Passed Away Mothers Day Quotes

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Mothers support certain illusions about their children, and one of my illusions was that I liked who I was, because she did. When she passed away, so did that idea.
Mitch Albom (For One More Day)
The day my mother died I wrote in my journal, "A serious misfortune of my life has arrived." I suffered for more than one year after the passing away of my mother. But one night, in the highlands of Vietnam, I was sleeping in the hut in my hermitage. I dreamed of my mother. I saw myself sitting with her, and we were having a wonderful talk. She looked young and beautiful, her hair flowing down. It was so pleasant to sit there and talk to her as if she had never died. When I woke up it was about two in the morning, and I felt very strongly that I had never lost my mother. The impression that my mother was still with me was very clear. I understood then that the idea of having lost my mother was just an idea. It was obvious in that moment that my mother is always alive in me. I opened the door and went outside. The entire hillside was bathed in moonlight. It was a hill covered with tea plants, and my hut was set behind the temple halfway up. Walking slowly in the moonlight through the rows of tea plants, I noticed my mother was still with me. She was the moonlight caressing me as she had done so often, very tender, very sweet... wonderful! Each time my feet touched the earth I knew my mother was there with me. I knew this body was not mine but a living continuation of my mother and my father and my grandparents and great-grandparents. Of all my ancestors. Those feet that I saw as "my" feet were actually "our" feet. Together my mother and I were leaving footprints in the damp soil. From that moment on, the idea that I had lost my mother no longer existed. All I had to do was look at the palm of my hand, feel the breeze on my face or the earth under my feet to remember that my mother is always with me, available at any time.
Thich Nhat Hanh (No Death, No Fear: Comforting Wisdom for Life)
The day has been so full of fret and care, and our hearts have been so full of evil and of bitter thoughts, and the world has seemed so hard and wrong to us. Then Night, like some great loving mother, gently lays her hand upon our fevered head, and turns our little tear-stained faces up to hers, and smiles; and though she does not speak, we know what she would say, and lay our hot flushed cheek against her bosom, and the pain is gone. Sometimes, our pain is very deep and real, and we stand before her very silent, because there is no language for our pain, only a moan. Night's heart is full of pity for us: she cannot ease our aching; she takes our hand in hers, and the little world grows very small and very far away beneath us, and, borne on her dark wings, we pass for a moment into a mightier Presence than her own, and in the wondrous light of that great Presence, all human life lies like a book before us, and we know that Pain and Sorrow are but angels of God.
Jerome K. Jerome (Three Men in a Boat (Three Men, #1))
It hadn't occurred to me that my mother would die. Until she was dying, the thought had never entered my mind. She was monolithic and insurmountable, the keeper of my life. She would grow old and still work in the garden. This image was fixed in my mind, like one of the memories from her childhood that I made her explain so intricately that I remembered it as if it were mine. She would be old and beautiful like the black-and-white photo of Georgia O'Keeffe I'd once sent her. I held fast to this image for the first couple of weeks after we left the Mayo Clinic, and then, once she was admitted to the hospice wing of the hospital in Duluth, that image unfurled, gave way to the others, more modest and true. I imagined my mother in October; I wrote the scene in my mind. And then the one of my mother in August and another in May. Each day that passed, another month peeled away.
Cheryl Strayed (Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail)
Happiness There's just no accounting for happiness, or the way it turns up like a prodigal who comes back to the dust at your feet having squandered a fortune far away. And how can you not forgive? You make a feast in honor of what was lost, and take from its place the finest garment, which you saved for an occasion you could not imagine, and you weep night and day to know that you were not abandoned, that happiness saved its most extreme form for you alone. No, happiness is the uncle you never knew about, who flies a single-engine plane onto the grassy landing strip, hitchhikes into town, and inquires at every door until he finds you asleep midafternoon as you so often are during the unmerciful hours of your despair. It comes to the monk in his cell. It comes to the woman sweeping the street with a birch broom, to the child whose mother has passed out from drink. It comes to the lover, to the dog chewing a sock, to the pusher, to the basket maker, and to the clerk stacking cans of carrots in the night. It even comes to the boulder in the perpetual shade of pine barrens, to rain falling on the open sea, to the wineglass, weary of holding wine.
Jane Kenyon
The sorrow for the dead is the only sorrow from which we refuse to be divorced. Every other wound we seek to heal - every other affliction to forget; but this wound we consider it a duty to keep open - this affliction we cherish and brood over in solitude. Where is the mother who would willingly forget the infant that perished like a blossom from her arms, though every recollection is a pang? Where is the child that would willingly forget the most tender of parents, though to remember be but to lament? Who, even in the hour of agony, would forget the friend over whom he mourns? Who, even when the tomb is closing upon the remains of her he most loved, when he feels his heart, as it were, crushed in the closing of its portal, would accept of consolation that must be bought by forgetfulness? No, the love which survives the tomb is one of the noblest attributes of the soul. If it has its woes, it has likewise its delights; and when the overwhelming burst of grief is calmed into the gentle tear of recollection, when the sudden anguish and the convulsive agony over the present ruins of all that we most loved are softened away in pensive meditation on all that it was in the days of its loveliness - who would root out such a sorrow from the heart? Though it may sometimes throw a passing cloud over the bright hour of gaiety, or spread a deeper sadness over the hour of gloom, yet who would exchange it even for the song of pleasure, or the burst of revelry? No, there is a voice from the tomb sweeter than song. There is a remembrance of the dead to which we turn even from the charms of the living. Oh, the grave! The grave! It buries every error - covers every defect - extinguishes every resentment! From its peaceful bosom spring none but fond regrets and tender recollections.
Washington Irving
Your mother contained a good spirit. A loving spirit. A spirit that will not cease to exist. Eva looked at him, her brows furrowed. Rovender placed his arm around Eva's shoulders. "You see, she lives within you now, in all of the lessons that she taught you. Lessons you will never forget. Lessons you will always carry with you... and will one day pass on.
Tony DiTerlizzi (The Search for WondLa (The Search for WondLa, #1))
When my parents passed on, and we read their wills, we discovered something we didn’t at all expect, especially from our devoutly Catholic mother: they had both left instructions that their bodies be donated to science. We were bewildered and we were pissed. They wanted their cadavers to be used by medical students, they wanted their flesh to be cut into and their cancerous organs examined. We were breathless. They wanted no elaborate funerals, no expense incurred for such stuff – they hated wasting money or time on ceremony, on appearances. When they died there was little left – the house, the cars. And their bodies, and they gave those away. To offer them to strangers was disgusting, wrong, embarrassing. And selfish to us, their children, who would have to live with the thought of their cold weight sinking on silver tables, surrounded by students chewing gum and making jokes about the location of freckles. But then again: Nothing can be preserved. It’s all on the way out, from the second it appears, and whatever you have always has one eye on the exit, and so screw it. As hideous and uncouth as it is, we have to give it all away, our bodies, our secrets, our money, everything we know: All must be given away, given away every day, because to be human means: 1. To be good 2. To save nothing
Dave Eggers (A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius)
It's ridiculous. Here I sit in my little room, I, Brigge, who have got to be twenty-eight years old and about whom no one knows. I sit here and am nothing. And yet this nothing begins to think and thinks, up five flights of stairs, these thoughts on a gray Paris afternoon: Is it possible, this nothing thinks, that one has not yet seen, recognized, and said anything real and important? Is it possible that one has had thousands of years of time to look, reflect, and write down, and that one has let the millennia pass away like a school recess in which one eats one's sandwich and an apple? Yes, it is possible. ...Is it possible that in spite of inventions and progress, in spite of culture, religion, and worldly wisdom, that one has remained on the surface of life? Is it possible that one has even covered this surface, which would at least have been something, with an incredibly dull slipcover, so that it looks like living-room furniture during the summer vacation? Yes, it is possible. Is it possible that the whole history of the world has been misunderstood? Is it possible that the past is false because one has always spoken of its masses, as if one was telling about a coming together of many people, instead of telling about the one person they were standing around, because he was alien and died? Yes, it is possible. Is it possible that one believed one has to make up for everything that happened before one was born? Is it possible one would have to remind every single person that he arose from all earlier people so that he would know it, and not let himself be talked out of it by the others, who see it differently? Yes, it is possible. Is it possible that all these people know very precisely a past that never was? Is it possible that everything real is nothing to them; that their life takes its course, connected to nothing, like a clock in an empty room? Yes, it is possible. Is it possible that one knows nothing about girls, who are nevertheless alive? Is it possible that one says "the women", "the children", "the boys", and doesn't suspect (in spite of all one's education doesn't suspect) that for the longest time these words have no longer had a plural, but only innumerable singulars? Yes, it is possible. Is it possible that there are people who say "God" and think it is something they have in common? Just look at two schoolboys: one buys himself a knife, and the same day his neighbor buys one just like it. And after a week they show each other their knives and it turns out that they bear only the remotest resemblance to each other-so differently have they developed in different hands (Well, the mother of one of them says, if you boys always have to wear everything out right away). Ah, so: is it possible to believe that one could have a God without using him? Yes, it is possible. But, if all this is possible, has even an appearance of possibility-then for heaven's sake something has to happen. The first person who comes along, the one who has had this disquieting thought, must begin to accomplish some of what has been missed; even if he is just anyone, not the most suitable person: there is simply no one else there. This young, irrelevant foreigner, Brigge, will have to sit himself down five flights up and write, day and night, he will just have to write, and that will be that.
