said, “Hello?” “Are you finished? Or do you want to run around in circles a little longer, reading into what I’m doing here?” There was a beat of silence, and then he broke out in a rich baritone belly laugh. “I knew there was more than one reason I liked you.” -Ehlena & Rehv
J.R. Ward (Lover Avenged (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #7))
Lord Gareth?" He froze. It was she, staring out at him with an expression of astounded disbelief on her lovely face. Gareth was caught totally unprepared. He knew he must look like an arse because he certainly felt like one. But the comic ridiculousness of the situation suddenly hit him, and his lips began twitching uncontrollably. He gazed up at her with perfect innocence. "Hello, Juliet." A chorus of out-of-tune voices came up from below. "Romeo, O Romeo, wherefore art thou, Romeo?" Gareth flung his crop down at their heads. Cokeham let out a yelp, then fell to laughing. The girl's smooth, high brow pleated in a frown as she took in the scene. Perry down there with the horses. The other Den of Debauchery members all gathered below, beaming stupidly up at her. And Gareth, grinning, sprawled full-length along a tree branch just outside her window. "Just what on earth are you doing, Lord Gareth?" The way she said it made his cheeks warm with embarrassment. So he was a pillock. Who cared? Instead, he gave her his most devastating grin and said with cheerful earnestness, "Why, I have come to rescue you, of course." "Rescue me?" "Surely you didn't think I'd allow Lucien to banish you into obscurity, now, did you?" "Well, I —  The duke didn't ban—"  She gave a disbelieving little laugh and leaned out the window, grasping the blanket tightly at her breasts. Her hair, caught in a long, dark braid, swung tantalizingly out over her bosom. "Really, Lord Gareth. This is ... highly irregular!" "Yes, but the hour is late, and as it took me all day to find you, I was feeling rather impatient. I do hope you'll forgive me for resorting to such desperate measures. May I come in and talk?" "Of course not! I — I cannot have a man in my bedroom!" "Why not, my sweet?" He pushed aside a small, leafy twig in order to see her better and grinned cajolingly up at her. "I had you in mine." She shook her head, torn between what she wanted to do — and what she ought to do. "Really, Lord Gareth ... your brother will never approve of this. You should go home. After all, you're the son of a duke and I'm just a — " " — beautiful young woman with nowhere else to go. A beautiful young woman who should be a part of my family. Now, do collect Charlotte and your things, Miss Paige — I fear we must make haste, if we are to marry before Lucien catches up to us." "Marry?!" she cried, forgetting to whisper. He gazed at her in blank, perfect innocence. "Well, yes, of course," he said, clinging to the branch as it dropped another few inches. "Surely you don't think I'd be hanging out of a tree for anything less, do you?" "But —" "Come now."  He smiled disarmingly. "Surely, you must see there is really no other option for you. And I won't have my niece growing up without a father. What kind of a man do you think I am? Now, gather up Charlotte and get your things, my dear Miss Paige, and come outside. I am growing most uncomfortable." Juliet
Danelle Harmon (The Wild One (The de Montforte Brothers, #1))
Kate turned on her heel and walked out. Before she was halfway across the hall, though, Bunny had jumped up from the couch and come after her. “Are you saying we can’t see each other anymore?” she asked. “He’s just visiting me at my house! We’re not going out on dates or anything.” “The guy must be twenty years old,” Kate told her. “You don’t find anything wrong with that?” “So? I’m fifteen years old. A very mature fifteen.” “Don’t make me laugh,” Kate told her. “You’re just jealous,” Bunny said. She was following Kate through the dining room now. “Just because you have to settle for Pyoder—” “His name is Pyotr,” Kate said through her teeth. “You might as well learn to pronounce it right.” “Well, la-di-da to you, Miss Frilling-Your-rs. At least I didn’t have to rely on my father to find me a boyfriend.” By the time she was saying this, they had reached the kitchen. The two men glanced over at them, surprised. “Your daughter is a jerk,” Bunny told their father. “I beg your pardon?” “She is a snoopy, jealous, meddlesome jerk, and I refuse to—and now look!” Her attention had been snagged by something outside the window. The rest of them turned to see Edward slinking past with his shoulders hunched, veering beneath the redbud tree to cross to his own house. “I hope you’re satisfied,” Bunny told Kate. “Why is it,” Dr. Battista asked Pyotr, “that whenever I’m around women for any length of time, I end up asking, ‘What just happened here?’ ” “That is extremely sexist of you,” Pyotr said sternly. “Don’t blame me,” Dr. Battista said. “I base the observation purely on empirical evidence.
Anne Tyler (Vinegar Girl)
May 19th 2031_ Eleven months before_ I opened my eyes to see darkness and the sound of my alarm beeping. 0400 hours. I turned it off and got up. I looked for my glasses on my bedside cabinet and put them on. "Alexa, Good morning roll," I said loudly in the dark room. The lights came on and the curtains opened, the speaker turned on and started playing my Spotify playlist. I slowly got dressed and made myself breakfast. After breakfast, I downed a 500ml bottle of zero coke. I leaned to one side and burped. I looked around my kitchen. The dark marble counter and white cupboards, walls and ceiling matched with each other. I looked outside the kitchen window at the traffic down below. I was about 6 floors high, if you were to jump off from that high, there is a very high chance you might die. And if you were lucky to survive, you would be immobilised from your broken legs and hip and ribs. I turned around and sat on the black leathery sofa and switched on the TV. I looked on Netflix at old World War Two films that I could watch before bed. I scrolled through the list. From 'Dunkirk' to 'Unbroken' to a lot more films. I chose a couple and switched the TV onto the news. The reporter said that there was a knife crime in Redding earlier. I sighed but was relieved that it wasn't me. It is a low chance that I would get murdered by someone or people with knives in England but it's still a possibility. I turned the TV off and looked at my phone. There was nothing new on Discord and nothing new on WhatsApp. I checked my Snapchat and opened a few Snaps from my friends at work. I took a selfie of myself in my apartment not working. I sent it off and was happy that I don't work on
John Struckman (2032: The Beginning)
In spite of the cold I took a seat at one of the sidewalk tables. It felt like a slab of ice under my butt. I shivered,but stuck it out. "Hey, Loco Girl!" Shout out "Hey, Gorgeous!" or "Einstein," and I don't budge. But this one had me at "Loco." Go figure. I looked across the sidewalk to see Daniel's face, so much like Frankie's, framed in the window of his Jeep. I felt a sad little tug in my chest. "You are aware it's only forty degrees out there,aren't you?" he asked. I shrugged. "Meeting someone?" "No," I admitted. "Then get in.Your hands look like wax. It's seriously creepy." I looked down at the hand gripping the blindingly cheerful cup.He was right. He also got out to open the passenger's-side door for me. I was a little charmed, until he pointed at my partially eaten cheesesteak in its wilted paper wrapper. "You are not bringing that thing into my car. It's an abomination." I eyed the cigarette he'd dropped in the gutter. He did his teeth-baring thing. I tossed my cold meal in the trash, knowing I wouldn't have eaten it anyway. The inside of the Jeep wasn't all that much warmer than out. "Here." Daniel took off his black leather jacket and held it out for me. It was heavy and smelled a little bit like a burned cookie. It went on over my own coat; the sleeves went past my fingertips. "You look like frozen-" "Don't say it," I muttered as I settled into the battered seat. "You have no idea what I was going to say," he shot back, grinning. "Something rotten in the state of Marino?" "And you ask that because...?" "Really? It's four in the afternoon, and instead of being with Sadie and my brother or at home, eating something colorful, you're sitting outside by yourself here.Not exactly rocket science.
Melissa Jensen (The Fine Art of Truth or Dare)
Thunk. I jump back in alarm, my heart pounding against my ribs. And then I hear, “Jemma!” A loud whisper, coming from below. I open up the doors and step outside. Moving quickly to the railing, I lean against it and peer down to find Ryder standing there, staring up at me. He’s dressed in a suit and tie--the same charcoal suit he wore to the gala, with a narrow silver-blue tie. “What are you doing?” I call down to him. He drops a handful of pebbles, scattering them into the grass by his feet. “Shh! Can I come up?” I lower my voice to match his. “What’s wrong with the front door?” He eyes me with raised brows. “Really?” I picture my parents downstairs. Imagine what questions they’d ask, what gleeful conclusions they’d leap to at the sight of him here, asking to see me. I shake my head and reach a hand down toward him. “Here, can you climb?” There’s a vine-covered trellis against the house beside my balcony. If he can just get a foothold, he’s tall enough to swing himself up and over the railing. Which he does in less than two minutes. Pretty impressive, actually. Once he’s got both feet on the balcony, he casually brushes himself off. Somehow, he manages to look like he just stepped off the cover of GQ. I tip my head toward the window. “You wanna come in?” “You think it’s safe?” “Just let me go lock the door,” I say before hurrying back inside. And don’t think I’m not amused by the irony. Because unlike normal people, we’re not sneaking around to avoid being caught and punished. Nope. On the contrary, our parents would celebrate if they caught us in my bedroom together. I’m talking music and streamers and champagne toasts. As quietly as possible, I turn the key in the lock, listening for the click. Sorry, folks. No party tonight.
Kristi Cook (Magnolia (Magnolia Branch, #1))
Fully His I have been forgiven and set free from my sins. There was a boy who lived in a town on the seaside. He was a skilled and clever carver, and he carved himself a little wooden boat. When he put sails on it, it really sailed. One day, he took it down to the shore and was sailing it at the edge of the sea, but the tide changed and carried his boat out to sea, and he could not recover it. So, he went home without his boat. With the next change of the wind and tide, the boat came back again. A man walking along the seashore found the boat, picked it up, and saw it was a beautiful piece of work. He took it to a local shop and sold it. The shop owner cleaned it up and put it on display in his shop window with a price of thirty-five dollars. Some while later, the boy walked past the shop, looked in the window, and saw his boat with a price of thirty-five dollars. He knew, however, that he had no way to prove that it was his boat. If he wanted his boat, there was only one thing he could do: buy it back. He set to work, taking any job he could to earn the money to buy his boat. Once he earned the money, he walked into the shop and said, “I want to buy that boat.” He paid the money, and, when he got the boat in his hands, he walked outside and stopped on the sidewalk. He held the boat to his chest and said, “Now you’re mine. I made you and I bought you.” That is redemption. First, the Lord made us, but we were in Satan’s slave market. Then, He bought us. We are doubly His. Can you see how valuable you are to the Lord? Think of yourself as that boat for a moment. You may feel so inadequate, so worthless. You wonder whether God ever really cares. Just try to believe that you are that boat in the Lord’s arms and He is saying to you, “Now you’re Mine. I made you and I bought you. I own you; you’re fully Mine.”     Thank You,
Derek Prince (Declaring God's Word: A 365-Day Devotional)
Sam’s the man who’s come to chop us up to bits. No wonder I kicked him out. No wonder I changed the locks. If he cannot stop death, what good is he? ‘Open the door. Please. I’m so tired,’ he says. I look at the night that absorbed my life. How am I supposed to know what’s love, what’s fear? ‘If you’re Sam who am I?’ ‘I know who you are.’ ‘You do?’ ‘Yeah.’ ‘Who?’ Don’t say wife, I think. Don’t say mother. I put my face to the glass, but it’s dark. I don’t reflect. Sam and I watch each other through the window of the kitchen door. He coughs some more. ‘I want to come home,’ he says. ‘I want us to be okay. That’s it. Simple. I want to come home and be a family.’ ‘But I am not simple.’ My body’s coursing with secret genes and hormones and proteins. My body made eyeballs and I have no idea how. There’s nothing simple about eyeballs. My body made food to feed those eyeballs. How? And how can I not know or understand the things that happen inside my body? That seems very dangerous. There’s nothing simple here. I’m ruled by elixirs and compounds. I am a chemistry project conducted by a wild child. I am potentially explosive. Maybe I love Sam because hormones say I need a man to kill the coyotes at night, to bring my babies meat. But I don’t want caveman love. I want love that lives outside the body. I want love that lives. ‘In what ways are you not simple?’ I think of the women I collected upstairs. They’re inside me. And they are only a small fraction of the catalog. I think of molds, of the sea, the biodiversity of plankton. I think of my dad when he was a boy, when he was a tree bud. ‘It’s complicated,’ I say, and then the things I don’t say yet. Words aren’t going to be the best way here. How to explain something that’s coming into existence? ‘I get that now.’ His shoulders tremble some. They jerk. He coughs. I have infected him. ‘Sam.’ We see each other through the glass. We witness each other. That’s something, to be seen by another human, to be seen over all the years. That’s something, too. Love plus time. Love that’s movable, invisible as a liquid or gas, love that finds a way in. Love that leaks. ‘Unlock the door,’ he says. ‘I don’t want to love you because I’m scared.’ ‘So you imagine bad things about me. You imagine me doing things I’ve never done to get rid of me. Kick me out so you won’t have to worry about me leaving?’ ‘Yeah,’ I say. ‘Right.’ And I’m glad he gets that. Sam cocks his head the same way a coyote might, a coyote who’s been temporarily confused by a question of biology versus mortality. What’s the difference between living and imagining? What’s the difference between love and security? Coyotes are not moral. ‘Unlock the door?’ he asks. This family is an experiment, the biggest I’ve ever been part of, an experiment called: How do you let someone in? ‘Unlock the door,’ he says again. ‘Please.’ I release the lock. I open the door. That’s the best definition of love. Sam comes inside. He turns to shut the door, then stops himself. He stares out into the darkness where he came from. What does he think is out there? What does he know? Or is he scared I’ll kick him out again? That is scary. ‘What if we just left the door open?’ he asks. ‘Open.’ And more, more things I don’ts say about the bodies of women. ‘Yeah.’ ‘What about skunks?’ I mean burglars, gangs, evil. We both peer out into the dark, looking for thees scary things. We watch a long while. The night does nothing. ‘We could let them in if they want in,’ he says, but seems uncertain still. ‘Really?’ He draws the door open wider and we leave it that way, looking out at what we can’t see. Unguarded, unafraid, love and loved. We keep the door open as if there are no doors, no walls, no skin, no houses, no difference between us and all the things we think of as the night.
Samantha Hunt (The Dark Dark)
To be honest? I'd thought myself above them. What a nasty little counter-culture snob I was. There they were, doing their fucking best, trying to have a life, trying to bring up their children decently, struggling to make the payments on the little house, wondering where their youth had gone, where love had gone, what was to become of them and all I could do was be a snotty, judgmental cow. But it was no good. I couldn't be like them. I'd seen too much, done too much that was outside anything they knew. I wasn't better than them, but I was different. We had no point of contact other than work. Even then, they disapproved of my attitude, my ways of dealing with the clients. Many's the time I'd ground my teeth as Andrea or Fran had taken the piss out of some hapless, useless, illiterate get they were assigned to; being funny at the expense of their stupidity, their complete inability to deal with straight society. Sure, I knew it was partly a defence mechanism; they did it because it was laugh or scream, and we were always told it wasn't good to let the clients get too close. But all too often - not always, but enough times to make me seethe with irritation - there was an ingrained, self-serving elitism in there too. Who'd see it better than me? They sealed themselves up in their white-collar world like chrysalides and waited for some kind of reward for being good girls and boys, for playing the game, being a bit of a cut above the messy rest - a reward that didn't exist, would never come and that they would only realise was a lie when it was far too late. Now I would be one of the Others, the clients, the ones who stood outside in the cold and, shivering, looked in at the lighted windows of reason and middle-class respectability. I would be another colossal fuck-up, another dinner party story. But my sin was all the greater because I'd wilfully defected from the right side to the hopelessly, eternally wrong side. I was not only a screw-up, I was a traitor.