Rainer Maria Rilke (The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge)
On the first day of November last year, sacred to many religious calendars but especially the Celtic, I went for a walk among bare oaks and birch. Nothing much was going on. Scarlet sumac had passed and the bees were dead. The pond had slicked overnight into that shiny and deceptive glaze of delusion, first ice. It made me remember sakes and conjure a vision of myself skimming backward on one foot, the other extended; the arms become wings. Minnesota girls know that this is not a difficult maneuver if one's limber and practices even a little after school before the boys claim the rink for hockey. I think I can still do it - one thinks many foolish things when November's bright sun skips over the entrancing first freeze. A flock of sparrows reels through the air looking more like a flying net than seventy conscious birds, a black veil thrown on the wind. When one sparrow dodges, the whole net swerves, dips: one mind. Am I part of anything like that? Maybe not. The last few years of my life have been characterized by stripping away, one by one, loves and communities that sustain the soul. A young colleague, new to my English department, recently asked me who I hang around with at school. "Nobody," I had to say, feeling briefly ashamed. This solitude is one of the surprises of middle age, especially if one's youth has been rich in love and friendship and children. If you do your job right, children leave home; few communities can stand an individual's most pitiful, amateur truth telling. So the soul must stand in her own meager feathers and learn to fly - or simply take hopeful jumps into the wind. In the Christian calendar, November 1 is the Feast of All Saints, a day honoring not only those who are known and recognized as enlightened souls, but more especially the unknowns, saints who walk beside us unrecognized down the millennia. In Buddhism, we honor the bodhisattvas - saints - who refuse enlightenment and return willingly to the wheel of karma to help other beings. Similarly, in Judaism, anonymous holy men pray the world from its well-merited destruction. We never know who is walking beside us, who is our spiritual teacher. That one - who annoys you so - pretends for a day that he's the one, your personal Obi Wan Kenobi. The first of November is a splendid, subversive holiday. Imagine a hectic procession of revelers - the half-mad bag lady; a mumbling, scarred janitor whose ravaged face made the children turn away; the austere, unsmiling mother superior who seemed with great focus and clarity to do harm; a haunted music teacher, survivor of Auschwitz. I bring them before my mind's eye, these old firends of my soul, awakening to dance their day. Crazy saints; but who knows what was home in the heart? This is the feast of those who tried to take the path, so clumsily that no one knew or notice, the feast, indeed, of most of us. It's an ugly woods, I was saying to myself, padding along a trail where other walkers had broken ground before me. And then I found an extraordinary bouquet. Someone had bound an offering of dry seed pods, yew, lyme grass, red berries, and brown fern and laid it on the path: "nothing special," as Buddhists say, meaning "everything." Gathered to formality, each dry stalk proclaimed a slant, an attitude, infinite shades of neutral. All contemplative acts, silences, poems, honor the world this way. Brought together by the eye of love, a milkweed pod, a twig, allow us to see how things have been all along. A feast of being.
Mary Rose O'Reilley (The Barn at the End of the World: The Apprenticeship of a Quaker, Buddhist Shepherd)
Dear Deborah, Words do not come easily for so many men. We are taught to be strong, to provide, to put away our emotions. A father can work his way through his days and never see that his years are going by. If I could go back in time, I would say some things to that young father as he holds, somewhat uncertainly, his daughter for the very first time. These are the things I would say: When you hear the first whimper in the night, go to the nursery leaving your wife sleeping. Rock in a chair, walk the floor, sing a lullaby so that she will know a man can be gentle. When Mother is away for the evening, come home from work, do the babysitting. Learn to cook a hotdog or a pot of spaghetti, so that your daughter will know a man can serve another's needs. When she performs in school plays or dances in recitals, arrive early, sit in the front seat, devote your full attention. Clap the loudest, so that she will know a man can have eyes only for her. When she asks for a tree house, don't just build it, but build it with her. Sit high among the branches and talk about clouds, and caterpillars, and leaves. Ask her about her dreams and wait for her answers, so that she will know a man can listen. When you pass by her door as she dresses for a date, tell her she is beautiful. Take her on a date yourself. Open doors, buy flowers, look her in the eye, so that she will know a man can respect her. When she moves away from home, send a card, write a note, call on the phone. If something reminds you of her, take a minute to tell her, so that she will know a man can think of her even when she is away. Tell her you love her, so that she will know a man can say the words. If you hurt her, apologize, so that she will know a man can admit that he's wrong. These seem like such small things, such a fraction of time in the course of two lives. But a thread does not require much space. It can be too fine for the eye to see, yet, it is the very thing that binds, that takes pieces and laces them into a whole. Without it, there are tatters. It is never too late for a man to learn to stitch, to begin mending. These are the things I would tell that young father, if I could. A daughter grown up quickly. There isn't time to waste. I love you, Dad
Lisa Wingate (Dandelion Summer (Blue Sky Hill #4))
Dear Kai, The sun is probably streaming in through the big barn windows now, which means you're awake. And if you're awake, it means you're wondering where I went. I haven't run away from you, I promise. But I knew that today of all days, they'd need me in the house. Tatiana may be the head of our household now, but she's not the one our staff will look to in my mother's absence. And there is so much to do to prepare for the funeral. Also, I have to go tell my grandfather what has happened to his daughter. I don't want him to hear of her death from anyone but me. Thank you for last night. I wish I could say I don't know why you re the one I ran to,- you, Kai, not Tatiana or my father or even my grandfather. But I know why. And I have a confession to make. After you let me cry, after you let me sob and shout and choke on all that pain-after you did all that, and didn't say a word-I didn't fall asleep like you thought. Not right away. I lay there, wadded up into a ball, and you curved your body behind mine. You were barely touching me-your thigh against the edge of my hip, your arm draped lightly across my waist, your fingers entwined with mine. How many times have our hands touched, when we were passing each other tools or helping each other in and out of machines? Hundreds of times. Thousands. But last night was different. You cradled my hand in yours, palms up, our fingers curled in like a pair of fallen leaves. Fallen, maybe, but not dead. My hand never felt so alive. Every place you touched me sparked with energy. I couldn't sleep. Not like that. And so I bent my head, just the slightest bit, until my mouth reached our hands. I smelled the oil you never quite get off your fingers. I breathed in the scent of your skin. And then, as if that was all I was doing, just breathing, I let my bottom lip brush against your knuckle. Time stopped, I was sure you'd see through my ruse and pull away. I was sure you'd know that I was not asleep, that I was not just breathing. But you didn't move, so I did it again. And again. And in the third time, I let my top lip join my bottom. I kissed your hand, Kai. I didn't do it to thank you for letting me cry. For letting me sleep in your arms. I thought you should know. Yours, Elliot Dear Elliot, I know. When will I see you again? Yours, Kai
Diana Peterfreund (For Darkness Shows the Stars (For Darkness Shows the Stars, #1))
Countless words, yet none can express the pain when a mother passes away.