Joolz Denby (Wild Thing)
These days I try to tell myself that what I feel is not very important. I’ve read this in several books now: what I feel is important but not the center of everything. Maybe I do see this, but I do not believe it deeply enough to act on it. I would like to believe it more deeply. What a relief it that would be. I wouldn’t have to think about what I felt all the time, and try to control it, with all its complications and all its consequences. I wouldn’t have to try to feel better all the time. In fact, if I didn’t believe what I felt was so important, I probably wouldn’t even feel so bad, and it wouldn’t be so hard to feel better. I wouldn’t have to say, oh, I feel so awful, this is like the end for me here, in this dark living room late at night, with the dark street corner outside under the street lights, I am so very alone, everyone else in the house asleep, there is no comfort anywhere, just me alone down here, I will never calm myself enough to sleep, never sleep, never be able to go on to the next day, I can’t possibly go on, I can’t live, even through the next minute. If I believed that what I felt was not the center of everything, then it wouldn’t be, but just one of many things, off to the side, and I would be able to see and pay attention to other things that were equally important, and in this way I would have some relief. But it is curious how you can see that an idea is absolutely true and correct and yet not believe it deeply enough to act on it. So I still act as though my feelings were the center of everything, and they still cause me to end up alone by the living-room window late at night. What is different, now, is that I have this idea: I have the idea that soon I will no longer believe my feelings are the center of everything. This is a real comfort to me, because if you despair of going on, but at the same time tell yourself that your despair may not be very important, then either you stop despairing or you still despair but at the same time begin to see how your despair, too, might move off to the side, one of many things.
Lydia Davis
It is said that, as he wandered the streets of the City, an ancient jackbird cycled three times above him, then came to rest upon Sam's shoulder, saying: "Are you not Maitreya, Lord of Light, for whom the world has waited, lo, these many years–he whose coming I prophesyed long ago in a poem?" "No, my name is Sam," he replied, "and I am about to depart the world, not enter into it Who are you?" "I am a bird who was once a poet. All morning have I flown, since the yawp of Garuda opened the day. I was flying about the ways of Heaven looking for Lord Rudra, hoping to befoul him with my droppings, when I felt the power of a weird come over the land. I have flown far, and I have seen many things, Lord of Light." "What things have you seen, bird who was a poet?" "I have seen an unlit pyre set at the end of the world, with fogs stirring all about it. I have seen the gods who come late hurrying across the snows and rushing through the upper airs, circling outside the dome. I have seen the players upon the ranga and the nepathya, rehearsing the Masque of Blood, for the wedding of Death and Destruction. I have seen the Lord Vayu raise up his hand and stop the winds that circle through Heaven. I have seen all-colored Mara atop the spire of the highest tower, and I have felt the power of the weird he lays–for I have seen the phantom cats troubled within the wood, then hurrying in this direction. I have seen the tears of a man and of a woman. I have heard the laughter of a goddess. I have seen a bright spear uplifted against the morning, and I have heard an oath spoken. I have seen the Lord of Light at last, of whom I wrote, long ago: Always dying, never dead; Ever ending, never ended; Loathed in darkness, Clothed in light, He comes, to end a world, As morning ends the night. These lines were writ By Morgan, free, Who shall, the day he dies, See this prophecy." The bird ruffled his feathers then and was still. "I am pleased, bird, that you have had a chance to see many things," said Sam, "and that within the fiction of your metaphor you have achieved a certain satisfaction. Unfortunately, poetic truth differs considerably from that which surrounds most of the business of life." "Hail, Lord of Light!" said the bird, and sprang into the air. As he rose, he was pierced through by an arrow shot from a nearby window by one who hated jackbirds. Sam hurried on.
Roger Zelazny (Lord of Light)
Lights like stars whirled past me from out of the darkness, and when I opened my eyes, I was lying on a bed covered in rich tapestry and piled high with pillows. The room was lit by candles in colossal iron holders that flickered on the walls. A great fire was ablaze in the hearth. I recognized the triptych of slender, arched windows, though I was seeing them for the first time from the inside. No longer empty, they were fitted with glass through which I could make out some of the stars that hovered over Whitby on a clear night. We were inside the abbey, though apparently outside time. The room was warm and the roof intact, and he was lying beside me. 'Every moment that has ever existed in time is still here, Mina- every thought, every memory, and every experience.' Now that I saw him in the candlelight, he was more beautiful than I had imagined. Skin marble white, paler than mine and glowing, and hair like the night sea's glossy waves. His face was long and angular with a strong brow, like the artist's renderings I had of the Arthurian knights. With his midnight blue wolf eyes, he stared at me, taking me in. "Who are you?" I asked, my voice timid and feeble. 'You and I have gone by many names. It does not matter what we call each other. What matters is that you remember. Do you remember, Mina?' His lips did not move, and yet I heard every word that he said, I wanted to ask a thousand questions, but one long and slender finger reached out and touched my lips. Locking eyes with me, he slid my nightdress from my shoulder. Shock waves rippled through my body as his finger followed the curve under my neck, dusting my chin, and slowly sliding to the other ear. Surely just one finger could not create this bedlam inside me. 'Ah, so you do remember.' My heart palpitated wildly, but I was not afraid. Something familiar about him prevented me from fearing him, though I had witnessed how dangerous he could be on the banks of the Thames when he had thrashed my attacker. "Yes, yes, I remember," I said. I would have said anything to keep his hand on me, to wallow in the wild energy he brought to my body, and to stare into the infinite violet blue of his eyes. Though I said nothing else, every nerve in my body begged him to keep touching me. 'What is your desire?' I did not have the audacity to say the words aloud, but this being knew me and knew my thoughts. Our eyes were locked, and our minds were linked. I felt connected to him in a way that I had not known with another person. We were not one, but we were in harmony, as if we were both parts of the same symphony.
Karen Essex (Dracula in Love)
The Mother’s Prayer for Its Daughter First, Lord: No tattoos. May neither the Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches. May she be Beautiful but not Damaged, for it’s the Damage that draws the creepy soccer coach’s eye, not the Beauty. When the Crystal Meth is offered, May she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half And stick with Beer. Guide her, protect her When crossing the street, stepping onto boats, swimming in the ocean, swimming in pools, walking near pools, standing on the subway platform, crossing 86th Street, stepping off of boats, using mall restrooms, getting on and off escalators, driving on country roads while arguing, leaning on large windows, walking in parking lots, riding Ferris wheels, roller-coasters, log flumes, or anything called “Hell Drop,” “Tower of Torture,” or “The Death Spiral Rock ‘N Zero G Roll featuring Aerosmith,” and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age. Lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance. Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes And not have to wear high heels. What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I’m asking You, because if I knew, I’d be doing it, Youdammit. May she play the Drums to the fiery rhythm of her Own Heart with the sinewy strength of her Own Arms, so she need Not Lie With Drummers. Grant her a Rough Patch from twelve to seventeen. Let her draw horses and be interested in Barbies for much too long, For Childhood is short—a Tiger Flower blooming Magenta for one day— And Adulthood is long and Dry-Humping in Cars will wait. O Lord, break the Internet forever, That she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers And the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed. And when she one day turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister, Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends, For I will not have that Shit. I will not have it. And should she choose to be a Mother one day, be my eyes, Lord, That I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 A.M., all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back. “My mother did this for me once,” she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby’s neck. “My mother did this for me.” And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a Mental Note to call me. And she will forget. But I’ll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes. Amen
Tina Fey (Bossypants)
Through the window we saw them, all three arm in arm, going toward the café. Rockets were going up in the square. "I'm going to sit here," Brett said. "I'll stay with you," Cohn said. "Oh, don't!" Brett said. "For God's sake, go off somewhere. Can't you see Jake and I want to talk?" "I didn't," Cohn said. "I thought I'd sit here because I felt a little tight." "What a hell of a reason for sitting with any one. If you're tight, go to bed. Go on to bed." "Was I rude enough to him?" Brett asked. Cohn was gone. "My God! I'm so sick of him!" "He doesn't add much to the gayety." "He depresses me so." "He's behaved very badly." "Damned badly. He had a chance to behave so well." "He's probably waiting just outside the door now." "Yes. He would. You know I do know how he feels. He can't believe it didn't mean anything." "I know." "Nobody else would behave as badly. Oh, I'm so sick of the whole thing. And Michael. Michael's been lovely, too." "It's been damned hard on Mike." "Yes. But he didn't need to be a swine." "Everybody behaves badly," I said. "Give them the proper chance." "You wouldn't behave badly." Brett looked at me. "I'd be as big an ass as Cohn," I said. "Darling, don't let's talk a lot of rot." "All right. Talk about anything you like." "Don't be difficult. You're the only person I've got, and I feel rather awful to-night." "You've got Mike." "Yes, Mike. Hasn't he been pretty?" "Well," I said, "it's been damned hard on Mike, having Cohn around and seeing him with you." “Don't I know it, darling? Please don't make me feel any worse than I do." Brett was nervous as I had never seen her before. She kept looking away from me and looking ahead at the wall. "Want to go for a walk?" "Yes. Come on." I corked up the Fundador bottle and gave it to the bartender. "Let's have one more drink of that," Brett said. "My nerves are rotten." We each drank a glass of the smooth amontillado brandy. "Come on," said Brett. As we came out the door I saw Cohn walk out from under the arcade. "He _was_ there," Brett said. "He can't be away from you." "Poor devil!" "I'm not sorry for him. I hate him, myself." "I hate him, too," she shivered. "I hate his damned suffering." We walked arm in arm down the side Street away from the crowd and the lights of the square. The street was dark and wet, and we walked along it to the fortifications at the edge of town. We passed wine-shops with light coming out from their doors onto the black, wet street, and sudden bursts of music. "Want to go in?" "No." We walked out across the wet grass and onto the stone wall of the fortifications. I spread a newspaper on the stone and Brett sat down.
Ernest Hemingway (The Sun Also Rises)
They came in to look. I watched them. Most people go through museums like they do Macy's: eyes sweeping the display, stopping only if something really grabs their attention. These two looked at everything. They both clearly liked the bicycle picture. Yup, Dutch, I decided. He was a few steps ahead when he got to my favorite painting there. Diana and the Moon. It was-surprise surprise-of Diana, framed by a big open window, the moon dominating the sky outside. She was perched on the windowsill, dressed in a gauzy wrap that could have been nightclothes or a nod to her goddess namesake. She looked beautiful, of course, and happy, but if you looked for more than a second, you could see that her smile had a teasing curve to it and one of her hands was actually wrapped around the outside frame. I thought she looked like she might swing her legs over the sill and jump, turning into a moth or owl or breath of wind even before she was completely out of the room. I thought she looked, too, like she was daring the viewer to come along. Or at least to try. The Dutch guy didn't say anything. He just reached out a hand. His girlfriend stepped in, folding herself into the circle of his outsretched arm. They stood like that, in front of the painting, for a full minute. Then he sneezed. She reached into her pocket and pulled out a tissue.He took in and, without letting go of her, did a surprisingly graceful one-handed blow. Then he crumpled the tissue and looked around for a trash can. There wasn't one in sight. She held out her free hand; he passed over the tissue, and she stuck it right back into her pocket. I wanted to be grossed out. Instead, I had the surprising thought that I really really wanted someone who would do that: put my used Kleenex in his pocket. It seemed like a declaration of something pretty big. Finally,they finished their examination of Diana and moved on.There wasn't much else, just the arrogant Willings and the overblown sunrise. They came over to examine the bronzes. She saw my book. "Excuse me. You know this artist?" Intimately just didn't seem as true anymore. "Pretty well," I answered. "He is famous here?" "Not very." "I like him." she said thoughtfully. "He has...oh, the word...personism?" "Personality?" I offered. "Yes!" she said, delighted. "Personality." She reached behind her without looking. Her boyfriend immediately twined his fingers with hers. They left, unfolding the map again as they went, she chattering cheerfully. I think she was telling him he had personality. They might as well have had exhibit information plaques on their backs: "COUPLE." CONTEMPORARY DUTCH. COURTESY OF THE ESTATE OF LOVE, FOR THE VIEWING PLEASURE (OR NOT) OF ANYONE AND EVERYONE.
Melissa Jensen (The Fine Art of Truth or Dare)
Nevaeh- I believe I am never going to go around with little dreams anymore, I will not have a contained mind; I am always going to be positive if I can, and dream big. Knowing that it all can, and will be coming true if only I believe that it will. I know that I should never get stuck in a rut, for the reason that I do not know the whole plan that has been set for me. When you think like this, you can, and will break forth; this is when you will see an increase and praise. I hope that all our dreams come true, and we can all start anew. I hope that we can think, all our choices. Now I am hoping that I can let you know that, you have an angel too. I hope that everything is going to work out for you. The angels will save you and me, in times that we are on our knees. I hope the tower and its clans will forever let me be. I hope that everything will be understood so all of you can see. (About six months back) Nevaeh- The night that I was saved differently, I am only sixteen but the time is right. I could not stand living here another day or night, in ‘The Land of Many Steeples’ in the house of lost and lonely dreams, it was time for me to spread my wings and fly away from this land of misery. The day finally came and he saved me from the hell that is part of my existence. The boxy chariot with its small oblong taillights arrived near my doorstep. He greeted me with the presence of compassion. For I was looking down from the window, yes it was supposed to just be another date night. Yes, he arrived to sweep me off my feet once again and take me away. Hope was not very pleased with the onset of him being in my life… But there was nothing she could do. At last, I was content, and that is all that mattered. She would not let me go on my dates, so I waited around until it was night outside, and she was asleep! That is when I would sneak out, and get away for a while, with him. Yet I think I got pregnant on date number one, yet I am not sure. (Looking back) I remember all the dates; we would drive through the town at night, and do all kinds of wild things. Besides, look at the stars in the back of his ford bronco truck with a blanket at our spot, as the baby was asleep inside of me, this was about four months ago, or so. (The first days together as a couple.) Some of our dates started right after my school day, he would come and get me, and I would not come home until my curfew or not at all. We did not have much money, yet we always had fun just being together. Like this one time, we went kayaking in our swimsuits on the gently flowing river, and then afterward we had a picnic lunch, simple dates, but always fun. Yeah, that is right, we only had three normal dates before; I know I was indeed going to have a baby. Our craziness slowed down a lot after that fact, yet we still went out.
Marcel Ray Duriez (Nevaeh The Miracle)
As Frank promised, there was no other public explosion. Still. The multiple times when she came home to find him idle again, just sitting on the sofa staring at the rug, were unnerving. She tried; she really tried. But every bit of housework—however minor—was hers: his clothes scattered on the floor, food-encrusted dishes in the sink, ketchup bottles left open, beard hair in the drain, waterlogged towels bunched on bathroom tiles. Lily could go on and on. And did. Complaints grew into one-sided arguments, since he wouldn’t engage. “Where were you?” “Just out.” “Out where?” “Down the street.” Bar? Barbershop? Pool hall. He certainly wasn’t sitting in the park. “Frank, could you rinse the milk bottles before you put them on the stoop?” “Sorry. I’ll do it now.” “Too late. I’ve done it already. You know, I can’t do everything.” “Nobody can.” “But you can do something, can’t you?” “Lily, please. I’ll do anything you want.” “What I want? This place is ours.” The fog of displeasure surrounding Lily thickened. Her resentment was justified by his clear indifference, along with his combination of need and irresponsibility. Their bed work, once so downright good to a young woman who had known no other, became a duty. On that snowy day when he asked to borrow all that money to take care of his sick sister in Georgia, Lily’s disgust fought with relief and lost. She picked up the dog tags he’d left on the bathroom sink and hid them away in a drawer next to her bankbook. Now the apartment was all hers to clean properly, put things where they belonged, and wake up knowing they’d not been moved or smashed to pieces. The loneliness she felt before Frank walked her home from Wang’s cleaners began to dissolve and in its place a shiver of freedom, of earned solitude, of choosing the wall she wanted to break through, minus the burden of shouldering a tilted man. Unobstructed and undistracted, she could get serious and develop a plan to match her ambition and succeed. That was what her parents had taught her and what she had promised them: To choose, they insisted, and not ever be moved. Let no insult or slight knock her off her ground. Or, as her father was fond of misquoting, “Gather up your loins, daughter. You named Lillian Florence Jones after my mother. A tougher lady never lived. Find your talent and drive it.” The afternoon Frank left, Lily moved to the front window, startled to see heavy snowflakes powdering the street. She decided to shop right away in case the weather became an impediment. Once outside, she spotted a leather change purse on the sidewalk. Opening it she saw it was full of coins—mostly quarters and fifty-cent pieces. Immediately she wondered if anybody was watching her. Did the curtains across the street shift a little? The passengers in the car rolling by—did they see? Lily closed the purse and placed it on the porch post. When she returned with a shopping bag full of emergency food and supplies the purse was still there, though covered in a fluff of snow. Lily didn’t look around. Casually she scooped it up and dropped it into the groceries. Later, spread out on the side of the bed where Frank had slept, the coins, cold and bright, seemed a perfectly fair trade. In Frank Money’s empty space real money glittered. Who could mistake a sign that clear? Not Lillian Florence Jones.
Toni Morrison (Home)
Days like that I feel that my mind is going 1,000,000 miles an hour, visions of the past, present, and future race through my mind. It races, like a train as if I was looking out the window of the car while it is speeding down the line. I am on a track that will never end.' 'I feel that I am going to derail from this runaway train that I am becoming. I cannot sleep at night, because of the fear inside me.' 'I feel restless, depressed, and loveless as well as not content with myself. I would have to say that my passion for life is gone; my imagination is the only thing that keeps me going.' 'I write the day's events that have gone by in my book of life of all the pastimes, while dreaming of what could have been in it, and besides what has not been in it.' 'If this does not stop, I am going to crack. I look into my mirror, and I do not see me, I see an impression of what I used to be.' 'I see my long brown hair that covers part of my face and covers my blue eyes of emotion. I see the cross around my neck that brings me confidence.' 'I hide behind a smile; I see the body in which nobody thinks is without drought flawless.' 'The bare body that is touched in all ways, yet I tried to hide behind my makeup. I gasp at my pale skin and the look of my body.' 'I am 95 pounds, really tiny; surely there is someone that would find me attractive?' 'I wonder if I can find someone who can think for themselves. I want someone who will love me, for who I am- and not what they want me to be.' 'Most importantly, I need someone that will not use me. Is that too much to ask for?' 'Fear!' 'Anxiety is something that I have inside, it is the source of the things which lead to distress. Not finding someone that loves me, for who I am, is some of my fears.' 'I fear the fact that I am most likely going to be alone forever. Another being that everyone that has meaning in my life is fading away from me it seems.' 'I fear not having a family by my side at all times. I have tears about the overwhelming struggle to rebuild my reputation, which has been destroyed.' 'I ask this question if I was to die tomorrow would anybody come to my wake, to see me lying there?' 'I fear what society has done to me. I fear that I have no trust in anyone or anything. I fear that my life has no meaning.' 'I fear that I will never get out of this hell.' 'I just want to start my life and get a degree in nursing someday from- 'The Conemaugh School of Nursing,' if I can make it through all of this. I do not think that is too much to ask for or is it?' 'I think that if I could be left alone, with the one that I want. I could have a life; you know what I am sure of it. I fear that the towering entity will never collapse, and the demons will keep playing in my head. I fear that I will never have a social ability, to be part of the nobility of compatibility.' 'I fear that the terror will never stop in these innocent lives like mine, and they will not be saved. I fear that nobody will ever see my creativity or recognize me for the good in which I do for others. I feel like I am the only one left in this world, that I call my life.' 'All the beauty in life has been dejected, and it is all ablaze around me. Yes, I fear to be in the outside realm of things.' 'I want to scream yet no one is going to hear it. I ask- am I becoming institutionalized?
Marcel Ray Duriez (Walking the Halls (Nevaeh))
ESTABLISH STABLE ANCHORS OF ATTENTION Mindfulness meditation typically involves something known as an anchor of attention—a neutral reference point that helps support mental stability. An anchor might be the sensation of our breath coming in and out of the nostrils, or the rising and falling of our abdomen. When we become lost in thought during practice, we can return to our anchor, fixing our attention on the stimuli we’ve chosen. But anchors can also intensify trauma. The breath, for instance, is far from neutral for many survivors. It’s an area of the body that can hold tension related to a trauma and connect to overwhelming, life-threatening events. When Dylan paid attention to the rising and falling of his abdomen, he would be swamped with memories of mocking faces while walking down the hallway. Other times, feeling a constriction of his breath in the chest echoed a feeling of immobility, which was a traumatic reminder. For Dylan, the breath simply wasn’t a neutral anchor. As a remedy, we can encourage survivors to establish stabilizing anchors of attention. This means finding a focus of attention that supports one’s window of tolerance—creating stability in the nervous system as opposed to dysregulation. Each person’s anchor will vary: for some, it could be the sensations of their hands resting on their thighs, or their buttocks on the cushion. Other stabilizing anchors might include another sense altogether, such as hearing or sight. When Dylan and I worked together, it took a while until he could find a part of his body that didn’t make him more agitated. He eventually found that the sense of hearing was a neutral anchor of attention. At my office, he’d listen for the sound of the birds or the traffic outside, which he found to be stabilizing. “It’s subtle,” he said to me, opening his eyes and rubbing the back of his neck with his hand. “But it is a lot less charged. I’m not getting riled up the same way, which is a huge relief.” In sessions together, Dylan’s anchor was a spot he’d rest his attention on at the beginning of a session or a place to return to if he felt overwhelmed. If he practiced meditation at home—I’d recommended short periods if he could stay in his window of tolerance—he used hearing as an anchor, or “home base” as he called it. “I finally feel like I can access a kind of refuge,” he said quietly, placing his hand on his belly. “My body hasn’t felt safe in so long. It’s a relief to finally feel like I’m learning how to be in here.” Anchors of attention you can offer students and clients practicing mindfulness—besides the sensation of the breath in the abdomen or nostrils—include different physical sensations (feet, buttocks, back, hands) and other senses (seeing, smelling, hearing). One client of mine had a soft blanket that she would touch slowly as an anchor. Another used a candle. For some, walking meditation is a great way to develop more stable anchors of attention, such as the feeling of one’s feet on the ground—whatever supports stability and one’s window of tolerance. Experimentation is key. Using subtler anchors does come with benefits and drawbacks. One advantage to working with the breath is that it is dynamic and tends to hold our attention more easily. When we work with a sense that’s less tactile—hearing, for instance—we may be more prone to drifting off into distraction. The more tangible the anchor, the easier it is to return to it when attention wanders.
David A. Treleaven (Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness: Practices for Safe and Transformative Healing)
I can’t remember a specific time when the comments and the name-calling started, but one evening in November it all got much worse,’ she said. ‘My brother Tobias and me were doing our homework at the dining room table like we always did.’ ‘You’ve got a brother?’ She hesitated before nodding. ‘Papa was working late at the clinic in a friend’s back room – it was against the law for Jews to work as doctors. Mama was making supper in the kitchen, and I remember her cursing because she’d just burned her hand on the griddle. Tobias and me couldn’t stop laughing because Mama never swore.’ The memory of it made her mouth twitch in an almost-smile. Then someone banged on our front door. It was late – too late for social calling. Mama told us not to answer it. Everyone knew someone who’d had a knock on the door like that.’ ‘Who was it?’ ‘The police, usually. Sometimes Hitler’s soldiers. It was never for a good reason, and it never ended happily. We all dreaded it happening to us. So, Mama turned the lights out and put her hand over the dog’s nose.’ Esther, glancing sideways at me, explained: ‘We had a sausage dog called Gerta who barked at everything. ‘The knocking went on and they started shouting through the letter box, saying they’d burn the house down if we didn’t answer the door. Mama told us to hide under the table and went to speak to them. They wanted Papa. They said he’d been treating non-Jewish patients at the clinic and it had to stop. Mama told them he wasn’t here but they didn’t believe her and came in anyway. There were four of them in Nazi uniform, stomping through our house in their filthy great boots. Finding us hiding under the table, they decided to take Tobias as a substitute for Papa. ‘When your husband hands himself in, we’ll release the boy,’ was what they said. ‘It was cold outside – a freezing Austrian winter’s night – but they wouldn’t let Tobias fetch his coat. As soon as they laid hands on him, Mama started screaming. She let go of Gerta and grabbed Tobias – we both did – pulling on his arms, yelling that they couldn’t take him, that he’d done nothing wrong. Gerta was barking. I saw one of the men swing his boot at ther. She went flying across the room, hitting the mantelpiece. It was awful. She didn’t bark after that.’ It took a moment for the horror of what she was saying to sink in. ‘Don’t tell me any more if you don’t want to,’ I said gently. She stared straight ahead like she hadn’t heard me. ‘They took my brother anyway. He was ten years old. ‘We ran into the street after them, and it was chaos – like the end of the world or something. The whole town was fully of Nazi uniforms. There were broken windows, burning houses, people sobbing in the gutter. The synagogue at the end of our street was on fire. I was terrified. So terrified I couldn’t move. But Mum kept running. Shouting and yelling and running after my brother. I didn’t see what happened but I heard the gunshot.’ She stopped. Rubbed her face in her hands. ‘Afterwards they gave it a very pretty name: Kristallnacht – meaning “the night of broken glass”. But it was the night I lost my mother and my brother. I was sent away soon after as part of the Kindertransport, though Papa never got used to losing us all at once. Nor did I. That’s why he came to find me. He always promised he’d try.’ Anything I might’ve said stayed stuck in my throat. There weren’t words for it, not really. So I put my arm through Esther’s and we sat, gazing out to sea, two old enemies who were, at last, friends. She was right – it was her story to tell. And I could think of plenty who might benefit from hearing it.
Emma Carroll (Letters from the Lighthouse)
Once I was so frustrated by an unhealthy aspect of my personality that I knelt on the floor and begged God to change me as quickly as Jesus change the man ... After an hour, waiting, I rose from the floor, the same man as before ... Why wouldn't God heal me as quickly as Jesus did the man in the synagogue? ... The spiritual director pointed to a tree outside of his window, "See that tree? ... in the fall it will be red ... and no one sees it change (from green)" ... Conversion happens most often in a slow, deliberate, and mysterious way ... often you cannot see the change in yourself.
James Martin
the art of growing i felt beautiful until the age of twelve when my body began to ripen like new fruit and suddenly the men looked at my newborn hips with salivating lips the boys didn’t want to play tag at recess they wanted to touch all the new and unfamiliar parts of me the parts i didn’t know how to wear didn’t know how to carry and tried to bury in my rib cage boobs they said and i hated that word hated that i was embarrassed to say it that even though it was referring to my body it didn’t belong to me it belonged to them and they repeated it like they were meditating upon it boobs he said let me see yours there is nothing worth seeing here but guilt and shame i try to rot into the earth below my feet but i am still standing one foot across from his hooked fingers and when he charges to feast on my half moons i bite into his forearm and decide i hate this body i must have done something terrible to deserve it when i go home i tell my mother the men outside are starving she tells me i must not dress with my breasts hanging said the boys will get hungry if they see fruit says i should sit with my legs closed like a woman oughta or the men will get angry and fight said i can avoid all this trouble if i just learn to act like a lady but the problem is that doesn’t even make sense i can’t wrap my head around the fact that i have to convince half the world’s population my body is not their bed i am busy learning the consequences of womanhood when i should be learning science and math instead i like cartwheels and gymnastics so i can’t imagine walking around with my thighs pressed together like they’re hiding a secret as if the acceptance of my own body parts will invite thoughts of lust in their heads i will not subject myself to their ideology cause slut shaming is rape culture virgin praising is rape culture i am not a mannequin in the window of your favorite shop you can’t dress me up or throw me out when i am worn you are not a cannibal your actions are not my responsibility you will control yourself the next time i go to school and the boys hoot at my backside i push them down foot over their necks and defiantly say boobs and the look in their eyes is priceless
Rupi Kaur (the sun and her flowers)
I didn’t consciously fall asleep; it’s just that the chair was soft and comfortable, the room was dark and warm, and maybe it was the protection of those black eyes that reflected the blinking of the silly lights. Those eyes were not looking into the small darkness outside the double-paned windows; they were looking farther and to a place about which I did not know. There was nothing that would overtake us tonight that those eyes would not see, nothing that would not deal plainly with a king not in his perfect mind. I must have slept longer than I thought. I didn’t remember waking up, and maybe that’s what he had intended by starting to tell me the story while I was asleep. I remember hearing his voice, low and steady, coming from some place far away, “After the war. Her family were Basquos from out on Swayback, Four Brothers.” He paused to take another sip of his bourbon. “My gawd, you should have seen her. I remember lookin’ over the top of Charlie Floyde’s ’39 Dodge when she came out on the porch. Her hair was black and thick like a horse’s mane.” He stopped with the memory; the only other sound in Lucian’s apartment was the scorched-air heating. His two rooms weren’t any different from any of the others in general design, but they had all the style and mass of the Connally ancestral furnishings. I shifted my weight in the overstuffed horsehair chair and waited. “It was summertime, and she had on this little navy blue dress with all the little polka dots. The wind held it against her body.” It took him awhile to get going again. “She was the wildest, most beautiful thing I’d ever seen in my entire life. Hair, teeth . . . We sparked that whole summer before her father tried to break it up in the fall. They wanted to send her away to family, keep us from each other, but it was too late.” I looked at him, and the night in my head seemed darker. “We used to tremble when we touched each other. She had the most beautiful skin I’d ever seen. I would forget from night to night. She wasn’t like American girls; she was quiet. She’d speak if spoken to but only then. Short,
Craig Johnson (Death Without Company (Walt Longmire, #2))
Meeting people from all walks of life has taught me to look at all facets of an issue or problem. My views and opinions are never set in stone – a lesson I learnt in childhood, having experienced the realities of communism in Poland and then seeing the perceptions about it outside the country. Listening to a North Vietnamese soldier’s take on the war in Vietnam offers a very different perspective to the Hollywood version most of us grew up with. Based on such experiences, I have learnt to form my opinions based on interactions with many people with differing viewpoints. This has served me well in the boardroom. Respected leaders are those who have an open mind and can see matters from the perspective of a multitude of cultures. Although the internet provides a window onto the world that many believe renders travel unnecessary, it is not a substitute for real-life experiences, for actually interacting with people of different cultures and for learning to problem-solve on the spot. I have drawn many lessons from our travels that I have since translated and absorbed into my working life. Understanding different economies, policies and cultures helps one to think more globally. Global thinking is an essential skill for any business leader, as it is key to making sound business and investment decisions, domestically and internationally. Travelling the world, even for short periods of time with your family, is a valuable way to gain this skill.
Magda wierzycka (Magda: My Journey)
I’m watching the day through a breeze blown slice in my curtains, obscuring nothing but my hour, summer and wind making peace, moving the leaves in the trees standing guard by my window, nervous after my attempts, the sun stroking fronds but leaving others in shadows, seeing the movement of the branches but hearing nothing but the serene sound of cars beyond the garden, limbs waving to me as a bird perches, maybe scouting for a house, onto the bough scratching the glass, knocking to bring me out into contentment while tiny flies shoot in and out of view, their quick existence something I could argue as I smell the fresh air through the dour scent of a depression that hasn’t left my room in days, then swiftly feeling like I’m outside, alive and welcoming the wind to raise the hairs on my arms, a contrast that blossoms into hope.