Shah Asad Rizvi
Birthdays are a time when one stock takes, which means, I suppose, a good spineless mope: I scan my horizon and can discern no sail of hope along my own particular ambition. I tell you what it is: I'm quite in accord with the people who enquire 'What is the matter with the man?' because I don't seem to be producing anything as the years pass but rank self indulgence. You know that my sole ambition, officially at any rate, was to write poems & novels, an activity I never found any difficulty fulfilling between the (dangerous) ages of 17-24: I can't very well ignore the fact that this seems to have died a natural death. On the other hand I feel regretful that what talents I have in this direction are not being used. Then again, if I am not going to produce anything in the literary line, the justification for my selfish life is removed - but since I go on living it, the suspicion arises that the writing existed to produce the life, & not vice versa. And as a life it has very little to recommend it: I spend my days footling in a job I care nothing about, a curate among lady-clerks; I evade all responsibility, familial, professional, emotional, social, not even saving much money or helping my mother. I look around me & I see people getting on, or doing things, or bringing up children - and here I am in a kind of vacuum. If I were writing, I would even risk the fearful old age of the Henry-James hero: not fearful in circumstance but in realisation: because to me to catch, render, preserve, pickle, distil or otherwise secure life-as-it-seemed for the future seems to me infinitely worth doing; but as I'm not the entire morality of it collapses. And when I ask why I'm not, well, I'm not because I don't want to: every novel I attempt stops at a point where I awake from the impulse as one might awake from a particularly-sickening nightmare - I don't want to 'create character', I don't want to be vivid or memorable or precise, I neither wish to bathe each scene in the lambency of the 'love that accepts' or be excoriatingly cruel, smart, vicious, 'penetrating' (ugh), or any of the other recoil qualities. In fact, like the man in St Mawr, I want nothing. Nothing, I want. And so it becomes quite impossible for me to carry on. This failure of impulse seems to me suspiciously like a failure of sexual impulse: people conceive novels and dash away at them & finish them in the same way as they fall in love & will not be satisfied till they're married - another point on which I seem to be out of step. There's something cold & heavy sitting on me somewhere, & until something budges it I am no good.
Philip Larkin (Philip Larkin: Letters to Monica)
What is the age of the soul of man? As she hath the virtue of the chameleon to change her hue at every new approach, to be gay with the merry and mournful with the downcast, so too is her age changeable as her mood. No longer is Leopold, as he sits there, ruminating, chewing the cud of reminiscence, that staid agent of publicity and holder of a modest substance in the funds. He is young Leopold, as in a retrospective arrangement, a mirror within a mirror (hey, presto!), he beholdeth himself. That young figure of then is seen, precociously manly, walking on a nipping morning from the old house in Clambrassil street to the high school, his booksatchel on him bandolierwise, and in it a goodly hunk of wheaten loaf, a mother's thought. Or it is the same figure, a year or so gone over, in his first hard hat (ah, that was a day!), already on the road, a fullfledged traveller for the family firm, equipped with an orderbook, a scented handkerchief (not for show only), his case of bright trinketware (alas, a thing now of the past!), and a quiverful of compliant smiles for this or that halfwon housewife reckoning it out upon her fingertips or for a budding virgin shyly acknowledging (but the heart? tell me!) his studied baisemoins. The scent, the smile but more than these, the dark eyes and oleaginous address brought home at duskfall many a commission to the head of the firm seated with Jacob's pipe after like labours in the paternal ingle (a meal of noodles, you may be sure, is aheating), reading through round horned spectacles some paper from the Europe of a month before. But hey, presto, the mirror is breathed on and the young knighterrant recedes, shrivels, to a tiny speck within the mist. Now he is himself paternal and these about him might be his sons. Who can say? The wise father knows his own child. He thinks of a drizzling night in Hatch street, hard by the bonded stores there, the first. Together (she is a poor waif, a child of shame, yours and mine and of all for a bare shilling and her luckpenny), together they hear the heavy tread of the watch as two raincaped shadows pass the new royal university. Bridie! Bridie Kelly! He will never forget the name, ever remember the night, first night, the bridenight. They are entwined in nethermost darkness, the willer and the willed, and in an instant (fiat!) light shall flood the world. Did heart leap to heart? Nay, fair reader. In a breath 'twas done but - hold! Back! It must not be! In terror the poor girl flees away through the murk. She is the bride of darkness, a daughter of night. She dare not bear the sunnygolden babe of day. No, Leopold! Name and memory solace thee not. That youthful illusion of thy strength was taken from thee and in vain. No son of thy loins is by thee. There is none to be for Leopold, what Leopold was for Rudolph.
James Joyce (Ulysses)
The day my mother died, I wrote in my journal, “A serious misfortune of my life has arrived.” I suffered for more than one year after the passing away of my mother. But one night, in the highlands of Vietnam, I was sleeping in the hut in my hermitage. I dreamed of my mother. I saw myself sitting with her, and we were having a wonderful talk. She looked young and beautiful, her hair flowing down. It was so pleasant to sit there and talk to her as if she had never died. When I woke up it was about two in the morning, and I felt very strongly that I had never lost my mother. The impression that my mother was still with me was very clear. I understood then that the idea of having lost my mother was just an idea. It was obvious in that moment that my mother is always alive in me.
Thich Nhat Hanh (No Death, No Fear: Comforting Wisdom for Life)
Clouds And Waves Mother, the folk who live up in the clouds call out to me- "We play from the time we wake till the day ends. We play with the golden dawn, we play with the silver moon." I ask, "But how am I to get up to you ?" They answer, "Come to the edge of the earth, lift up your hands to the sky, and you will be taken up into the clouds." "My mother is waiting for me at home, "I say, "How can I leave her and come?" Then they smile and float away. But I know a nicer game than that, mother. I shall be the cloud and you the moon. I shall cover you with both my hands, and our house-top will be the blue sky. The folk who live in the waves call out to me- "We sing from morning till night; on and on we travel and know not where we pass." I ask, "But how am I to join you?" They tell me, "Come to the edge of the shore and stand with your eyes tight shut, and you will be carried out upon the waves." I say, "My mother always wants me at home in the everything- how can I leave her and go?" They smile, dance and pass by. But I know a better game than that. I will be the waves and you will be a strange shore. I shall roll on and on and on, and break upon your lap with laughter. And no one in the world will know where we both are.
Rabindranath Tagore
It hurt so much when I lost my mother, I know how it feels.' Hilary told a friend whose mother had recently passed away. 'I will never get over it.' In a 2015 interview with ABC News, Hillary got emotional when she mentioned her mother, Dorothy Rodham, who died in 2011. Dorothy grew up in poverty and at eight years old she was sent from Chicago to California to live with her grandparents after her parents divorced. 'She told me every day you've got to get up and fight for what you believe in, no matter how hard it is. I think about her a lot, I miss her a lot. I wish she were her with me.
Kate Andersen Brower (First Women: The Grace and Power of America's Modern First Ladies)
I am totally lost in the folds of Love, totally free of worry and care. I have passed beyond the four qualities. My heart has torn away the veil of pretense. There was a time I circled with the nine spheres, rolling with the stars across the sky. There was a time I stayed by his side— I lived in his world and he gave me everything. With the best of intentions I became a prisoner in this form. How else did I get here? What crime did I commit? But I’d rather be in a prison with my Friend than in a rosegarden all alone. I came to this world To have a sight of Joseph’s purity. Like a baby born of its mother’s womb, I was brought here with blood and tears. People think they are born only once But they have been here so many times. In the cloak of this ragged body I have walked countless paths. How many times I have worn out this cloak! With ascetics in the desert I watched night turn into day. With pagans in the temple I slept at the foot of idols. I’ve been a charlatan and a king; I’ve been a healer, and fraught with disease. I’ve been on my death-bed so many times. . . . Floating up like the clouds Pouring down like the rain. As a darvish I sought the dust of annihilation but it never touched my robe. So I gathered armfuls of roses in this faded garden of existence. I am not of wind nor fire nor of the stormy seas. I am not formed out of painted clay. I am not even Shams-e Tabriz— I am the essence of laughter, I am pure light. Look again if you see me— It’s not me you have seen!
Rumi (Jalal ad-Din Muhammad ar-Rumi) (Rumi: In the Arms of the Beloved)
Mrs. Winterson didn't want her body resurrected because she had never, ever loved it, not even for a single minute of a single day But although she believed in End Time, she felt that the bodily resurrection was unscientific. When I asked her about this she told me she had seen Pathé newsreels of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and she knew all about Robert Oppenheimer and the Manhattan Project. She had lived through the war. Her brother had been in the air force, my dad had been in the army -- it was their life, not their history. She said that after the atomic bomb you couldn't believe in mass any more, it was all about energy. 'This life is all mass. When we go, we'll be all energy, that's all there is to it.' I have thought about this a lot over the years. She had understood something infinitely complex and absolutely simple. For her, in the Book of Revelation, the 'things of the world' that would pass away, 'heaven and earth rolled up like a scroll,' were demonstrations of the inevitable movement from mass to energy. Her uncle, her beloved mother's beloved brother, had been a scientist. She was an intelligent woman, and somewhere in the middle of the insane theology and the brutal politics, the flamboyant depression and the refusal of books, of knowledge, of life, she had watched the atomic bomb go off and realised that the true nature of the world is energy not mass. But she never understood that energy could have been her own true nature while she was alive. She did not need to be trapped in mass.
Jeanette Winterson (Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?)
It's sad but it is life. People come into this world from their mother's womb, they live and they smile. Hopefully, they love. And then one day they die. Their bodies are buried or burned and nothing is left but dust. Even the people who knew them pass away and no records exist that they ever lived. That is the story of humanity." "Jingo,
T.W. Piperbrook (The Last Refuge (The Last Survivors #5))
If I may say, Rich, your wife is looking lovelier with each passing day.” “You may,” Rich’s muffled words fell against the large red apple in his mouth. He carried a plate of various fresh fruit and the bowl of spaghetti Jace had pointed out earlier. He set the plates down and took the apple out of his mouth while he munched on a piece. “She can’t hear it enough times with the discomfort, aches, pains, bloating and cramping she feels.” “Why don’t you also share the gas, cravings and the sudden violent tendencies I get, honey?” Joanna said flippantly as she reached for the spaghetti. “Ah!” Rich smacked her hand away and moved the bowl out of her reach. He pushed the fruit bowl forward in its place. “That’s healthier for our kids.” “They want messy pasta right now.” “Tell them they don’t always get what they want.” “Their mother wants messy pasta right now.” “Tell her she doesn’t always get what she wants.” Joanna leaned forward, pursing her lips and raising her eyebrow. “Once the children are born, papa won’t be getting what he wants late at night when he gives me that “I’m in heat” look. I’m sure of that.” Rich’s hand on the apple froze. Slowly he chewed, looking up at Jace and Gael whose gazes had been volleying back and forth on the couple as they spoke. Reluctantly, he pushed the spaghetti bowl forward. He reached for the fruit bowl but winced when Joanna smacked his hand away and pulled both bowls in front of her.
Rae Lori (Within the Shadows of Mortals (Ashen Twilight #2))
And yet it seems so full of comfort and of strength, the night. In its great presence, our small sorrows creep away, ashamed. The day has been so full of fret and care, and our hearts have been so full of evil and bitter thoughts, and the world has seemed so hard and wrong to us. Then night, like some great loving mother, gently lays her hand upon our fevered head, and turns our little tear-stained face upto hers, and smiles, and though she does not speak, we know what she would say, and lay our hot flushed cheek against her bosom, and the pain is gone. Sometimes, our pain is very deep and real, and we stand before her very silent, because there is no language for our pain, only a moan. Night's heart is full of pity for us: she cannot ease our aching; she takes our hand in hers, and the little world grows very small and very far away beneath us, and borne on her dark wings, we pass for a moment into a mightier presence than her own, and in the wondrous light of that great presence, all human life's like a book before us, and we know that Pain and Sorrow are but the angels of God.
Jerome K. Jerome
What was it like when your mother passed away?” I asked Mimi. “I was twenty-eight years old. I had just given birth to John when I found out Mother had died from a stomach ulcer. A sudden infection. She had just made plans to come from Washington, D.C. to see him.” She paused. “I’ll never forget the telegram my sister Marion sent. I couldn’t believe it. It was so final. Suddenly, the world seemed very dark. I couldn’t imagine how I was going to live without her and I grieved deeply that she was never able to see her first grandchild. But I will tell you, Terry, you do get along. It isn’t easy. The void is always with you. But you will get by without your mother just fine and I promise you, you will become stronger and stronger each day.
Terry Tempest Williams (Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place)
She didn't say so aloud, but True thought that maybe all the things she started to forget as the days passed by were only a dream away. She believed that maybe with her photo near her head, it would attract her memories of her mother like a wish to a well. That if she were lucky enough, every night those photos would make the memories of her mother that much harder to forget.
Alexia D. Miller (Crystal Key: Door to a New World)
At the end of the forest the guardian angel pointed to the village and said: ‘There you will find your mother. She is sitting outside the house, thinking of you. Go now. From here on, you won’t be able to see me.’ The child went to the village, but it looked strange and unfamiliar to her. In among the houses she knew, there were others she had never seen before; the trees looked different, and there was no trace of damage the enemy had done. All was peaceful, the grain waved in the breeze, the meadows were green, the trees were laden with fruit. But she had no trouble recognizing her mother’s house, and when she came close, she saw an old, old woman with bowed head, sitting on the bench outside the door, enjoying the last rays of the evening sun that hung low over the forest. The old woman looked up, and when she saw the little girl she cried out in joyful amazement. ‘Ah, dear child. God has granted my last wish, to see you once again before I die.’ She kissed her and pressed her to her heart. And then the little girl heard that she had spent thirty years with Saint Joseph in the forest, though to her it had seemed like three days. All the fear and misery her mother had suffered during the great war had passed her by, and her whole life had been just one joyful moment. Her mother had thought wild beasts had torn her to pieces years ago, and yet deep in her heart she had hoped to catch at least a glimpse of her just as she was when she went away. And when she looked up, there stood the dear child, wearing the same little dress.
Maurice Sendak (Dear Mili)
On our particular mission, senior marines met with local school officials while the rest of us provided security or hung out with the schoolkids, playing soccer and passing out candy and school supplies. One very shy boy approached me and held out his hand. When I gave him a small eraser, his face briefly lit up with joy before he ran away to his family, holding his two-cent prize aloft in triumph. I have never seen such excitement on a child’s face. I don’t believe in epiphanies. I don’t believe in transformative moments, as transformation is harder than a moment. I’ve seen far too many people awash in a genuine desire to change only to lose their mettle when they realized just how difficult change actually is. But that moment, with that boy, was pretty close for me. For my entire life, I’d harbored resentment at the world. I was mad at my mother and father, mad that I rode the bus to school while other kids caught rides with friends, mad that my clothes didn’t come from Abercrombie, mad that my grandfather died, mad that we lived in a small house. That resentment didn’t vanish in an instant, but as I stood and surveyed the mass of children of a war-torn nation, their school without running water, and the overjoyed boy, I began to appreciate how lucky I was: born in the greatest country on earth, every modern convenience at my fingertips, supported by two loving hillbillies, and part of a family that, for all its quirks, loved me unconditionally. At that moment, I resolved to be the type of man who would smile when someone gave him an eraser. I haven’t quite made it there, but without that day in Iraq, I wouldn’t be trying. The
J.D. Vance (Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis)
There is one in this tribe too often miserable - a child bereaved of both parents. None cares for this child: she is fed sometimes, but oftener forgotten: a hut rarely receives her: the hollow tree and chill cavern are her home. Forsaken, lost, and wandering, she lives more with the wild beast and bird than with her own kind. Hunger and cold are her comrades: sadness hovers over, and solitude besets her round. Unheeded and unvalued, she should die: but she both lives and grows: the green wilderness nurses her, and becomes to her a mother: feeds her on juicy berry, on saccharine root and nut. There is something in the air of this clime which fosters life kindly: there must be something, too, in its dews, which heals with sovereign balm. Its gentle seasons exaggerate no passion, no sense; its temperature tends to harmony; its breezes, you would say, bring down from heaven the germ of pure thought, and purer feeling. Not grotesquely fantastic are the forms of cliff and foliage; not violently vivid the colouring of flower and bird: in all the grandeur of these forests there is repose; in all their freshness there is tenderness. The gentle charm vouchsafed to flower and tree, - bestowed on deer and dove, - has not been denied to the human nursling. All solitary, she has sprung up straight and graceful. Nature cast her features in a fine mould; they have matured in their pure, accurate first lines, unaltered by the shocks of disease. No fierce dry blast has dealt rudely with the surface of her frame; no burning sun has crisped or withered her tresses: her form gleams ivory-white through the trees; her hair flows plenteous, long, and glossy; her eyes, not dazzled by vertical fires, beam in the shade large and open, and full and dewy: above those eyes, when the breeze bares her forehead, shines an expanse fair and ample, - a clear, candid page, whereon knowledge, should knowledge ever come, might write a golden record. You see in the desolate young savage nothing vicious or vacant; she haunts the wood harmless and thoughtful: though of what one so untaught can think, it is not easy to divine. On the evening of one summer day, before the Flood, being utterly alone - for she had lost all trace of her tribe, who had wandered leagues away, she knew not where, - she went up from the vale, to watch Day take leave and Night arrive. A crag, overspread by a tree, was her station: the oak-roots, turfed and mossed, gave a seat: the oak-boughs, thick-leaved, wove a canopy. Slow and grand the Day withdrew, passing in purple fire, and parting to the farewell of a wild, low chorus from the woodlands. Then Night entered, quiet as death: the wind fell, the birds ceased singing. Now every nest held happy mates, and hart and hind slumbered blissfully safe in their lair. The girl sat, her body still, her soul astir; occupied, however, rather in feeling than in thinking, - in wishing, than hoping, - in imagining, than projecting. She felt the world, the sky, the night, boundlessly mighty. Of all things, herself seemed to herself the centre, - a small, forgotten atom of life, a spark of soul, emitted inadvertent from the great creative source, and now burning unmarked to waste in the heart of a black hollow. She asked, was she thus to burn out and perish, her living light doing no good, never seen, never needed, - a star in an else starless firmament, - which nor shepherd, nor wanderer, nor sage, nor priest, tracked as a guide, or read as a prophecy? Could this be, she demanded, when the flame of her intelligence burned so vivid; when her life beat so true, and real, and potent; when something within her stirred disquieted, and restlessly asserted a God-given strength, for which it insisted she should find exercise?