Derek Owusu (That Reminds Me)
In those late fall months, I lived as if in a locked room. I could only look out the windows, catching fragmentary glimpses of life as I’d once enjoyed it, growing even more determined to find answers. Outside, my friends were meeting in the park, eating picnic lunches in sweaters as their children poked one another with sticks, or hailing taxis in a sudden downpour, giving the stranger at a party a second, hungry look. Inside, it was dark and stuffy, and I labored to survive an illness no one could see. In this way the undiagnosed suffer, doubly alone. At
Meghan O'Rourke (The Invisible Kingdom: Reimagining Chronic Illness)
Come on now, I urged myself, looking at my reflection. Don’t let her ruin this, too. The sight of my red-rimmed eyes made me even more sad and I tried to force a smile, but then my dimples appeared, and they always made me look like her. Or at least back when she used to smile. I hated the way they reminded me of her. I covered them with my index fingers and turned my head sideways, trying to imagine myself without them, wishing I could smooth them out with a touch. If only it were that easy to erase something you didn’t want. I stood pinching the poisonous letter until my breath had calmed and my eyes stopped burning. Then I hurried back to my room and hid it at the bottom of my bag, where I wouldn’t have to think about it any longer. I hadn’t come all this way to keep living this nightmare. In bed, I curled up and tried to focus on the cool breeze that came in through the open window, carrying scents of unfamiliar blossoms and dry grass, and soon I drifted off to the pulsing lullaby of the Midwestern crickets. Ahead lay the road. And the whole world. Two I woke confused, dazzled by a beam of sunlight poking at my eye. Instinctively, I turned around and burrowed my face deeper into the pillow, before I remembered where I was and flew right up. I’m in America! Through the window I could see pastel suburbs and sprawling oak trees, topped by a beckoning blue sky. My head cleared in an instant and I wanted to run outside and explore. But Nathan was still asleep, so instead I padded into the living room and stretched out on the sofa, letting out a gratified exhale. I was free. My eyes drifted over to Nathan’s guitar. I picked it up and ran my fingers over the curved wood. Back home I had a cheap, second-hand acoustic which had served me well in learning the basics. I knew I wasn’t much of a guitarist, but I
Kaisa Winter (The Colours We See)
He found a middle-aged peasant — Antón Savélieff — sitting on a small eminence outside the village and reading a book of psalms. The peasant hardly knew how to spell in Old Slavonic, and often he would read a book from the last page, turning the pages backward; it was the process of reading which he liked most, and then a word would strike him, and its repetition pleased him. He was reading now a psalm of which each verse began with the word ’rejoice.’ ‘What are you reading?’ he was asked. ‘Well, father, I will tell you,’ was his reply. ‘Fourteen years ago the old prince came here. It was in the winter. I had just returned home, quite frozen. A snowstorm was raging. I had scarcely begun undressing when we heard a knock at the window: it was the elder, who was shouting, “Go to the prince! He wants you!” We all — my wife and our children — were thunder-stricken. “What can he want of you?” my wife cried in alarm. I signed myself with the cross and went; the snowstorm almost blinded me as I crossed the bridge. Well, it ended all right. The old prince was taking his afternoon sleep, and when he woke up he asked me if I knew plastering work, and only told me, “Come tomorrow to repair the plaster in that room.” So I went home quite happy, and when I came to the bridge I found my wife standing there. She had stood there all the time in the snowstorm, with the baby in her arms, waiting for me. “What has happened, Savélich?” she cried. “Well,” I said, “no harm; he only asked me to make some repairs,” That, father, was under the old prince. And now, the young prince came here the other day. I went to see him, and found him in the garden, at the tea table, in the shadow of the house; you, father, sat with him, and the elder of the canton, with his mayor’s chain upon his breast. “Will you have tea, Savélich?” he asks me. “Take a chair. Petr Grigórieff” — he says that to the old one — “give us one more chair.” And Petr Grigórieff — you know what a terror for us he was when he was the manager of the old prince — brought the chair, and we all sat round the tea table, talking, and he poured out tea for all of us. Well, now, father, the evening is so beautiful, the balm comes from the prairies, and I sit and read, “Rejoice! Rejoice!”’ This is what the abolition of serfdom meant for the peasants.
Pyotr Kropotkin (Memoirs of a Revolutionist)
My Seclusion Just like, I remember the- Fireflies at night, they all carry their- own light in flight. They fly higher and higher until they are out of sight. They are never in fear of the darkness because they carry their light. They constantly have hope, and it shines brightly. The firefly flies by, unlike me there are never shy. I am lying outside on the grounds a few feet from my home, yet I am still feeling all alone, listening to all the sounds of the night as they moan. I look at the full moon, knowing that I will be back in hell soon, seeing all the faces at lunch at noon. Wondering what is going to happen on my vacation in the upcoming summer in the months like in June. I lie on the cold hard ground outside looking up with the stars in the sky, remembering all the days flashing that have gone by, seeing all the faces that never even say hi, remembering the terror from the wandering eyes. (Right now) My head is pounding just like the thunder and lightning, the evil faces streaks crossed my face, with every bolt of lightning. This takes me back to when I was a little girl; I hope that the pink suspended feathers sweep them away in the white webs. So, I can have a sunny day on all these rainy days that seem to never end, I just do not have much to say. I am not safe anywhere… the voices haunt me as they do. However, I just have an overwhelming urge to cry, all night and watch movies by myself. Like, I have done, these last two years of my high school life. Is anything going to change? Why must I live like this? Why do I keep living? Why can I not just pass on? I look out my window, and sometimes it takes me back to when I was young. Some days I look out the window and the skies are scarlet, and that reminds me that I should be out doing things with people of my age. The summer has come and gone, and the school days have started with no one to see me, or even ask if I was alive. No one cares! Is the plan going to work? I have no idea at this point, yet I keep trying!
Marcel Ray Duriez (Nevaeh The Lusting Sapphire Blue Eyes)
Sometimes, I lean out my split-pane window that seems to be high off the ground, and I can hear the whistling wind stream through the leaves of the growth of trees, sometimes this reminds me about being in the garden and golden fields when my eyes are closed. But, when my eyes were open, I realized that it is just the wind rushing through the various hills and valleys of ‘The Land of Many Steeples.’ I do not know what it is… but there is just something about letting your hair blow in the breeze, which feels so amazing. I feel that it is just one of the amazing moments in time, which I have experienced. Oh, just the same can be said, about me standing in the rain, freely and naturally on a warm spring day, while I am filling the ground squish under my toes. Yes, likewise can be said for the winters when I come home from the hellhole, and see the fireplace with its warm glow, from outside the frost chilled arched windows of the tort section of the house that is part of the dwelling. ‘It is amazing also because I know that I will soon be warm and comfortable, and out of this uniform that labels me as one of them.’ In the wintertime, the snowdrifts, the pointed part of the roof along with the weathervane are covered in a blanket of white, ‘The Land of Many Steeples’ sparkles, and soft with an almost spooky light blue cast in the moonlight. The trees down the lane drip with ice like a crystal cave, but- yet we all carve a pathway down the road that leads to the hell and then back to the emptiness. Snow days are rare, but that does not matter to me either way because I cannot truly share it with anyone it seems, as you all know. So, would you be my friend if I asked you? Would you spend some time with me? Can I depend on you; I would be there for you! So, on any day in any weather condition, unless the fog is rising from the valley, I can see in the distance ‘The Land of Many Steeples’, a far cry from this country land, where the dwelling of lost and lonely dreams is upon. Then there are some days there are thunderstorms outside my window, and it takes me back to the past, like when I was in that dark room. I do not think anyone gets over their past, the past that haunts me, and a past that the tower uses against me. Yes, you can change your name. Change your hair, and change your style, but the words of slander will remain. The only thing I can do is find someone that does not care about what the words mean or say, or just plainly pray for it to all go away.
Marcel Ray Duriez (Nevaeh Struggle with Affections)
(Home) ‘This land is beautiful, but the people are horrible.’ The people took this beautiful land and raped it, and put up a bunch of ugly boxes, however, my home is in the Victorian-style and it is old and has a handcrafted personality. There is an ancient oak tree outside my window, sometimes I step out my window then onto the roof of the porch, and sit in the tree branch that hangs over, and watches all the stars as they appear to turn on and off. Yes, I have wished upon a shooting star, that things will change, and that the towers will be no more. Looking straight ahead, I can see all the lights that go on the horizon, some days the sunsets are blazing before the lights turn on. Then there are some days that the window is shut because it is cold windy while everything is chilled with the color of blue. (Frame of mind) My mood can change just like this and that it seems. Yes, just like all the summer turns into winter, and the winters turn into spring, and all of these thoughts running in my mind fall like the leaves through my brain, and they most likely do not mean a thing. I guess you could blame it on my ADD, ADHD, dyslexia, bipolar disorder, or OCD. I do not have any of these… I do not have anything wrong with me. But, if you are like one of the sisters or someone from my school, you would say my mood changes are because of my- STD’s, HIV, or being as they say GAY or BI, and LEZ-BO. They have also said, I am a pedophile and a child stocker, and I get moody if I do not get some from them. That is why I am so sober at times, or so they say. Whatever…! They also have said that I am a schizophrenic- psycho and that I could not even buy love. I would not try that anyways. I think that having money does not give you happiness; I am okay being a humble farm- girl, the guy that finds me… needs to be happy with that also. I am sure there are more things they say. However, those are just some of them that I can dredge up as of now, off the top of my head. They have murdered me and my life, in so many ways. So now, do you wonder as to why I am afraid of talking to people or even looking at them? You know you and they can try to destroy me, and my life. However, I do not have any of those listed either; none of these random arrangements of letters defines me as the person I truly am. (Sight) Looking out the windows, I can see the golden hayfields of ecstasy, I see the windmills that twist and tumble. I can see the abandoned railroad track that lies not far from my home. I can hear the cries of the swing as the wind gusts in spurts. But yet I am still in my room, but that is just okay with me. Because I know that there will someday soon be someone there for me. (Household) My room is a land of peace and tranquility without all the gloom, with a bed and a canopy overhead but still, I am not truly happy? There is nothing- like the sounds of the crickets speaking up often in the cool August night breeze. It is relaxing to me, however; it is a reminder to me of how the last glimmers of summer are ending. Besides the sounds slowly fade away, yes- I can hear this music from my bedroom window. It is just like in the spring the birds sing in the morning and leave in the cool gusts to come. It is just like the hummingbirds that flutter by, and then before I know it, all has changed; so, it seems by the time I walk out my bedroom door, to start my day. ‘Life goes in cycles of tunes it seems, and nature is its synchronization in its symphony you just have to listen.
Marcel Ray Duriez (Nevaeh The Lusting Sapphire Blue Eyes)
is the middle of the night. I am woken up by an enormous explosion. When I look out of the window I see my dad. He is coughing and choking and he is coming out of the garden shed. My name is Isabelle Bright and I am eleven. This is the moment I realise that my dad is not like other dads. My brother, Moz, rushes into the bedroom. 'What on earth was that?' he cries. He joins me at the window. My big sister, Alice, twin sister to Moz, stirs in her top bunk but doesn't bother to get up. 'It's just Dad,' she says, as if it happens every night. My brother and I try to make out what is going on in the moonlight outside. We can see Dad, calmer now, taking big, deep breaths with his hands on his knees.
Abigail Hornsea (Summer of Spies)
I keep this my dirty little secret for years, he was my true first, yet it was not the most romantic yet it was something, now looking back now how is the loser, it did it long before, yet it was with him so it was not cool, I never- ever said this to anyone, that he took me. Yet play around like that with a boy that was me, he wanted to know so I said okay. It was the first time seeing all that- you know, at least mine was real, and not like time two at a party. This thing is so high- I get sick of feeling so short at like four-foot, on top that I can see the world by looking down, and they are looking up at me, my mom and grandmother were all the same size also, if not shorter, or so they say. The car is old and dusty and looks like no one has been in it for years on the outside, it is just blacked and crusty, the only car other than the coal car behind the locomotive, and it too is rusted reddish orange. They used to have tripped over this thing and park it on the bridge, and you spent the night up in the stars, and so that is what we did on a big full moon night. In the big bed looking out the one side of all those old windows. The car and train sit here for there was a fire or something on that line, and this becomes the new home of the serving remanences about half a mile in, the train was going over and was near the end on the one said when the wind took it all down, and all the cars but one fall all the many feet to the ground below, yet it never steamed over again. There sits the old Pullman car. It's red and has black, with yellow writing on it, up till now I am not sure what it says. It was a custom car made just for spending the night on top of the linked- mountains. The train is all the same color for what I can make out, dating around the 1800s or so, that what my dad said anyway we and he were up here, oh so long ago. We both walked up to her and me on the left, tacking him on the right hand-woven tight. The grass tall the track worn, and feet sore, from the journey there. Over smaller yet high crossings that have known side rails. Inside you can see it is in touch, and all dark wood, I light one of the old lanterns, I thought down a towel, and we had juice pouches and P-P and J. Romantic- No! It’s all good, he tried. It wasn’t about that anyway. The bed is off to the back and looks like a five-star hotel room to us, there is a living room spot, where ass naked in the big old sofas… or next to it, we were playing house, and loving it. We were young but we feel- we were on the bed all night long. Looking out over… see the tree sway below. it was cold in the car, yet he keeps me warm, I was fogging up the windows, with my breath Moan it out in a sweet- yet sensual way, I was pressed upon it looking out as I was on top, he was looking up at me, yet I was looking out and at his eyes, at definite times. I even kissed the glass to leave something behind, I wonder if it’s still there, and my name is covered in the old wood, next to his.
Marcel Ray Duriez (Nevaeh They Call Out)
Yesterday morning, I felt the same way, I saw Madilyn in the corner with her hand wrapped around Ray and it pisses me off so much you have no idea. I wanted her arm wrapped around my waist, not his, or even the other way around; I don’t know what I want at this point. She was smiling and giggling about something stupid that he said like used to do with me, it makes me sick she is mine, I can stand it, him breathing on her and kissing her nick hell I thought she was gay. I am the one that wants to be nuzzled up against her. He was bending down to kiss her, and I so wanted to kick him dead in the ass hole. Payback is a b*tch, is not! She looks up and sees me, yet does she care at this point or am I dreaming yet another dream, that’s even more freaked than the last. She was looking at me with goo-goo eyes, yet kissing him, or was he kissing her? What is going on and what is going down. Then he takes my hand and drags him over to him, pushing other people out of the way, then makes both kiss him at the same freaking time- the same freaking time! What’s wrong with an asshole! Jenny was looking over our shoulder saying damn! Just what I always wanted a three-way with Ray and Madilyn in the hallway. I don’t know what is turning me on anymore. I see getaway and get off, and that is what they both said they were turning to do. And everyone in the hallway has that simple smile on their face, like- oh yeah. I search for my sunglasses in my purse to cover my crying eyes. I just said it was to keep the glare out of my eyes when I put them on. I look in the visor mirror, and I see Liv smiling at me. Like I knew she was going to cry, yet really, I wanted to see if my makeup was okay. I start to tune myself out. I don’t hear the phones going off. I can’t hear their laughter or chirpy voices. I can’t see the houses rushing by or the cars, I just close my eyes and fade away in my daydreams. Maybe I’ll tell her that I wish I was the girl I used to be, but at the same time, I know that I won’t dare. She would think I was crazy. They all would. Jenny might just say- ‘Okay if you feel that way, you can go back to flowing me around like my shadow. Go- to be with all the losers or the speed, and don’t think about coming back.’ I don’t want that either. It gets quiet, and I open my eyes, and I keep quiet, just looking out the window, as it steams up and I have to keep wiping it with my palm. The light outside is faint and soggy-looking like the sun is attempting to roll over the horizon of tree-covered hills and peeking into the valleys. The day is overcast like the sun is too lazy to get out of bed and wake itself up. The shadows are as piercing and jagged as needles. Like the shadow, I used to be wanting to be in the group of three girls following them around in awe. I watch buzzard, black crows, vultures circling the SUV like I am dead meat. It was a scary omen taunting me, from down below. I see all of the fifty or more taking off at the same time from power lines above, following me like a creepy shadow of death.