Charlotte Brontë (Shirley)
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
Another year passed on . The waves of time seemed long since to have swept away all trace of poor Mary Barton. But her husband still thought of her, although with a calm and quiet grief, in the silent watches of the night :And Mary would start from her hard-earned sleep,and think in her half dreamy, half awakened state, she saw her mother stand by her bed-side ,as she used to do 'in the days of long-ago'; with shaded candle and an expression of ineffable tenderness, while she looked on her sleeping child.
Elizabeth Gaskell
Finally, Elizabeth understood that she had been orphaned not once but twice when her mother passed away. She lost her father as surely as her mother on the day of her birth. All those years, she idealized the earl’s devotion to her mother’s memory and ignored the price she herself paid. She grew up a lonely child, envying a beloved spectral being and wishing someday for an undying, perfect love of her own in compensation.   Her next thought stunned her: she would never wish that childhood on any child of hers.
Miranda Davis (The Baron's Betrothal (Horsemen of the Apocalypse #2))
He stood hat in hand over the unmarked earth. This woman who had worked for his family fifty years. She had cared for his mother as a baby and she had worked for his family long before his mother was born and she had known and cared for the wild Grady boys who were his mother's uncles and who had all died so long ago and he stood holding his hat and he called her his abuela and he said goodbye to her in Spanish and then turned and put on his hat and turned his wet face to the wind and for a moment he held out his hands as if to steady himself or as if to bless the ground there or perhaps as if to slow the world that was rushing away and seemed to care nothing for the old or the young or rich or poor or dark or pale or he or she. Nothing for their struggles, nothing for their names. Nothing for the living or the dead. In four days' riding he crossed the Pecos at Iraan Texas and rode up out of the river breaks where the pumpjacks in the Yates Field ranged against the skyline rose and dipped like mechanical birds. Like great primitive birds welded up out of iron by hearsay in a land perhaps where such birds once had been…..The desert he rode was red and red the dust he raised, the small dust that powdered the legs of the horse he rode, the horse he led. In the evening a wind came up and reddened all the sky before him. There were few cattle in that country because it was barren country indeed yet he came at evening upon a solitary bull rolling in the dust against the bloodred sunset like an animal in sacrificial torment. The bloodred dust blew down out of the sun. He touched the horse with his heels and rode on. He rode with the sun coppering his face and the red wind blowing out of the west across the evening land and the small desert birds flew chittering among the dry bracken and horse and rider and horse passed on and their long shadows passed in tandem like the shadow of a single being. Passed and paled into the darkening land, the world to come.
Cormac McCarthy (All the Pretty Horses (The Border Trilogy, #1))
TO SLEEP A flock of sheep that leisurely pass by,   One after one; the sound of rain, and bees   Murmuring; the fall of rivers, winds and seas,   Smooth fields, white sheets of water, and pure sky;   I’ve thought of all by turns; and still I lie   Sleepless; and soon the small birds’ melodies   Must hear, first utter’d from my orchard trees;   And the first Cuckoo’s melancholy cry.   Even thus last night, and two nights more, I lay,   And could not win thee, Sleep! by any stealth:   So do not let me wear to night away:   Without Thee what is all the morning’s wealth?   Come, blessed barrier betwixt day and day,   Dear mother of fresh thoughts and joyous health!
William Wordsworth (The Complete Works of William Wordsworth: The Prelude, Lyrical Ballads, Poems Written In Youth, The Excursion and More)
Damn it, Jacob, I’m freezing my butt off.” “I came as fast as I could, considering I thought it would be wise to walk the last few yards.” Isabella whirled around, her smiling face lighting up the silvery night with more ease than the fullest of moons. She leapt up into his embrace, eagerly drinking in his body heat and affection. “I can see it now. ‘Daddy, tell me about your wedding day.’ ‘Well, son,’” she mocked, deepening her voice to his timbre and reflecting his accent uncannily, “’The first words out of your mother’s mouth were I’m freezing my butt off!’” “Very romantic, don’t you think?” he teased. “So, you think it will be a boy, then? Our first child?” “Well, I’m fifty percent sure.” “Wise odds. Come, little flower, I intend to marry you before the hour is up.” With that, he scooped her off her feet and carried her high against his chest. “Unfortunately, we are going to have to do this hike the hard way.” “As Legna tells it, that’s what you’re supposed to do.” “Yeah, well, I assure you a great many grooms have fudged that a little.” He reached to tuck her chilled face into the warm crook of his neck. “Surely the guests would know. It takes longer to walk than it does to fly . . . or whatever . . . out of the woods.” “This is true, little flower. But passing time in the solitude of the woods is not necessarily a difficult task for a man and woman about to be married.” “Jacob!” she gasped, laughing. “Some traditions are not necessarily publicized,” he teased. “You people are outrageous.” “Mmm, and if I had the ability to turn to dust right now, would you tell me no if I asked to . . . pass time with you?” Isabella shivered, but it was the warmth of his whisper and intent, not the cold, that made her do so. “Have I ever said no to you?” “No, but now would be a good time to start, or we will be late to our own wedding,” he chuckled. “How about no . . . for now?” she asked silkily, pressing her lips to the column on his neck beneath his long, loose hair. His fingers flexed on her flesh, his arms drawing her tighter to himself. He tried to concentrate on where he was putting his feet. “If that is going to be your response, Bella, then I suggest you stop teasing me with that wicked little mouth of yours before I trip and land us both in the dirt.” “Okay,” she agreed, her tongue touching his pulse. “Bella . . .” “Jacob, I want to spend the entire night making love to you,” she murmured. Jacob stopped in his tracks, taking a moment to catch his breath. “Okay, why is it I always thought it was the groom who was supposed to be having lewd thoughts about the wedding night while the bride took the ceremony more seriously?” “You started it,” she reminded him, laughing softly. “I am begging you, Isabella, to allow me to leave these woods with a little of my dignity intact.” He sighed deeply, turning his head to brush his face over her hair. “It does not take much effort from you to turn me inside out and rouse my hunger for you. If there is much more of your wanton taunting, you will be flushed warm and rosy by the time we reach that altar, and our guests will not have to be Mind Demons in order to figure out why.” “I’m sorry, you’re right.” She turned her face away from his neck. Jacob resumed his ritual walk for all of thirty seconds before he stopped again. “Bella . . .” he warned dangerously. “I’m sorry! It just popped into my head!” “What am I getting myself into?” he asked aloud, sighing dramatically as he resumed his pace. “Well, in about an hour, I hope it will be me.