Marcel Ray Duriez (Nevaeh Dreaming of you Play with Me)
Yesterday morning, I felt the same way, I saw Madilyn in the corner with her hand wrapped around a ray and it pisses me off so much you have no idea. I wanted her arm wrapped around my waist, not his, or even the other way around; I don’t know what I want at this point. She was smiling and giggling about something stupid that he said like used to do with me, it makes me sick she is mine, I can stand it, him breathing on her and kissing her nick hell I thought she was gay. I am the one that wants to be nuzzled up against her. He was bending down to kiss her, and I so wanted to kick him dead in the ass hole. Payback is a b*tch, is not! She looks up and sees me, yet does she care at this point or am I dreaming yet another dream, that’s even more freaked than the last. She was looking at me with goo-goo eyes, yet kissing him, or was he kissing her? What is going on and what is going down. Then he takes my hand and drags him over to him, pushing other people out of the way, then makes both kiss him at the same freaking time- the same freaking time! What’s wrong with an asshole! Jenny was looking over our shoulder saying damn! Just what I always wanted a three-way with Ray and Madilyn in the hallway. I don’t know what is turning me on anymore. I see getaway and get off, and that is what they both said they were turning to do. And everyone in the hallway has that simple smile on their face, like- oh yeah. I search for my sunglasses in my purse to cover my crying eyes. I just said it was to keep the glare out of my eyes when I put them on. I look in the visor mirror, and I see Liv smiling at me. Like I knew she was going to cry, yet really, I wanted to see if my makeup was okay. I start to tune myself out. I don’t hear the phones going off. I can’t hear their laughter or chirpy voices. I can’t see the houses rushing by or the cars, I just close my eyes and fade away in my daydreams. Maybe I’ll tell her that I wish I was the girl I used to be, but at the same time, I know that I won’t dare. She would think I was crazy. They all would. Jenny might just say- ‘Okay if you feel that way, you can go back to flowing me around like my shadow. Go- to be with all the losers or the speed, and don’t think about coming back.’ I don’t want that either. It gets quiet, and I open my eyes, and I keep quiet, just looking out the window, as it steams up and I have to keep wiping it with my palm. The light outside is faint and soggy-looking like the sun is attempting to roll over the horizon of tree-covered hills and peeking into the valleys. The day is overcast like the sun is too lazy to get out of bed and wake itself up. The shadows are as piercing and jagged as needles. Like the shadow, I used to be wanting to be in the group of three girls following them around in awe. I watch buzzard, black crows, vultures circling the SUV like I am dead meat. It was a scary omen taunting me, from down below. I see all of the fifty or more taking off at the same time from power lines above, following me like a creepy shadow of death.
Marcel Ray Duriez (Nevaeh Dreaming of you Play with Me)
In essence, everything and everyone is made up of the same universal energy: you, me, the chair I’m sitting on, the trees and birds I can see outside my window, the guy from Amazon that just dropped off a package at my door and the package he delivered. Everything is connected, everything is part of this universal life force, everything is made up of the same stuff.
Saskia Lightstar (The Cancer Misfit: A Guide to Navigating Life After Treatment)
I crawled back to bed, knowing I was done for. Hours later, the phone in our room started ringing. It was George. He was not happy. "Room 312. Now!" he shouted. Bouldy got up. I tried to pull myself together, splashing my face with water and hauling on my shorts and flip flops. It was a lovely day outside, the sun was scorching hot and there wasn't a cloud in the sky, but it might as well have been a pissing wet morning in St Albans for all I cared. I felt sick to the pit of my stomach as we made the Walk of Death to Room 312, which I knew was Paul and Gus's room. When we walked in, I thought I'd arrived in downtown Baghdad. Water dripped from the ceiling. The board games were in pieces and all the plastic parts were scattered over the floor. The balcony window was wide open and I could see a bed upended by the pool outside.
Paul Merson (How Not to Be a Professional Footballer)
Saving Lives and Protecting Rights in Translation It is said that life and death are under the power of language. —Hélène Cixous, French author and philosopher Lifeline The phone rings, jolting me to attention. It’s almost midnight on a Friday night. I didn’t want to work the late shift, but the need for my work never sleeps. Most of the calls I get at this late hour are from emergency dispatchers for police, fire, and ambulance. They often consist of misdials, hang-ups, and other nonemergencies. I’ve been working since early this morning, and I’m just not in the mood tonight to hear someone complain about a neighbor’s television being turned up too loud. But someone has got to take the call. I pick up before it rings a second time. “Interpreter three nine four zero speaking, how may I help you?” The dispatcher wastes no time with pleasantries. “Find out what’s wrong,” he barks in English. He didn’t ask me to confirm the address, so I assume he must already have police officers headed to the scene. I ask the Spanish speaker how we can help. I wait for a response. Silence. I ask the question again. No answer, but I can hear that there’s someone on the line. We wait, but we don’t hear any response. It’s probably just another child playing with the phone, accidentally dialing 911. I imagine the little guy looking curiously at the phone and pressing the buttons, then staring at it as a voice comes out of the other end. This happens all the time. I turn up the volume on my headset, just in case it might help me pick up the scolding words of a parent in the background. Then suddenly, I hear a timid female voice speaking so quietly that I can barely make out the words. “Me va a matar,” she whispers. The tiny hairs on my arm stand up on end. I swiftly render her words into English: “He’s going to kill me.” Not missing a beat, the dispatcher asks, “Where is he now?” “Outside. I saw him through the window,” I state, after listening to the Spanish version. I’m trying to stay calm and focused, but the fear in the caller’s voice is not only contagious, but essential to the meaning I have to convey. For what seems like an eternity (but is probably just a few seconds), I hear only the beeps of the recorded line and the dispatcher clicking away at his keyboard. I feel impatient. He’s most likely looking to see how far the nearest police officer is from the scene. “Interpreter, find out where she is.
Nataly Kelly (Found in Translation: How Language Shapes Our Lives and Transforms the World)
The others climbed into the back of the truck with the pitchforks and the pinestraw, leaving Stacy all alone in the front with the man. She sat as close to the door as she could and held the handle tight in case she had to jump out or something. Suspiciously, she looked at the big paper bag on the seat between them. The man, still frowning, put the truck into gear. With a jolt, they started off. Before they had gone very far he slammed on the brakes, throwing them all forward. He doesn’t even have seatbelts, Stacy thought. But how can you think of dumb things like that when you’re about to die? “Sorry,” he said gruffly. “I forgot. I’ve got to make one stop before we go to the dairy barns.” Throwing the truck into reverse, he backed up a few yards to a narrow road that led into the woods. A small sign that read “Private! Closed to the Public” was posted by the side of the road. Oh dear, Stacy thought, we’re doomed now. How many times did Mom ever tell me never to get into a car with a stranger? And now I’ve gone and done that and here we are heading down an off-limits road into the woods. She had a cold chill, and this time it wasn’t from her wet clothes. They bounced down the rutted road. In the mirror outside her window, she could see the kids hanging on to the side of the truck for dear life. The arms of the low pines brushed the roof of the truck with a skeletal scraping down. At least they came to an opening. Before her Stacy could see rows and rows of vines. “Vineyards,” she whispered to herself. Suddenly, the man slammed on his brakes. The truck jarred to a stop. Without a word he threw open the door and climbed out. Now we’re in for it, thought Stacy. I just know he’s coming around this side to get me. She squeezed her eyes shut tight. Over the idling hum of the motor she could hear him walking. Then there was a squeal from the kids in the back of the truck. Oh, my goodness, she thought, squinching her eyes tighter and tighter until they hurt. What is he doing to them? In a moment he slung the door of the truck open. In spite of herself she turned and looked at him. He had a big grin on his face. And his shirt was covered with a big purple stain. Blood! “Your shirt,” she stuttered, pointing a quivery finger toward him. He laughed. “Juice,” he said. “Juice from the grapes.” Stacy sniffed. Sure enough it did smell like grape juice. She got up the nerve to look in the rearview mirror. The kid’s heads bobbed in the back. Slowly she ungripped her hand from the door handle. The man waved an arm towards the vineyards. “We grow grapes for wine here. It’s just another way to use the land like Mr. Vanderbilt thought you should.” Stacy just stared at his shirt again and said, “Oh.
Carole Marsh (The Mystery of Biltmore House (1) (Real Kids Real Places))
them. Outside the window: blackness. We were deep in the Hungarian countryside now. I could hardly even imagine what the landscape would look like outside the window. Forests? Plains? I pressed my face against the window. I couldn’t even see any stars. If it wasn’t for the occasional flicker from an isolated building, the train could be hurtling through space. We could be anywhere. We could be at the end of the world. Laura kicked off her boots and flopped down on one of the bunks. I sat opposite her and took my phone out of the front pocket of my backpack. The battery
Mark Edwards (Follow You Home)
we hit the tunnel that marks the end of the freeway and dumps out onto the Pacific Coast Highway. I cracked the window open. I always loved the feeling I got when I’d swing out of the tunnel and see and smell the ocean. We followed the PCH as it took us north to Malibu. It was hard for me to go back to the computer when I had the blue Pacific right outside my office window. I finally gave up, lowered the window all the way, and just rode.
Michael Connelly (The Brass Verdict (The Lincoln Lawyer, #2; Harry Bosch Universe, #18))
I get up and stare out at the place where I live. I’m right at the heart of Planet Normal. Its strangest resident maybe, but I don’t care about that. I like a place where dads go to work in the mornings and people grumble when the post is late. If Rattigan’s army of the undead is out there waiting for me, they’re well disguised. There are some clouds dotting the sky. Those high stately ones that look like ships sailing in from the west. There aren’t many of them, though, and the sun is already well into its stride. It’s going to be hot. Drift downstairs. Eat a nectarine straight from the fridge. Make tea. Eat something else, because we citizens of Planet Normal don’t get by on a single nectarine. I unlock my garden shed and open a window in there, because if it’s hot outside, the shed can get boiling. It’ll be too hot even with the window open, but I lock up all the same. I always do. I’d intended to shower and stuff, but I did all that last night and I’ve already let too much time drift by to do it all again now. Sharp means sharp, now, Griffiths. Apart from sniffing my wrists to make sure they don’t smell of the firing range, I do as little as I can. But I have to get dressed. That’s easy, normally. Select a bland, appropriate outfit from the array of bland, appropriate outfits I have in my wardrobe. I used to own almost nothing that wasn’t black, navy, tan, white, charcoal or a pink so muted that you might as well call it beige. I never thought those colours suited me particularly. I didn’t have an opinion on the subject. It was just a question of following the golden rule: observe what others do, then follow suit. A palette of muted classic colours seemed like the safest way to achieve the right effect. Since Kay turned fourteen or fifteen, however, she’s campaigned to get me to liven up my wardrobe. It’s still hardly vibrating with life. It still looks something like an exhibition of Next office wear, 2004‒10. All the same, I have options now that I wouldn’t have had a few years back. And today I’ll be seeing Dave Brydon. He’ll be seeing me. I want his eyes on me, and I want his eyes to be hungry ones, sexed up and passionate. I
Harry Bingham (Talking to the Dead (Fiona Griffiths, #1))
Shopping Dana Gioia I enter the temple of my people but do not pray. I pass the altars of the gods but do not kneel Or offer sacrifices proper to the season. Strolling the hushed aisles of the department store, I see visions shining under glass, Divinities of leather, gold, and porcelain, Shrines of cut crystal, stainless steel, and silicon. But I wander the arcades of abundance, Empty of desire, no credit to my people, Envying the acolytes their passionate faith. Blessed are the acquisitive, For theirs is the kingdom of commerce. Redeem me, gods of the mall and marketplace. Mercury, protector of cell phones and fax machines, Venus, patroness of bath and bedroom chains, Tantalus, guardian of the food court. Beguile me with the aromas of coffee, musk, and cinnamon. Surround me with delicately colored soaps and moisturizing creams. Comfort me with posters of children with perfect smiles And pouting teenage models clad in lingerie. I am not made of stone. Show me satins, linen, crepe de chine, and silk, Heaped like cumuli in the morning sky, As if all caravans and argosies ended in this parking lot To fill these stockrooms and loading docks. Sing me the hymns of no cash down and the installment plan, Of custom fit, remote control, and priced to move. Whisper the blessing of Egyptian cotton, polyester, and cashmere. Tell me in what department my desire shall be found. Because I would buy happiness if I could find it, Spend all that I possessed or could borrow. But what can I bring you from these sad emporia? Where in this splendid clutter Shall I discover the one true thing? Nothing to carry, I should stroll easily Among the crowded countertops and eager cashiers, Bypassing the sullen lines and footsore customers, Spending only my time, discounting all I see. Instead I look for you among the pressing crowds, But they know nothing of you, turning away, Carrying their brightly packaged burdens. There is no angel among the vending stalls and signage. Where are you, my fugitive? Without you There is nothing but the getting and the spending Of things that have a price. Why else have I stalked the leased arcades Searching the kiosks and the cash machines? Where are you, my errant soul and innermost companion? Are you outside amid the potted palm trees, Bumming a cigarette or joking with the guards, Or are you wandering the parking lot Lost among the rows of Subarus and Audis? Or is it you I catch a sudden glimpse of Smiling behind the greasy window of the bus As it disappears into the evening rush?
Vaddhaka Linn (The Buddha on Wall Street: What's Wrong with Capitalism and What We Can Do about It)
All the creatures seemed happy to be at the library. The Headless Horseman gave horsey rides and the kids lined up! Someone brought out a ball and played fetch with the Hound of the Baskervilles. Dracula told jokes. The giant gently picked up some kids and lifted them high in the air. Everyone was enjoying the fun. The characters didn’t seem so scary now! Virginia Creeper’s happy smile suddenly changed to a worried frown when she looked out the window and saw the seniors’ book club coming up the walk. “Oh my,” said Ms. Creeper, “I almost forgot. It’s time for the book club! They can’t see this! It will give the seniors such a fright.” “Go and tidy up while I stall them at the door!” the librarian told Miss Smith. Virginia Creeper blocked the impatient readers from entering while Miss Smith ran around in a tizzy. She picked up overturned chairs and straightened the book shelves. Outside, the seniors were getting grouchy, but inside, the kids and the characters had become too silly to notice. “Can I help?” Zack asked Miss Smith. She handed the Incredible Storybook to Zack. “Remember,” Miss Smith said, “we have to finish each story so that the characters will go back into the book. Read the last page of each tale, while I deal with this mess!” Zack opened up the book and quickly finished all the stories. One by one, the characters went back into the Incredible Storybook. The puzzled book club burst into the room just as Zack finished the last page. “Okay, class, it’s time to check out your books,” Miss Smith said. She guided the class toward the big front desk. Everyone thanked Virginia Creeper before marching down the library steps and heading back to school. With borrowed books under their arms, the children were looking forward to reading more about all the characters they had just met. Zack smiled and wondered what they would read tomorrow.
Alison McGhee (A Very Brave Witch)
She was standing there, naked as a Greek statue, when the door suddenly opened and a gust of cool night air raised goosebumps all over her body. “I forgot my hat,” Caleb announced flatly, but his amber eyes burned as they moved over Lily’s naked form. She covered both breasts with her arms and lifted one thigh in an attempt to hide herself. She was so angry that for a long moment she just stood there, staring and shivering. Then she snapped, “Get out.” “You should lock the doors at night, Lily,” Caleb reasoned, collecting his hat from the peg beside the door. “I could have been a client.” Lily was seething. “Believe me,” she ground out, “I’ll lock it the moment you step outside.” Caleb chuckled and walked around behind Lily for another perspective. She turned, of course, but she wasn’t quick enough. She watched in helpless fury as he tossed his hat onto the table and raised his hands to his hips. “You know, Lily,” he remarked easily, “if you don’t get on with that bath of yours, the water’s going to get cold.” “I’d be happy to finish my bath,” Lily hissed, “if only you’d leave!” He laughed, then caught her suddenly around the waist with his hands. He raised her out of the water, and she was trapped against his chest. “I want a good-bye kiss first,” he said. “You’ll be lucky if I don’t bite off your nose!” Lily spat. She prayed no one was passing by the window and seeing her naked body silhouetted against Caleb’s frame. “Will I?” He carried her across the room and tossed her onto the bed. Before
Linda Lael Miller (Lily and the Major (Orphan Train, #1))
Shhhhhh!" Bang! "Damn it, Chilcot, I said toss the pebble, not break the damned window!  Here, I'll do it." They had found her after checking every coaching inn on the London road in a desperate race to catch her before she reached the capital and was lost to them forever. The proprietor of this inn just outside Hounslow had confirmed their frantic queries. Yes, a pretty young woman with dark hair had taken a room for the night. Yes, she spoke with a strange accent. And yes, she had a baby with her. "Put her upstairs, Oi did," the garrulous landlord had said. "She wants an early start, so I gave 'er the east bedroom. Catches the mornin' sun, it does." But Gareth had no intention of waiting until morning to see Juliet. Now, standing in the muddy road beside the inn, he unearthed a piece of flint with his toe, picked it up, and flung it at the black square of the east-facing upstairs window. Nothing. "Throw it harder," urged Perry, standing a few feet away with his arms folded and the reins of both Crusader and his own mare in his hands. "Any harder and I'll break the damned thing." "Maybe you don't have the right window." "Maybe you ought to just do it the easy way and ask the bloody innkeeper to rouse her." "Yes, that would save time and trouble, Gareth. Why don't you do that?" Gareth leveled a hard stare at them all. His temper was short tonight. "Right. And just what do you think that's going to do to her reputation if I go knocking on the door at three-o'-bloody-clock in the morning asking after her, eh?" Chilcot shrugged. "As for her reputation, she's already ruined it herself, getting a bastard babe off your brother and all —" Without warning, Gareth's fist slammed into Chilcot's cheekbone and sent him sprawling in the mud. "'Sdeath, Gareth, you didn't have to take it so personally!" Chilcot cried, scowling and rubbing the side of his face. "She's family. Any slur upon her name and I will take it personally. Understand?" "Sorry," Chilcot muttered, sulking as he gingerly touched his cheek. "But you didn't have to thump me so damned hard." "Another remark like the last one and I'll thump you even harder. Now, stop whining before you wake everyone in town and word gets back to my damned brother." With
Danelle Harmon (The Wild One (The de Montforte Brothers, #1))
It was Terese’s turn now. I sat back and let her get ready. I remembered what Win had told me about her secret, about it being very bad. I felt nervous. My eyes darted about and that was when I saw something that made me pause. The white van. You get used to living this way after a while. On guard, I guess. You look around and you start to see patterns and you wonder. This was the third time I had spotted the same van. Or at least I thought it was the same van. It had been outside the hotel when we left. And more to the point, the last time I saw it, the traffic cop was asking it to move. Yet it was in the exact same place. I turned back to Terese. She saw the look on my face and said, “What?” “The white van may be following us.” I didn’t add, “Don’t look,” or any of that. Terese would know better. “What should we do?” she asked. I thought about it. Pieces started to fall into place. I hoped that I was wrong. For a moment I imagined that this could all be over in a matter of seconds. Ex-hubby Rick was driving the van, spying on us. I go over, I open the door, I rip him out of the front seat. I stood up and looked directly at the van’s driver-side window. No point in playing games if I was right. There was a reflection but I could still make out the unshaven face and, more to the point, the toothpick. It
Harlan Coben (Long Lost (Myron Bolitar, #9))
Steve drove us to the airstrip at the ranger station. One of the young rangers there immediately began to bend his ear about a wildlife issue. I took Robert off to pee on a bush before we had to get on the plane. It was just a tiny little prop plane and there would be no restroom until we got to Cairns. When we came back, all the general talk meant that there wasn’t much time left for us to say good-bye. Bindi pressed a note into Steve’s hand and said, “Don’t read this until we’re gone.” I gave Steve a big hug and a kiss. Then I kissed him again. I wanted to warn him to be careful about diving. It was my same old fear and discomfort with all his underwater adventures. A few days earlier, as Steve stepped off a dinghy, his boot had gotten tangled in a rope. “Watch out for that rope,” I said. He shot me a look that said, I’ve just caught forty-nine crocodiles in three weeks, and you’re thinking I’m going to fall over a rope? I laughed sheepishly. It seemed absurd to caution Steve about being careful. Steve was his usual enthusiastic self as we climbed into the plane. We knew we would see each other in less than two weeks. I would head back to the zoo, get some work done, and leave for Tasmania. Steve would do his filming trip. Then we would all be together again. We had arrived at a remarkable place in our relationship. Our trip to Lakefield had been one of the most special months of my entire life. The kids had a great time. We were all in the same place together, not only physically, but emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. We were all there. The pilot fired up the plane. Robert had a seat belt on and couldn’t see out the window. I couldn’t lift him up without unbuckling him, so he wasn’t able to see his daddy waving good-bye. But Bindi had a clear view of Steve, who had parked his Ute just outside the gable markers and was standing on top of it, legs wide apart, a big smile on his face, waving his hands over his head. I could see Bindi’s note in one of his hands. He had read it and was acknowledging it to Bindi. She waved frantically out the window. As the plane picked up speed, we swept past him and then we were into the sky.
Terri Irwin (Steve & Me)
Steve was his usual enthusiastic self as we climbed into the plane. We knew we would see each other in less than two weeks. I would head back to the zoo, get some work done, and leave for Tasmania. Steve would do his filming trip. Then we would all be together again. We had arrived at a remarkable place in our relationship. Our trip to Lakefield had been one of the most special months of my entire life. The kids had a great time. We were all in the same place together, not only physically, but emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. We were all there. The pilot fired up the plane. Robert had a seat belt on and couldn’t see out the window. I couldn’t lift him up without unbuckling him, so he wasn’t able to see his daddy waving good-bye. But Bindi had a clear view of Steve, who had parked his Ute just outside the gable markers and was standing on top of it, legs wide apart, a big smile on his face, waving his hands over his head. I could see Bindi’s note in one of his hands. He had read it and was acknowledging it to Bindi. She waved frantically out the window. As the plane picked up speed, we swept past him and then we were into the sky.
Terri Irwin (Steve & Me)
There’s just the Earth and me. Hungrily I stare at it—the faint dot of blue—tiny, infinitesimal, precious, vulnerable, even now receding beyond my eyes’ ability to see. It is my last anchor, my one and only point of connection, of familiarity, of sanity. Even so, a few more minutes, seconds, incalculable moments, and I begin to doubt if I’m looking at anything at all. And after what might be another quarter of an hour . . . “Good-bye, little Pale Blue Dot,” I whisper. But silently, stubbornly, I tell myself, This is not good-bye. No, I do not accept it. Somehow, I will come back. And then, I see it no more. The Earth has dissolved into the darkness, has been swallowed by the cosmic grandeur all around. Only Sol is outside the window, our Sun—and now it alone remains an anchor point of visual reference.
Vera Nazarian (Compete (The Atlantis Grail, #2))
As they moved on he was offered some STP, a powerful hallucinogenic which had become infamous after five thousand high-dosage tablets had been given away weeks earlier at the Summer Solstice Celebration in Golden Gate Park. The delayed onset of its effects meant a number of users had taken extra hits and ended up in hospital.302 Harrison declined the STP, but his response was seen as a snub. ‘I could see all the spotty youths,’ he recalled, ‘but I was seeing them from a twisted angle. It was like the manifestation of a scene from an Hieronymus Bosch painting, getting bigger and bigger, fish with heads, faces like vacuum cleaners coming out of shop doorways… They were handing me things – like a big Indian pipe with feathers on it, and books and incense – and trying to give me drugs. I remember saying to one guy: “No thanks, I don’t want it.” And then I heard his whining voice saying, “Hey, man – you put me down.” It was terrible. We walked quicker and quicker through the park and in the end we jumped in the limo, said, “Let’s get out of here,” and drove back to the airport.’303 The crowd began to grow hostile as they returned to the limousine, and those outside began rocking the vehicle as their faces pressed against the windows. The narrow escape increased Harrison’s resolve to move away from LSD. ‘That was the turning point for me – that’s when I went right off the whole drug cult and stopped taking the dreaded lysergic acid. I had some in a little bottle – it was liquid. I put it under a microscope, and it looked like bits of old rope. I thought that I couldn’t put that into my brain any more.
Joe Goodden (Riding So High: The Beatles and Drugs)
When we got to her doorway, she turned quickly and kissed my cheek. "Good night, Charlie. I'm glad you called me. I'll see you at the lab." She closed the door and I stood outside the building and looked at the light in her apartment window until it went out. There is no question about it now. I'm in love.
Daniel Keyes
Well, if he wants to be king, he’ll just plain have to get used to questions and toadies and all the rest of it,” I said. Remembering the conversation at dinner and wondering if I’d made an idiot of myself, I added crossly, “I don’t have any sympathy at all. In fact, I wish he hadn’t come up here. If he needed rest from the fatigue of taking over a kingdom, why couldn’t he go to that fabulous palace in Renselaeus? Or to Shevraeth, which I’ll just bet has an equally fabulous palace?” Nee sighed. “Is that a rhetorical or a real question?” “Real. And I don’t want to ask Bran because he’s so likely to hop out with my question when we’re all together and fry me with embarrassment,” I finished bitterly. She gave a sympathetic grin. “Well, I suspect it’s to present a united front, politically speaking. You haven’t been to Court, so you don’t quite comprehend how much you and your brother have become heroes--symbols--to the kingdom. Especially you, which is why there were some murmurs and speculations when you never came to the capital.” I shook my head. “Symbol for failure, maybe. We didn’t win--Shevraeth did.” She gave me an odd look midway between surprise and curiosity. “But to return to your question, Vidanric’s tendency to keep his own counsel ought to be reassuring as far as people hopping out with embarrassing words are concerned. If I were you--and I know it’s so much easier to give advice than to follow it--I’d sit down with him, when no one else is at hand, and talk it out.” Just the thought of seeking him out for a private talk made me shudder. “I’d rather walk down the mountain in shoes full of snails.” It was Nee’s turn to shudder. “Life! I’d rather do almost anything than that--” A “Ho!” outside the door interrupted her. Bran carelessly flung the tapestry aside and sauntered in. “There y’are, Nee. Come out on the balcony with me? It’s actually nice out, and we’ve got both moons up.” He extended his hand. Nee looked over at me as she slid her hand into his. “Want to come?” I looked at those clasped hands, then away. “No, thanks,” I said airily. “I think I’ll practice my fan, then read myself to sleep. Good night.” They went out, Bran’s hand sliding round her waist. The tapestry dropped into place on Nee’s soft laugh. I got up and moved to my window, staring out at the stars. It seemed an utter mystery to me how Bran and Nimiar enjoyed looking at each other. Touching each other. Even the practical Oria, I realized--the friend who told me once that things were more interesting than people--had freely admitted to liking flirting. How does that happen? I shook my head, thinking that it would never happen to me. Did I want it to? Suddenly I was restless and the castle was too confining. Within the space of a few breaths I had gotten rid of my civilized clothing and soft shoes and had pulled my worn, patched tunic, trousers, and tough old mocs from the trunk in the corner. I slipped out of my room and down the stair without anyone seeing me, and before the moons had traveled the space of a hand across the sky, I was riding along the silver-lit trails with the wind in my hair and the distant harps of the Hill Folk singing forlornly on the mountaintops.
Sherwood Smith (Court Duel (Crown & Court, #2))
If God is Art, then what do we make of Jasper Johns?” One never knows what sort of question a patient will pose, or how exactly one should answer. Outside the window, snow on snow began to answer the ground below with nothing more than foolish questions. We were no different. I asked again: “Professor, have we eased the pain?” Eventually, he’d answer me with: “Tell me, young man, whom do you love?” “E," I’d say, “None of the Above," and laugh for lack of something more to add. For days he had played that game, and day after day I avoided your name by instinct. I never told him how we often wear each other’s clothes— we aren’t what many presuppose. Call it an act of omission, my love. Tonight, while walking to the car, I said your name to the evening star, clearly pronouncing the syllables to see your name dissipate in the air, evaporate. Only the night air carries your words up to the dead I watched them rise, become remote. Rapidly, yet without any sense of hurry, information about three people is conveyed in passing: not only profession (in the third line) , sexual orientation and educational level but also subtler matters of personality and humor. "In passing" -- well, not exactly: In a work of art, it may be that every moment is part of the destination. The end-rhyming of the second and third lines of each stanza and the banter of patient and doctor are part of the rich, ambiguous conclusion, where the intimacy of a spoken name rises toward the dead in the night air. The "foolish," solicitous and respectful question the doctor asks the patient becomes part of the implicit question of the final lines: In relation to the particular dead people in anyone's life, or in relation to mortality itself, have art and intimacy eased the pain?
C. Dale Young (The Second Person: Poems (Stahlecker Series Selections))
Reaching for his water glass, Jack rubbed his thumb over the film of condensation on the outside. Then he shot me a level glance as if taking up a challenge. “My turn,” he said. I smiled, having fun. “You’re going to guess my perfect day? That’s too easy. All it would involve is earplugs, blackout shades, and twelve hours of sleep.” He ignored that. “It’s a nice fall day—” “There’s no fall in Texas.” I reached for a cube of bread with little shreds of basil embedded in it. “You’re on vacation. There’s fall.” “Am I by myself or with Dane?” I asked, dipping a corner of the bread into a tiny dish of olive oil. “You’re with a guy. But not Dane.” “Dane doesn’t get to be part of my perfect day?” Jack shook his head slowly, watching me. “New guy.” Taking a bite of the dense, delicious bread, I decided to humor him. “Where are New Guy and I vacationing?” “New England. New Hampshire, probably.” Intrigued, I considered the idea. “I’ve never been that far north.” “You’re staying in an old hotel with verandas and chandeliers and gardens.” “That sounds nice,” I admitted. “You and the guy go driving through the mountains to see the color of the leaves, and you find a little town where there’s a crafts festival. You stop and buy a couple of dusty used books, a pile of handmade Christmas ornaments, and a bottle of genuine maple syrup. You go back to the hotel and take a nap with the windows open.” “Does he like naps?” “Not usually. But he makes an exception for you.” “I like this guy. So what happens when we wake up?” “You get dressed for drinks and dinner, and you go down to the restaurant. At the table next to yours, there’s an old couple who looks like they’ve been married at least fifty years. You and the guy take turns guessing the secret of a long marriage. He says it’s lots of great sex. You say it’s being with someone who can make you laugh every day. He says he can do both.” I couldn’t help smiling. “Pretty sure of himself, isn’t he?” “Yeah, but you like that about him. After dinner, the two of you dance to live orchestra music.” “He knows how to dance?” Jack nodded. “His mother made him take lessons when he was in grade school.” I forced myself to take another bite of bread, chewing casually. But inside I felt stricken, filled with unexpected yearning. And I realized the problem: no one I knew would have come up with that day for me. This is a man, I thought, who could break my heart.
Lisa Kleypas (Smooth Talking Stranger (Travises, #3))
By the time Albie is my age I will be long gone, or, best-case scenario, barricaded into my living module with enough rations to see out my days. But outside, I imagine vast, unregulated factories where workers count themselves lucky to toil through eighteen-hour days for less than a living wage before pulling on their gas masks to fight their way through the unemployed masses who are bartering with the mutated chickens and old tin-cans that they use for currency, those lucky workers returning to tiny, crowded shacks in a vast megalopolis where a tree is never seen, the air is thick with police drones, where car-bomb explosions, typhoons and freak hailstorms are so commonplace as to be barely remarked upon. Meanwhile, in the literally gilded towers above the carcinogenic smog, the privileged 1 per cent of businessmen, celebrities and entrepeneurs look down through bullet-proof windows, accept coktails in strange glasses from the robot waiters hovering nearby and laugh their tinkling laughs and somewhere, down there in that hellish, stewing mess of violence, poverty and desperation, is my son, Albie Petersen, a wandering minstrel with his guitar and his keen interest in photography, still refusing to wear a decent coat.
David Nicholls (Us)
Respect: If your son is raised connecting the word respect with the following statements: “I respect the choice you are making to wear your sandals; I will be wearing my rain boots.” “I can see how upset you are, and I love you and respect you too much to fight with you, so I am going to go outside until I cool down and then we can talk about what happened.” “I know you like having the same lunch every day, so I bought you everything you need to make the lunch that you like.” “I can see that the way you organize your clothes really works for you.” “I can feel myself getting angry, so I am going to go cool down and think about how I feel about the situation and then maybe we can find a solution that works for all of us.” “I respect your choice not to work on your science project and I hope you can respect my choice not to get involved in the decision your teacher makes.” “I know your uncle can be very judgmental and in spite of that, you showed respect for his point of view and for the rest of the family by not arguing with him over dinner.” … it is reasonable that you will raise a son who has a healthy concept of what respect looks like, sounds like, and feels like in a relationship with others. Message: Respect is a two-way street and we both participate. Cooperation: If your daughter is raised hearing: “How about you carry the jacket to the car just in case the weather changes? If you decide not to wear it, that’s fine, but at least you will have it with you.” “Would you be willing to help me out at the store and be in charge of crossing things off my list and then paying the cashier while I bag the groceries?” “I am not going to have time tonight to help you with your project, but if you are willing to get up an hour early tomorrow morning I could help you then.” “I promised your brother I would make him a cake and I am wondering if you would like me to teach you so we can make our cakes together from now on.” “I am willing to watch thirty minutes of your show, even though you know it’s not my favorite, before I go to the other room to read.” “We have a lot of camping gear to set up, how do we want to divide up the jobs?” … it is reasonable that you will raise a daughter who has a healthy concept of what cooperation looks like, sounds like, and feels like in a relationship with others. Message: Cooperation is a willingness to work together. Responsibility: If your children are raised hearing: “I trust you can find another pair of mittens to wear today at school.” “Only you can decide how much lunch you will eat.” “I don’t know where you put your soccer shoes. I put mine in the hall closet.” “I’m sorry, but I won’t bring the homework that you left on the counter.” “You told the coach that you would put in the extra time outside of practice; you’ll have to explain to him why that didn’t happen.” “Do you have a plan for replacing the broken window?” “I understand that you are frustrated. I am following through with our agreement.” … it is reasonable that you will raise children who have a healthy concept of what responsibility looks like, sounds like, and feels like in a relationship with others. Message: Responsibility is being able to respond effectively to the situation at hand.