Jacquelyn Frank (Jacob (Nightwalkers, #1))
Life sometimes is like tossing a coin in the air calling heads or tails, but it doesn’t matter what side it lands on; life goes on. It is hard when you’ve lost the will to fight because you’ve been fighting for so long. You are smothered by the pain. Mentally, you are drained. Physically, you are weak. Emotionally, you are weighed down. Spiritually, you do not have one tiny mustard seed of faith. The common denominator is that other people’s problems have clouded your mind with all of their negativity. You cannot feel anything; you are numb. You do not have the energy to surrender, and you choose not to escape because you feel safe when you are closed in. As you move throughout the day, you do just enough to get by. Your mindset has changed from giving it your all to—well, something is better than nothing. You move in slow motion like a zombie, and there isn’t any color, just black and white, with every now and then a shade of gray. You’ve shut everyone out and crawled back into the rabbit hole. Life passes you by as you feel like you cannot go on. You look around for help; for someone to take the pain away and to share your suffering, but no one is there. You feel alone, you drift away when you glance ahead and see that there are more uphill battles ahead of you. You do not have the option to turn around because all of the roads are blocked. You stand exactly where you are without making a step. You try to think of something, but you are emotionally bankrupt. Where do you go from here? You do not have a clue. Standing still isn’t helping because you’ve welcomed unwanted visitors; voices are in your head, asking, “What are you waiting for? Take the leap. Jump.” They go on to say, “You’ve had enough. Your burdens are too heavy.” You walk towards the cliff; you turn your head and look at the steep hill towards the mountain. The view isn’t helping; not only do you have to climb the steep hill, but you have to climb up the mountain too. You take a step; rocks and dust fall off the cliff. You stumble and you move forward. The voices in your head call you a coward. You are beginning to second-guess yourself because you want to throw in the towel. You close your eyes; a tear falls and travels to your chin. As your eyes are closed the Great Divine’s voice is louder; yet, calmer, soothing; and you feel peace instantly. Your mind feels light, and your body feels balanced. The Great Divine whispers gently and softly in your ear: “Fallen Warrior, I know you have given everything you’ve got, and you feel like you have nothing left to give. Fallen Warrior, I know it’s been a while since you smiled. Fallen Warrior, I see that you are hurting, and I feel your pain. Fallen Warrior, this is not the end. This is the start of your new beginning. Fallen Warrior, do not doubt My or your abilities; you have more going for you than you have going against you. Fallen Warrior, keep moving, you have what it takes; perseverance is your middle name. Fallen Warrior, you are not the victim! You are the victor! You step back because you know why you are here. You know why you are alive. Sometimes you have to be your own Shero. As a fallen warrior, you are human; and you have your moments. There are days when you have more ups than downs, and some days you have more downs than ups. I most definitely can relate. I was floating through life, but I had to change my mindset. During my worst days, I felt horrible, and when I started to think negatively I felt like I was dishonoring myself. I felt sick, I felt afraid, fear began to control my every move. I felt like demons were trying to break in and take over my life.
Charlena E. Jackson (A Woman's Love Is Never Good Enough)
What he did there was, if one were to make a story of it to someone, absolutely nothing. It was fall, and in the mountains the early-autumn sun has a power of its own; mornings it lifted him up and bore him to some tree high up on the slopes, from beneath which one looked into the far distance, for in spite of his heavy hiking boots he was really not conscious of walking. In the same self-forgetful way he changed his location several times during the day and read a little in a few books he had with him. Nor was he really thinking, although he felt his mind more deeply agitated than usual, for his thoughts did not shake themselves up as they usually do, so that a new idea is always landing on top of the pyramid of the earlier ones while the ones at the bottom are becoming more and more compacted until finally they fuse with flesh, blood, skull case, and the tendons supporting the muscles, but his insights came like a jet into a full vessel, in endless overflowing and renewal, or they passed in an everlasting progression like clouds through the sky in which nothing changes, not the blue depths and not the soundless swimming of those mother-of-pearl fish. It could happen that an animal came out of the woods, observed Ulrich, and slowly bounded away without anything changing; that a cow grazed nearby, or a person went past, without any more happening than a beat of the pulse, twin to all the others of the stream of life that softly pounds without end against the walls of the understanding.
Robert Musil (The Man Without Qualities)
Dear—Prince,” she started haltingly. She’d never prayed to a Fate, and she didn’t want to get it wrong. “I’m here because my parents are dead.” Evangeline cringed. That was not how she was supposed to start. “What I meant to say was, my parents have both passed away. I lost my mother a couple of years ago. Then I lost my father last season. Now I’m about to lose the boy that I love. “Luc Navarro—” Her throat closed as she said the name and pictured his crooked smile. Maybe if he’d been plainer, or poorer, or crueler, none of this would have happened. “We’ve been seeing each other in secret. I was supposed to be in mourning for my father. Then, a little over two weeks ago, on the day that Luc and I were going to tell our families we were in love, my stepsister, Marisol, announced that she and Luc were getting married.” Evangeline paused to close her eyes. This part still made her head spin. Quick engagements weren’t uncommon. Marisol was pretty, and although she was reserved, she was also kind—so much kinder than Evangeline’s stepmother, Agnes. But Evangeline had never even seen Luc in the same room as Marisol. “I know how this sounds, but Luc loves me. I believe he’s been cursed. He hasn’t spoken to me since the engagement was announced—he won’t even see me. I don’t know how she did it, but I’m certain this is all my stepmother’s doing.” Evangeline didn’t actually have any proof that Agnes was a witch and she’d cast a curse on Luc. But Evangeline was certain her stepmother had learned of Evangeline’s relationship with Luc and she’d wanted Luc, and the title he’d someday inherit, for her daughter instead. “Agnes has resented me ever since my father died. I’ve tried talking to Marisol about Luc. Unlike my stepmother, I don’t think Marisol would ever intentionally hurt me. But every time I try to open my mouth, the words won’t come out, as if they’re also cursed or I’m cursed. So I’m here, begging for your help. The wedding is today, and I need you to stop it.” Evangeline opened her eyes. The lifeless statue hadn’t changed. She knew statues didn’t generally move. Yet she couldn’t help but think that it should have done something—shifted or spoken or moved its marble eyes. “Please, I know you understand heartbreak. Stop Luc from marrying Marisol. Save my heart from breaking again.
Stephanie Garber (Once Upon a Broken Heart (Once Upon a Broken Heart, #1))
[On Thornton Wilder's Our Town] "I can't look at everything hard enough": The tragedy is that, while we're alive, we don't view our days in the knowledge that all things must pass. We don't--we can't--value our lives, our loved ones, with the urgent knowledge that they'll one day be gone forever. Emily notices with despair that she and her mother barely look at one another, and she laments our self-possession, our distractedness, the million things that keep us from each other. "Oh, Mama," she cries, "just look at me one minute as though you really saw me. . . . Let's look at one another." But other and daughter remain self-absorbed, each in a private sea of her own thoughts, and that moment of recognition, of connection, never comes. Eventually, Emily has to turn away.
Joe Fassler (Light the Dark: Writers on Creativity, Inspiration, and the Artistic Process)
At a talk I gave at a church months later, I spoke about Charlie and the plight of incarcerated children. Afterward, an older married couple approached me and insisted that they had to help Charlie. I tried to dissuade these kind people from thinking they could do anything, but I gave them my card and told them they could call me. I didn't expect to hear from them, but within days they called, and they were persistent. We eventually agreed that they would write a letter to Charlie and send it to me to pass on to him. When I received the letter weeks later, I read it. It was remarkable. Mr. and Mrs. Jennings were a white couple in their mid-seventies from a small community northeast of Birmingham. They were kind and generous people who were active in their local United Methodist church. They never missed a Sunday service and were especially drawn to children in crisis. They spoke softly and always seemed to be smiling but never appeared to be anything less than completely genuine and compassionate. They were affectionate with each other in a way that was endearing, frequently holding hands and leaning into each other. They dressed like farmers and owned ten acres of land, where they grew vegetables and lived simply. Their one and only grandchild, whom they had helped raise, had committed suicide when he was a teenager, and they had never stopped grieving for him. Their grandson struggled with mental health problems during his short life, but he was a smart kid and they had been putting money away to send him to college. They explained in their letter that they wanted to use the money they'd saved for their grandson to help Charlie. Eventually, Charlie and this couple began corresponding with one another, building up to the day when the Jenningses met Charlie at the juvenile detention facility. They later told me that they "loved him instantly." Charlie's grandmother had died a few months after she first called me, and his mother was still struggling after the tragedy of the shooting and Charlie's incarceration. Charlie had been apprehensive about meeting with the Jenningses because he thought they wouldn't like him, but he told me after they left how much they seemed to care about him and how comforting that was. The Jenningses became his family. At one point early on, I tried to caution them against expecting too much from Charlie after his release. 'You know, he's been through a lot. I'm not sure he can just carry on as if nothing has ever happened. I want you to understand he may not be able to do everything you'd like him to do.' They never accepted my warnings. Mrs. Jennings was rarely disagreeable or argumentative, but I had learned that she would grunt when someone said something she didn't completely accept. She told me, 'We've all been through a lot, Bryan, all of us. I know that some have been through more than others. But if we don't expect more from each other, hope better for one another, and recover from the hurt we experience, we are surely doomed.' The Jenningses helped Charlie get his general equivalency degree in detention and insisted on financing his college education. They were there, along with his mother, to take him home when he was released.