Vicki Hoefle (The Straight Talk on Parenting: A No-Nonsense Approach on How to Grow a Grown-Up)
At her dressing table putting on earrings. She is a pretty woman in the prime of life, and her ignorance of financial necessity is complete. Her neck is graceful, her breasts gleamed as they rose in the cloth of her dress, and, seeing the decent and healthy delight she took in her own image, I could not tell her that we were broke. She had sweetened much of my life, and to watch her seemed to freshen the wellsprings of some clear energy in me that made the room and the pictures on the wall and the moon that could see outside the window all vivid and cheerful.
John Cheever (The Stories of John Cheever)
It was a long time since I had had anything to eat and I was becoming very hungry. I didn’t know where my next meal would come from and I knew that I was facing a long journey ahead. Hunger was something we all learned to live with in wartime Germany. The compartment was now completely full. Looking out to the passageway through the inside window, I could see a German soldier standing in the crowded passageway. He had his back to the outside window and I could see his reflection and knew that he had field rations attached to his belt. As he glanced towards me, he could see how hungry and drawn I looked. I was grateful when he kindly offered to share his rations with me. Although many people became nasty and bitter because of the trials of war, there were still some kind and decent people left. There was no doubt but that this war had left an indelible imprint on everyone!
Hank Bracker
Yo mama is so stupid… she thought Dunkin’ Donuts was a basketball team! Yo mama is so stupid… she tripped over a wireless phone! Yo mama is so stupid… she failed a survey! Yo mama is so stupid… she got locked in a grocery store and starved to death! Yo mama is so stupid… when they said that it is chilly outside, she went outside with a bowl and a spoon. Yo mama is so stupid… she tried to drown a fish! Yo mama is so stupid… she tried to throw a bird off a cliff! Yo mama is so stupid… she took a knife to a drive-by! Yo mama is so stupid… she thought Boyz II Men was a daycare center! Yo mama is so stupid… she bought a ticket to Xbox Live! Yo mama is so stupid… she thought she couldn’t buy a Gameboy because she is a girl! Yo mama is so stupid… she thought a scholarship was a ship full of students! Yo mama is so stupid… she threw a clock out the window to see time fly! Yo mama is so stupid… she went to the ocean to surf the Internet! Yo mama is so stupid… you can hear the ocean in her head! Yo mama is so stupid… she thought Hamburger Helper came with a friend! Yo mama is so stupid… she got locked in Furniture World and slept on the floor. Yo mama is so stupid… she sits on the floor and watches the couch. Yo mama is so stupid… she stayed up all night trying to catch up on her sleep! Yo mama is so stupid… she got her hand stuck in a website! Yo mama is so stupid… she thought Christmas wrap was Snoop Dogg’s new song! Yo mama is so stupid… she can't pass a blood test. Yo mama is so stupid… she thought the Harlem Shake was a drink! Yo mama is so stupid… she ordered a cheeseburger without the cheese. Yo mama is so stupid… she tried to climb Mountain Dew! Yo mama is so stupid… that she burned down the house with a CD burner. Yo mama is so stupid… she went to PetSmart to take an IQ test! Yo mama is so stupid… she went to the library to find Facebook! Yo mama is so stupid… she stole free bread. Yo mama is so stupid… she sold her car for gas money. Yo mama is so stupid… she stopped at a stop sign and waited for it to turn green. Yo mama is so stupid… when she asked me what kind of jeans I am wearing I said, “Guess”, and she said, “Levis”. Yo mama is so stupid… she called me to ask me for my phone number! Yo mama is so stupid… she worked at an M&M factory and threw out all the W's. Yo mama is so stupid… she tried to commit suicide by jumping out the basement window. Yo mama is so stupid… she got lost in a telephone booth. Yo mama is so stupid… she stuck a phone in her butt to make a booty call! Yo mama is so stupid… I said that drinks were on the house and she went to get a ladder! Yo mama is so stupid… she went to a dentist to fix her Bluetooth! Yo mama is so stupid… she put lipstick on her forehead to make up her mind. Yo mama is so stupid… it took her two hours to watch 60 seconds.
Johnny B. Laughing (Yo Mama Jokes Bible: 350+ Funny & Hilarious Yo Mama Jokes)
I could feel Rick’s eyes on me the whole time as I drove. I already knew what he was thinking about, but I hoped that he didn’t try to start any mess in this car, especially while my kids were with me. The weather was terrible outside, making it extremely hard for me to see. “Where you get that cash from that I saw in your purse?” Rick asked me. I cursed myself for leaving the money that Antonia had given me the other day in my purse. When we had gotten to the register so that I could pay for the groceries, I reached into my purse to retrieve my EBT card, and Rick caught a glimpse of the fifty-dollar bill that I had lying in there. “Antonia gave it to me, okay?” I told him, hoping that would be the end of this conversation. “So, you hiding money from me now, Gina? Is that what we’re doing?” he asked me. “Rick, I’m not hiding anything from you because this isn’t yours to begin with! The girls are going on a field trip next week, and it’s to pay for it!” I yelled at him. Right now, the rain had begun to pick up even harder and loud sounds of lightning and thunder were rumbling outside. “I don’t give a fuck about no damn field trip! Give me that money!” Rick yelled, trying to reach over my lap. I slapped his hands away, which caused me to swerve in the next lane and a car to blow the horn at me. “Rick, can you stop, please! You’re scaring my babies!” I yelled at him. It happened so quick. I was so distracted that I ended up running the red light and it was too late to brake because at this point, the eighteen wheeler came crashing into the right side of my little beat up Honda Civic which didn’t stand a chance. All I remember was looking in the rearview mirror and I noticed that neither Allison nor Ciara was in a seatbelt. It took seconds and their little bodies went flying out the front window and the truck had pretty much crushed into Rick and I, leaving everything to turn to black.
Diamond D. Johnson (Little Miami Girl 3: Antonia & Jahiem's Love Story)
James, would you kindly inform your sister that the glass in this picture frame gives me a very good reflection of everything that’s going on outside my window. I want to see Lauren and Bethany in this office and you can tell them that they’ll be joining you on gardening duty for the rest of the week.
Robert Muchamore (Class A (Cherub, #2))
...dirty dishes out to the kitchen and starts washing them. I watch her do all this. I want to say something, but when I'm with her words no longer function as they're supposed to. Or maybe the meaning that ties them together has vanished? I stare at my hands and think of the dogwood outside the window, glinting in the moonlight. That's where the blade that's stabbing me in the heart is.   "Will I see you again?" I ask.
Haruki Murakami
As we were driving, something caught Tommy's attention outside the window. He pointed. "You see that? My god. Monster!" "Yeah," I said. "That was a deer." "Deer, my foot. That thing will kill you. You don't know why or how. Speaking of killer, when I sleep, I have dream that you try to kill me.
Greg Sestero (The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made)
Someone has been sawing off all the branches of the tree outside my dining room window. I like to sit in my T-shirt and panties at the dining room table first thing in the morning and listen to the uneaten mourning doves and write. The branches covered virtually the entire window and prevented the neighbors from seeing me sitting here in my underwear. But now the branches are coming away one by one and revealing me to my neighbors slowly like a puzzle taking shape.
Miriam Toews (All My Puny Sorrows)
Motorcycle Drive By" Summer time and the wind is blowing outside In lower Chelsea and I don't know What I'm doing in this city The sun is always in my eyes It crashes through the windows And I'm sleeping on the couch When I came to visit you That's when I knew I could never have you I knew that before you did Still I'm the one who's stupid And there's this burning Like there's always been I never been so alone And I've never been so alive Visions of you on a motorcycle drive by The cigarette ash flies in your eyes And you don't mind, you smile And say the world doesn't fit with you I don't believe you, you're so serene Careening through the universe Your axis on a tilt, you're guiltless and free I hope you take a piece of me with you And there's things I'd like to do That you don't believe in I would like to build something But you never see it happen And there's this burning Like there's always been I've never been so alone And I've, I've never been so alive And there's this burning There is this burning Where's the soul I want to know New York City is evil The surface is everything but I could never do that Someone would see through that And this is our last time We'll be friends again I'll get over you, you'll wonder who I am And there's this burning Just like there's always been I've never been so alone alone And I've, and I've never been so alive So alive I go home to the coast It starts to rain I paddle out on the water Alone Taste the salt and taste the pain I'm not thinking of you again Summer dies and swells rise The sun goes down in my eyes See this rolling wave Darkly coming to take me Home And I've never been so alone And I've never been so alive Third Eye Blind (1997)
Third Eye Blind
Sound and Color" A new world hangs outside the window Beautiful and strange It must be I've fallen away I must be Sound and color with me for my mind And the ship shows me where to go when I needn't speak Not far now Not far now Not far now Far, far now Far, far, far, far now Far, far, far, far out Sound and color With me in my mind Sound and color Try to keep yourself awake Sound and color This life ain't like it was Sound and color I wanna touch a human being Sound and color I want to go back to sleep Sound and color Ain't life just awful strange? Sound and color I wish I never gave it all away Sound and color No more to see the setting of the sun Sound and color Life in Sound and color Love in Sound and color Love in Sound and color Sound and color Sound and color
Alabama Shakes
Die, skeletons!” he yelled, cutting the three skeletons down: SWOOSH, SWOOSH, SWOOSH! Then Steve ran back into the courtyard, where the golem was still fighting off skeletons. Steve rejoined the fight, swinging his sword about and cutting down the skeletons. “Keep going, Steve!” Spidroth yelled from the window. “What?” said Steve, turning to look at her. “Did you say something?” Then THUNK! An arrow struck Steve in the side of the head. “Ow…” said Steve. “My brains…” Then POOF, he was gone. “Oh wow, a chicken!” Spidroth turned around to see Spidroth sitting up in bed once more. “I had the strangest dream,” Steve said. “I dreamed I was fighting—” “IT WASN’T A DREAM!” Spidroth shouted. “GET YOUR BUTT OUTSIDE AND START FIGHTING THE SKELETONS!
Dave Villager (Dave the Villager 29: An Unofficial Minecraft Novel (The Legend of Dave the Villager))
He moved into the moonlight. That was no accident. He wanted me to see his eyes burning with fever, his skin flushed, hair sweat soaked. He wanted me to say, "Oh, you're Changing," leap out of bed, and insist on going outside with him, help him through it, a I had the last two times. I looked at him and I lay back down. He stepped froward. "Chloe.." "What?" "It's...It's starting again." "I see that." I sat up, swung my legs out of bed, and stood. He breathed a sigh of relief. I walked to the window. "Head down that path about thirty feet, and you'll find a clearing to the left. That should be a good place." A spark of panic ignited in his eyes. After how he'd treated me today, I should have said "good." But i didn't. Couldn't. It took everything I had to just crawl back into bed.
Kelley Armstrong (The Reckoning (Darkest Powers, #3))
Jim Biggers looked down at the puppy playing tug-of-war with one of his bootlaces. “Quit it,” he growled, gently shaking it off. The puppy yapped and scampered away, bumping into Truck’s furry side and bouncing off. The big dog didn’t bat an eye, but he raised his head when he heard a car door slam outside. Another puppy tumbled off his back as he got up. Jim rose too, looking out the window. “She’s here,” he announced, throwing down his pencil. In another minute Kenzie and Linc walked in. One of the puppies ran to her and she squatted down to say hi. “Oh my gosh. You are so cute!” “I can’t compete,” Jim grumbled to Linc. The puppy yapped and ran away. Kenzie went around to the other side of the desk to kiss her boss on the cheek. “Sorry.” Jim grinned. “You’re forgiven. How are you doing, Linc?” He’d noticed that the younger man was still limping. There wasn’t any need to mention it specifically. “Better every day, thanks. How did Truck get stuck with babysitting?” “I promised him half a steak,” Jim said. “He fell for it.” An eager puppy chomped down hard on Truck’s ear, then put his head and paws down in play position, wagging his stubby tail. “Poor Truck,” Kenzie said sympathetically. She looked back to Jim. “Why are they here? I mean, they’re cute but way too young to start with us.” “Merry Jenkins is fostering them for me. But she’s gone for the next two days, so I have them. It’s been fun. I’m seeing plenty of potential.” He glanced at the floor, frowning. “And a few puddles.” He unrolled several sheets from the paper towel dispenser on his desk and let them drift to the floor. A puppy pounced on the white stuff and dragged it away. Jim rolled his eyes. He unrolled more paper towels, and this time he put his boot down on them. “I can’t wait to come back full-time,” Kenzie said. “When you’re ready. Not a minute before,” Jim said sternly. “Everything’s under control. No rush.” Linc looked down. “Am I seeing things?” A tiny kitten was clawing its way up his jeans. Jim harrumphed. “That’s a stray. Buddy and Wells started feeding it, and now it won’t go away.” “Aww,” Kenzie exclaimed. “It’s adorable.” Linc detached the kitten from his front pocket and held it up. The warmth of his hands calmed it, but only for a minute. The kitten stared at him, bug-eyed, then batted at his nose. “Doesn’t seem to be afraid of anything.” “Reminds me of Kenzie. I guess I’ll have to keep it. So where are you two headed?” Linc put the kitten down. Tiny tail waving, it sauntered between Truck’s furry legs. The dog didn’t seem to mind.
Janet Dailey (Honor (Bannon Brothers, #2))
Pass the small test Many people do not enjoy God’s favor like they should, because they don’t pass the small tests. Being excellent may not be some huge adjustment you need to make. It may mean just leaving ten minutes earlier so you can get to work on time. It may mean not complaining when you have to clean up. It may mean not making personal phone calls on work time--just a small thing. Nobody would know it. But the scripture says, “It’s the little foxes that spoil the vines.” If I had put up that water bottle week after week without cleaning it, nobody would have known except God and me. I could have gotten away with it, but here’s the key: I don’t want something small to keep God from releasing something big into my life. A while back, I was in a store’s parking lot, and it was very windy outside. When I opened my car door, several pieces of trash blew out on the ground. As I went to pick them up, the wind caught them and they flew about fifteen or twenty feet in different directions. I didn’t feel like going over to pick up those scraps. I looked around and there were already all kinds of other trash in the parking lot. I was in a hurry. I came up with several good excuses why I shouldn’t go pick them up. I almost convinced myself to let them go, but at the last moment I decided I was going to be a person of excellence and pick up my trash. The scraps had blown here and there. I ended up running all over that parking lot. My mind was saying, “What in the world am I doing out here? It doesn’t matter--let the stuff go.” When I finally picked up all of the scattered trash, I came back to my car. I had not realized it, but this couple was sitting in the car next to mine, watching the whole thing. They rolled the window down and said, “Hey, Joel. We watch you on television each week.” Then the lady said something very interesting. “We were watching to see what you were going to do.” I thought, “Oh, thank you, Jesus.” Whether you realize it or not, people are watching you. Make sure you’re representing God the right way.
Joel Osteen (You Can You Will: 8 Undeniable Qualities of a Winner)
Before she could leave, Michael stepped in front of her. “I will come see you tonight,” he said. “Watch for me outside your window and meet me when you can. Your father need not know of my presence.” She bit her lip. If Michael was going to leave Colden, it would be easier to walk away now, where it would be impossible to break down and beg or cry in front of so many witnesses. She could not be certain she would be so stoic otherwise. She pushed toward the door, but Michael blocked her exit. “Promise me you will meet me tonight,” he said with a low note of urgency. “I love you and can’t let this come between us. Not now, when we are about to be separated.
Elizabeth Camden (The Rose of Winslow Street)
When I first saw her she dropped her purse and was scrambling to find her glasses. I was two doors down on the right side of the hall, so I walked over and picked them up. I handed them to her and she slipped them on. Her hair was a mess and her face was pouring sweat. I was too and I was itching to get into my apartment. Living on the fourth of five floors was hot, but I had air conditioners in every room with big enough windows. The four machines made it like an ice box and I loved it. Some nights when it got cool enough outside, my windows would fog and I’d see my breath. I turned and walked back to my small place and she called out. “Thank you! Most people don’t notice me!” I turned back to her and smiled, our eyes locked. Her glasses were thick, and they magnified her eyes several times. It was strange looking at them, but I kept my gaze on her for a few seconds as I turned back to my place. I looked her over. Her small breasts stood out against her stomach, which bulged slightly as if she was three or four months pregnant. I didn’t think she was, because she wasn’t straining as hard as I would think a pregnant woman would in this heat. She was attractive in a subtle way, not my usual type. She was tall, about six feet almost, and her long hair was curly, the bones in her hands and wrists stood out. She was skinnier than I ever liked. I’ve always preferred girls with a heft to them. Something about her made me curious, she felt…different.
Todd Misura (Divergence: Erotica from a Different Angle)
I saw the raptor’s teeth again, this time right outside the open window. I waited for the creature to dart inside and try to peck at my face, but it instead leaped to the windshield. “Oh my God!” Frankie yelled. “What do I do? I can't see!” “Wait a second!” I shouted. I jerked my head around. “Mr. Balm? Don’t you have a gun?” “What?” “You said you had a gun, right?” He blocked his backpack with his hands. “Yes, but it’s only for emergencies.” “Emergencies? What the hell do you call this, Sherlock?
Brian Rowe (Over the Rainbow)
Perhaps my distracted state had caused me to glance out the nearby window. I’m really not sure what drew my attention that way but the street lamp that stood in a prime position almost dead center in front of our house, cast a bright glow onto the road as well as the pavement surrounding it. And in the midst of that shining light was a lone figure, one that definitely seemed out of place. Of course it was not unusual to see people walking by during the early evening. Some of our neighbors walked their dogs at night, and there was also the occasional jogger who would pass by, taking the chance to fit in an evening run before dinner. However, something about the hesitant movement of the person on the street outside, caught my attention. And when I realized that he had paused to stand stock still and was looking directly towards our house, I was filled with sudden concern. Moving towards the edge of the window frame, I peered cautiously out, wondering who he was and what he was doing. In the spot where I stood, partly hidden by the curtain that hung at the side of the window, I was able to get a clear view. And when the boy’s face came into focus, I recognized him immediately. With a frightened gasp, I quickly grabbed hold of the thick curtain and pulled it roughly across, blocking any view of the street beyond. I could feel the beat of my racing pulse. Perhaps I was mistaken, but I didn’t dare risk another peek. And returning to my seat on the couch, I tried to ignore the uneasy sensation that had taken over.
Katrina Kahler (Julia Jones' Diary - Boxed Set #2-5)
denna låt är en av de finaste låtar jag någonsin hört. herremingud va texten är vacker. det som händer vid 7:39 och efteråt är helt magiskt. denna värld förtjänar inte justin vernon, tänk att han skrivit både denna och re:stacks <3 The hills speaking softly to brag The rain is so quiet it's sad In liberty it rains so loud we can't hear It's so hard to see outside when it rains down here The arches hold together St. Louis And the mighty Mississippi splits right through us Before my arches rebuild, they must have a song But I can't proceed until the rain is gone Blue grey background on those moss green pines Heavy grown raindrops clinging to the electrical lines Floating in an atmosphere of truth and hidden lies Sometimes out here, I feel like my heroes can save my life Through the window of this ricket rail car And I see the world scene by scene The silver mountains and blue streams I will only ever smell the train steam We hear Louis Armstrong play his horn on the shortwave radio His sound breaks my heart with a stone in my throat Like a sword through a heart, leaking tears onto the ground So hard to see when it rains down here Alone, is where I been leading to be So I, just been sailing the seas The wind can blow me wherever it needs to take me The skipper taunts the sky Thunder and waves crashing into the side It will never break him, it will never save him
Justin Vernon
I looked outside the window, and in my mind's eye, I began to rove into the landscape, recalling my overnight conversation with Dr. Maillotte. I saw her at fifteen, in September 1944, sitting on a rampart in the Brussels sun, delirious with happiness at the invaders' retreat. I saw Junichiro Saito on the same day, aged thirty-one or thirty-two, unhappy, in internment, in an arid room in a fenced compound in Idaho, far away from his books. Out there on that day, also, were all four of my own grandparents: The Nigerians, the Germans. Three were by now gone, for sure. But what of the fourth, my oma? I saw them all, even the ones I had never seen in real life, saw all of them in the middle of that day in September sixty-two years ago, with their eyes open as if shut, mercifully seeing nothing of the brutal half century ahead and , better yet, hardly anything at all of all that was happening in their world, the corpse-filled cities, camps, beaches, and fields, the unspeakable worldwide disorder of that very moment.
Teju Cole (Open City)
A house can have integrity, just like a person," said Roark, "and just as seldom." "In what way?" "Well, look at it. Every piece of it is there because the house needs it - and for no other reason. You see it from here as it is inside. The rooms in which you'll live made the shape. The relation of masses was determined by the distribution of space within. The ornament was determined by the method of construction, an emphasis on the principle that makes it stand. You can see each stress, each support that meets it. Your own eyes go through a structural process when you look at the house, you can follow each step, you see it rise, you know what made it and why it stands. But you've seen buildings with columns that support nothing, with purposeless cornices, with pilasters, mouldings, false arches, false windows. You've seen buildings that look as if they contained a single large hall, they have solid columns and single, solid windows six floors high. But you enter and find six stories inside. Or buildings that contain a single hall, but with a facade cut up into floor lines, band courses, tiers of windows. Do you understand the difference? Your house is made by its own needs. Those others are made by the need to impress. The determining motive of your house is in the house. The determining motive of the other is in the audience." "Do you know that that's what I've felt in a way? I've felt that when I move into this house, I'll have a new sort of existence, and even my simple daily routine will have a kind of honesty or dignity that I can't quite define. Don't be astonished if I tell you that I feel as if I'll have to live up to that house." "I intended that," said Roark. "And, incidentally, thank you for all the thought you seem to have taken about my comfort. There are so many things I notice that had never occurred to me before, but you've planned them as if you knew all my needs. For instance, my study is the room I'll need most and you've given it the dominant spot - and, incidentally, I see where you've made it the dominant mass from the outside, too. And then the way it connects with the library, and the living room well out of my way, and the guest rooms where I won't hear too much of them - and all that. You were very considerate of me." "You know," said Roark, "I haven't thought of you at all. I thought of the house." He added: "Perhaps that's why I knew how to be considerate of you.
Ayn Rand (The Fountainhead)
Motorcycle Drive By" Summer time and the wind is blowing outside In lower Chelsea and I don't know What I'm doing in this city The sun is always in my eyes It crashes through the windows And I'm sleeping on the couch When I came to visit you That's when I knew That I could never have you I knew that before you did Still I'm the one who's stupid And there's this burning Like there's always been I've never been so alone And I've never been so alive Visions of you on a motorcycle drive by The cigarette ash flies in your eyes And you don't mind, you smile And say the world doesn't fit with you I don't believe you, you're so serene Careening through the universe Your axis on a tilt, you're guiltless and free I hope you take a piece of me with you And there's things I'd like to do That you don't believe in I would like to build something But you never see it happen And there's this burning Like there's always been I've never been so alone And I've never been so alive And there's this burning There was this burning Where's the soul I want to know New York City is evil The surface is everything but I could never do that Someone would see through that And this is our last time We'll be friends again I'll get over you, you'll wonder who I am And there's this burning Just like there's always been I've never been so alone, alone And I, and I I've never been so alive I go home to the coast It starts to rain I paddle out on the water Alone Taste the salt and taste the pain I'm not thinking of you again Summer dies and swells rise The sun goes down in my eyes See this rolling wave Darkly coming to take me home And I've never been so alone And I've never been so alive Third Eye Blind, Third Eye Blind" (1997)
Third Eye Blind (Third Eye Blind)
Nokia and our team worked day and night; sites were selected, even churches, masts were built, and equipment was installed. We were heading for launch. Dead tired but things moved forward. Richard’s wife was screaming and shouting on the phone, where the f… he was, she would divorce him. It was early evening after our Christmas party, the offices deserted. Very cold outside, big snowflakes falling. Richard and I were looking out of the big 6th floor windows of our new office in Pest. Silently we stood together. We had grown close that year. He said sadly, ‘You see those people there Ineke? They have a life and we will improve it when they get cheap mobile phones. And we?’ I said nothing, I just watched people pass by and felt like him; lone wolves we had become.
Ineke Botter (Your phone, my life: Or, how did that phone land in your hand?)
Diamond awoke to darkness. She felt oddly woozy, and even though she kept blinking, she couldn't see a thing. When she turned her head even slightly, a pounding headache made her close her eyes once more. "Where am I?" she thought groggily. Then she remembered Thane and the dog named Bella and the daughter she never got to meet. "Did I miss the auditions?" She tried to remember, but her head felt like clotted cream. She waited a few minutes, then took a deep breath and tried to sit up, but her body seemed to be glued. To what? She couldn't move! Her arms. Oh God, they were tied, stretched above her head. She seemed to be lying on something soft, a bed? And she was freezing. Why was she so cold? Then, with a lurch of horror, she realized that she was wearing only her underwear. Where were her clothes? Oh my God! Oh my God! Where were her clothes? Diamond tried to move once more, but her arms were held immobile. "Ropes?" she wondered, confused, shaky. "Ropes? What's going on?" She went deadly still. Rain pounded outside a window, thunder rumbled in the distance. A flash of lightning illuminated the room for just a second. She could make out furniture—a chest of drawers, a chair. Two bulky square-shaped objects against a wall. She noticed a door to her left, but where were her clothes? She pulled and tugged, but there was no slack in the ropes; she could not pull her arms free. She panicked. That's when she began to scream.
Sharon M. Draper (Panic)
You meant more than life to me. I lived through you not knowing, not knowing I was living. I learned that you called for me. I came to where you were living, up a stair. There was no one there. No one to appreciate me. The legality of it upset a chair. Many times to celebrate we were called together and where we had been there was nothing there, nothing that is anywhere. We passed obliquely, leaving no stare. When the sun was done muttering, in an optimistic way, it was time to leave that there. Blithely passing in and out of where, blushing shyly at the tag on the overcoat near the window where the outside crept away, I put aside the there and now. Now it was time to stumble anew, blacking out when time came in the window. There was not much of it left. I laughed and put my hands shyly across your eyes. Can you see now? Yes I can see I am only in the where where the blossoming stream takes off, under your window. Go presently you said. Go from my window. I am in love with your window I cannot undermine it, I said.
John Ashbery
One spring day, I was away on a business trip; Karen was home with the kids. It was a warm afternoon, and she was sitting with our son Matthew at the computer in my office. The kitchen door that leads to the backyard was open. They were reviewing a homework project when they heard what sounded like fingernails scratching on the hardwood floors in the kitchen followed by a thumping gallop from our cat Sox. An instant later, a squirrel raced into the office with the cat at its heels. In a panic, Karen grabbed Matthew and the cat, and ran out of the office slamming the door behind her. Her plan was to leave the squirrel in my office and let me deal with it when I got home in a few days; the homework could wait. However, 30 minutes and two glasses of Merlot later, Karen saw the flaw in her plan. She wasn’t worried so much about sticking me with the task of removing a hungry, pissed-off squirrel from my office as she was the possibility of the squirrel shredding everything in there before I got home. Or worse, she feared the house would permanently smell of dead squirrel. There was a decent chance her scream gave it a heart attack. Luckily, the window in my office was open that afternoon. The only problem, there was a screen in the window. Karen figured if she could remove the screen, the squirrel, if it were still alive, would find its way back to the great outdoors. My office was on the first floor, so she was able to remove the screen easily from the outside. Standing in the backyard at a safe distance, she watched the open window, but no squirrel appeared. Venetian blinds were down covering the window opening. Karen thought, “If I just reach in and pull the cord on the blinds I can raise them enough for the little rodent to see his escape route.” Taking deep breaths while standing on the third rung of our stepladder, Karen thought through exactly what she had to do: raise the blinds with one hand, pull the cord with the other, lock it in place and get the hell out of there. No problem, the squirrel was no doubt cowering in the corner. Not quite. As soon as she raised the blinds, the squirrel – according to Karen who was the only witness – saw daylight and flew through the air, landing on her head. Its toes were caught in Karen’s hair as it made a desperate attempt to free itself. Karen said, “It was running in place on top of my head.” She fell off the ladder and ran screaming through the backyard with the squirrel stuck to her head. (I’m sure it was only a few seconds, but time stands still when there’s a squirrel on your head.) It eventually freed its claws, jumped off her head and ran away. Sue was the first person Karen called after she calmed down enough to speak. They discussed the situation thoroughly and agreed that shampooing several times with Head and Shoulders, rubbing the tiny scratch marks on her scalp with alcohol and drinking the rest of the bottle of Merlot were the proper steps to prevent rabies. I was her second call. Karen gave me a second-by-second recounting of the event, complete with sound effects and a graphic description of how the squirrel’s toes felt as they dug into her scalp. Then she told me the whole thing was my fault because I wasn’t home to protect the family when it happened. Apparently being away earning a living was not an acceptable excuse. She also said she learned a valuable lesson that day. “Not to leave the back door open?” I guessed. No, the lesson was that all squirrels are evil and out to get her. (She also decided that she doesn’t like “any animal related to squirrels,” whatever that means.)
Matt Smith (Dear Bob and Sue)
train me, nice as could be other than acting like she’s my mom, all honey-this and honey-that and “You think you can remember all that, sweetie?” Just three or four years out of high school herself. But she did have three kids, so probably she’d wiped so many asses she got stuck that way. I didn’t hold it against her. Coach Briggs’s brother stayed upstairs in the office. Heart attack guy was a mystery. First they said he might come back by the end of summer. Then they all stopped talking about him. As far as customers, every kind of person came in. Older guys would want to chew the fat outside in the dock after I loaded their grain bags or headgates or what have you. I handled all the larger items. They complained about the weather or tobacco prices, but oftentimes somebody would recognize me and want to talk football. What was my opinion on our being a passing versus running team, etc. So that was amazing. Being known. It was the voice that hit my ear like a bell, the day he came in. I knew it instantly. And that laugh. It always made you wish that whoever made him laugh like that, it had been you. I was stocking inventory in the home goods aisle, and moved around the end to where I could see across the store. Over by the medications and vaccines that were kept in a refrigerator case, he was standing with his back to me, but that wild head of hair was the giveaway. And the lit-up face of Donnamarie, flirting so hard her bangs were standing on end. She was opening a case for him. Some of the pricier items were kept under lock and key. I debated whether to go over, but heard him say he needed fifty pounds of Hi-Mag mineral and a hundred pounds of pelleted beef feed, so I knew I would see him outside. I signaled to Donnamarie that I’d heard, and threw it all on the dolly to wheel out to the loading dock. He pulled his truck around but didn’t really see me. Just leaned his elbow out the open window and handed me the register ticket. He’d kept the Lariat of course, because who wouldn’t. “You’ve still got the Fastmobile, I see,” I said. He froze in the middle of lighting a smoke, shifted his eyes at me, and shook his head fast, like a splash of cold water had hit him. “I’ll be goddamned. Diamond?” “The one,” I said. “How you been hanging, Fast Man?” “Cannot complain,” he said. But it seemed like he wasn’t a hundred percent on it really being me loading his pickup. He watched me in the side mirror. The truck bounced a little each time I hefted a mineral block or bag into the bed. Awesome leaf springs on that beauty. I came around to give him back his ticket, and he seemed more sure.
Barbara Kingsolver (Demon Copperhead)