Bryan Stevenson (Just Mercy)
when male whales sing, those who have the most complex songs are the ones who get the females. On the contrary, in the elephant world, a musth male will mate with anyone he can; it’s the female who sings, and it’s out of biological necessity. A female elephant is in estrus for only six days, and the only available males may be miles away. Pheromones don’t work at those distances, so she has to do something else to attract potential mates. It has been proven that whale songs are passed down from generation to generation, that they exist in all the oceans of the world. I have always wondered if the same holds true for elephants. If the calves of elephants learn the estrus song from their older female relatives during mating season, so that when it’s their own turn, they know how to sing to attract the strongest, fiercest males. If, by doing this, the daughters learn from their mothers’ mistakes.
Jodi Picoult (Leaving Time)
In the land of Uz, there lived a man, righteous and God-fearing, and he had great wealth, so many camels, so many sheep and asses, and his children feasted, and he loved them very much and prayed for them. 'It may be that my sons have sinned in their feasting.' Now the devil came before the Lord together with the sons of God, and said to the Lord that he had gone up and down the earth and under the earth. 'And hast thou considered my servant Job?' God asked of him. And God boasted to the devil, pointing to his great and holy servant. And the devil laughed at God's words. 'Give him over to me and Thou wilt see that Thy servant will murmur against Thee and curse Thy name.' And God gave up the just man He loved so, to the devil. And the devil smote his children and his cattle and scattered his wealth, all of a sudden like a thunderbolt from heaven. And Job rent his mantel and fell down upon the ground and cried aloud, 'Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return into the earth; the Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord for ever and ever.' Fathers and teachers, forgive my tears now, for all my childhood rises up again before me, and I breathe now as I breathed then, with the breast of a little child of eight, and I feel as I did then, awe and wonder and gladness. The camels at that time caught my imagination, and Satan, who talked like that with God, and God who gave His servant up to destruction, and His servant crying out: 'Blessed be Thy name although Thou dost punish me,' and then the soft and sweet singing in the church: 'Let my prayer rise up before Thee,' and again incense from the priest's censer and the kneeling and the prayer. Ever since then - only yesterday I took it up - I've never been able to read that sacred tale without tears. And how much that is great, mysterious and unfathomable there is in it! Afterwards I heard the words of mockery and blame, proud words, 'How could God give up the most loved of His saints for the diversion of the devil, take from him his children, smite him with sore boils so that he cleansed the corruption from his sores with a pot-sherd - and for no object except to board to the devil! 'See what My saint can suffer for My Sake.' ' But the greatness of it lies just in the fact that it is a mystery - that the passing earthly show and the eternal verity are brought together in it. In the face of the earthly truth, the eternal truth is accomplished. The Creator, just as on the first days of creation He ended each day with praise: 'That is good that I have created,' looks upon Job and again praises His creation. And Job, praising the Lord, serves not only Him but all His creation for generations and generations, and for ever and ever, since for that he was ordained. Good heavens, what a book it is, and what lessons there are in it! What a book the Bible is, what a miracle, what strength is given with it to man! It is like a mold cast of the world and man and human nature, everything is there, and a law for everything for all the ages. And what mysteries are solved and revealed! God raises Job again, gives him wealth again. Many years pass by, and he has other children and loves them. But how could he love those new ones when those first children are no more, when he has lost them? Remembering them, how could he be fully happy with those new ones, however dear the new ones might be? But he could, he could. It's the great mystery of human life that old grief passes gradually into quiet, tender joy. The mild serenity of age takes the place of the riotous blood of youth. I bless the rising such each day, and, as before, my heart sings to meet it, but now I love even more its setting, its long slanting rays and the soft, tender, gentle memories that come with them, the dear images from the whole of my long, happy life - and over all the Divine Truth, softening, reconciling, forgiving!
Fyodor Dostoevsky (The Brothers Karamazov)
You don’t have to sleep on the floor. I know it’s uncomfortable.” “I think I owe you more than a night on the floor.” “You broke your arm tonight. It’ll be stiff, even if you healed it. I don’t want my ally wounded.” She knew, after all the ways she’d flirted with him before, that any invitation could be misconstrued. Especially in a bed with little space between them, entirely in the dark. But there was no misconstruing the way her stomach somersaulted when she felt the mattress shift as he sat down. When he lay beside her and warmth like fire spread through her from her head to her toes. Nothing good would come of this. This was Alistair Lowe, she reminded herself. The one everyone had declared her greatest rival. The boy her mother had warned her about. After they’d slain all the other champions—her ex-best friend among them—it would only be the two of them left. Maybe that would be months from now. Maybe it would be days. But that was what this alliance led up to. Not a kiss stolen in the dark, or a priceless gift given without being asked. A duel. Sobered, Isobel turned so her back was to him. Several minutes had passed, and Alistair hadn’t moved. She wasn’t even sure if he was still awake. “Tell me a monster story,” she whispered. He stirred, then drowsily murmured, “Have you ever heard of a nightcreeper?” “I haven’t.” “They’re drawn to places with complete darkness because their bodies are made of shadow.” Isobel noted the complete darkness around them and slid deeper beneath the blankets. “They can see in the darkness no better than you can, but their eyes are burned away by the faintest light. That’s what they search for—eyes. New ones that don’t scorch in the daylight, that they pluck out and use to replace their own. So they can finally feast outside.” Isobel’s dread receded, her fears replaced by make-believe ones. When she did fall asleep, she didn’t dream of Briony’s demise. She didn’t dream of how it would feel to kiss Alistair or to curse him. She dreamed of fears that, for once, felt surmountable.
Amanda Foody, christine lynn Herman (All of Us Villains (All of Us Villains, #1))
When we walk to church on Sunday morning down Broadway,” her mother said, cheeks red in her light brown skin, “you see the dirty men with their shirts all out their pants, drinking the devil’s liquor and stinking to high heaven when good people are going to church. Do you know what they’ve been doing all night?” “No, ma’am.” She did know, because now this discipline had wound its way down the hills away from the music and into a familiar body, and Jennifer was well acquainted with its currents and undertow. She knew all about the good-for-nothing niggers who passed bottles back and forth and were an eyesore. But it seemed best to feign ignorance. “Staying up all night drinking and listening to music like this!” her mother screeched. “Because they are good-for-nothing niggers who don’t care about making a better life for themselves. They want to stay up all night and carry on and pretend that just because they don’t have to pick cotton they have no more duties to attend to. We can’t do anything about good-for-nothing niggers who don’t want to take their place in America, but we can watch ourselves.
Colson Whitehead (John Henry Days)
And now, for the first time, the Lion was quite silent. He was going to and fro among the animals. And every now and then he would go up to two of them (always two at a time) and touch their noses with his. He would touch two beavers among all the beavers, two leopards among all the leopards, one stag and one deer among all the deer, and leave the rest. Some sorts of animal he passed over altogether. But the pairs which he had touched instantly left their own kinds and followed him. At last he stood still and all the creatures whom he had touched came and stood in a wide circle around him. The others whom he had not touched began to wander away. Their noises faded gradually into the distance. The chosen beasts who remained were now utterly silent, all with their eyes fixed intently upon the Lion. The cat-like ones gave an occasional twitch of the tail but otherwise all were still. For the first time that day there was complete silence, except for the noise of running water. Digory’s heart beat wildly; he knew something very solemn was going to be done. He had not forgotten about his Mother, but he knew jolly well that, even for her, he couldn’t interrupt a thing like this. The Lion, whose eyes never blinked, stared at the animals as hard as if he was going to burn them up with his mere stare. And gradually a change came over them. The smaller ones—the rabbits, moles, and such-like—grew a good deal larger. The very big ones—you noticed it most with the elephants—grew a little smaller. Many animals sat up on their hind legs. Most put their heads on one side as if they were trying very hard to understand. The Lion opened his mouth, but no sound came from it; he was breathing out, a long, warm breath; it seemed to sway all the beasts as the wind sways a line of trees. Far overhead from beyond the veil of blue sky which hid them the stars sang again; a pure, cold, difficult music. Then there came a swift flash like fire (but it burnt nobody) either from the sky or from the Lion itself, and every drop of blood tingled in the children’s bodies, and the deepest, wildest voice they had ever heard was saying: “Narnia, Narnia, Narnia, awake. Love. Think. Speak. Be walking trees. Be talking beasts. Be divine waters.
C.S. Lewis (The Chronicles of Narnia Complete 7-Book Collection: The Classic Fantasy Adventure Series (Official Edition))
The Bad-Moon Girls appear on days when Dad doesn't know what he is thinking, or even if he is thinking. Those days can weigh less than air or more than an ocean. He has blank thoughts without feelings, followed by heavy feelings without thoughts. Time means nothing. A minute ticks by in the same rhythm as an entire day. He can look at one thing for an hour without moving. He can see me or Victor without knowing we are in the room, peering at us as if we are underwater, moving in warped slow motion. After the nothingness, he wades through a stagnant lake with the moon reflected in it, waiting for the daylight to rinse it away. He almost drowns while time ticks on. The sky is filled with black milk. No stars. Two days can pass before he surfaces. Dad's brain-switch, the focusing thing the rest of us switch on to make things look better, is a bit buggered. Those are his words, not mine. The Bad-Moon Girls whisper evil in Dad's ear, the sort of women who would set their own mother on fire if there were no other way to light their cigarettes. The trouble is, they can follow. Just as we were setting off to Clacton last autumn, they hunted him down.
Joanna Campbell (Tying Down the Lion)
Despite the rocky start, I wound up enjoying a beautiful day on the ranch with Marlboro Man and his parents. I didn’t ride a horse--my legs were still shaky from my near-murder of his mother earlier in the day--but I did get to watch Marlboro Man ride his loyal horse Blue as I rode alongside him in a feed truck with one of the cowboys, who gifted me right off the bat with an ice-cold Dr. Pepper. I felt welcome on the ranch that day, felt at home, and before long the memory of my collision with a gravel ditch became but a faint memory--that is, when Marlboro Man wasn’t romantically whispering sweet nothings like “Drive much?” softly into my ear. And when the day of work came to an end, I felt I knew Marlboro Man just a little better. As the four of us rode away from the pens together, we passed the sad sight of my Toyota Camry resting crookedly in the ditch where it had met its fate. “I’ll run you home, Ree,” Marlboro Man said. “No, no…just stop here,” I insisted, trying my darnedest to appear strong and independent. “I’ll bet I can get it going.” Everyone in the pickup burst into hysterical laughter. I wouldn’t be driving myself anywhere for a while.
Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels)
What young people didn’t know, she thought, lying down beside this man, his hand on her shoulder, her arm; oh, what young people did not know. They did not know that lumpy, aged, and wrinkled bodies were as needy as their own young, firm ones, that love was not to be tossed away carelessly, as if it were a tart on a platter with others that got passed around again. No, if love was available, one chose it, or didn’t choose it. And if her platter had been full with the goodness of Henry and she had found it burdensome, had flicked it off crumbs at a time, it was because she had not known what one should know: that day after day was unconsciously squandered. And so, if this man next to her now was not a man she would have chosen before this time, what did it matter? He most likely wouldn’t have chosen her either. But here they were, and Olive pictured two slices of Swiss cheese pressed together, such holes they brought to this union—what pieces life took out of you. Her eyes were closed, and throughout her tired self swept waves of gratitude—and regret. She pictured the sunny room, the sun-washed wall, the bayberry outside. It baffled her, the world. She did not want to leave it yet. For my mother who can make life magical and is the best storyteller I know
Elizabeth Strout (Olive Kitteridge)
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)
I pull into the driveway outside of my father's house and shut off the engine. I sit behind the wheel for a moment, studying the house. He'd called me last night and demanded that I come over for dinner tonight. Didn't request. He demanded. What struck me though, was that he sounded a lot more stressed out and harried than he did when he interrupted my brunch with Gabby to demand my presence at a “family”dinner. Yeah, that had been a fun night filled with my father and Ian badgering me about my job. For whatever reason, they'd felt compelled to make a concerted effort to belittle what I do –more so than they usually do anyway -- try to undermine my confidence in my ability to teach, and all but demand that I quit and come to work for my father's company. That had been annoying, and although they were more insistent than normal, it's pretty par for the course with those two. They always think they know what's best for me and have no qualms about telling me how to live my life. When he'd called me last night though, and told me to come to dinner tonight, there was something in my father's voice that had rattled me. It took me a while to put a finger on what it was I heard in his voice, but when I figured it out, it really shook me. I heard fear. Outright fear. My father isn't a man who fears much or is easily intimidated. In fact, he's usually the one doing the intimidating. But, something has him really spooked and even though we don't always see eye-to-eye or get along, hearing that fear in his voice scared me. In all my years, I've never known him to sound so downright terrified. With a sigh and a deep sense of foreboding, I climb out of my car and head to the door, trying to steel myself more with each step. Call me psychic, but I have a feeling that this is going to be a long, miserable night. “Good evening, Miss Holly,”Gloria says as she opens the door before I even have a chance to knock. “Nice to see you again.”“It's nice to see you too, Gloria,”I say and smile with genuine affection. Gloria has been with our family for as far back as I can remember. Honestly, after my mother passed away from ovarian cancer, Gloria took a large role in raising me. My father had plunged himself into his work –and had taken Ian under his wing to help groom him to take over the empire one day –leaving me to more or less fend for myself. It was like I was a secondary consideration to them. Because I'm a girl and not part of the testosterone-rich world of construction, neither my father nor Ian took much interest in me or my life. Unless they needed something from me, of course. The only time they really paid any attention to me was when they needed me to pose for family pictures for company literature.
R.R. Banks (Accidentally Married (Anderson Brothers, #1))
You can make quite a life for yourself hosting charity dinners and collecting art. You can find a way to be happy with whatever the truth is. Until your daughter dies. Connor was diagnosed with late-stage breast cancer two and a half years ago, when she was thirty-nine. She was given months to live. I knew what it was like to realize that the one you love would leave this earth well before you. But nothing could prepare me for the pain of watching my child suffer. I held her when she puked from the chemo. I wrapped her in blankets when she was so cold she was crying. I kissed her forehead like she was my baby again, because she was forever my baby. I told her every single day that her life had been the world’s greatest gift to me, that I believed I was put on earth not to make movies or wear emerald-green gowns and wave at crowds but to be her mother. I sat next to her hospital bed. “Nothing I have ever done,” I said, “has made me as proud as the day I gave birth to you.” “I know,” she said. “I’ve always known that.” I had made a point of not bullshitting her ever since her father died. We had the sort of relationship where we believed each other, believed in each other. She knew she was loved. She knew that she had changed my life, that she had changed the world. She made it eighteen months before she passed away. And when they put her in the ground next to her father, I broke like I have never broken before. The devastating luxury of panic overtook me. And it has never left.
Taylor Jenkins Reid (The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo)
The next bit is the fairy tale. There’s a day in April when it’s raining. The river is running fast. The girl whose father had died, whose mother raised her in the crooked house by the river, who grew up with that broken part inside where your father has died and which if you’re a girl and your father was Spencer Tracy you can’t fix or unhurt, that girl who yet found in herself some kind of forbearance and strength and was not bitter, whose name was Mary MacCarroll and who was beautiful without truly knowing it and had her mother and father’s dancing and pride in her, that girl walked the riverbank in the April rain. And standing at that place in Shaughnessy’s called Fisher’s Step, where the ground sort of raises a little and sticks out over the Shannon, right there, the place which in The Salmon in Ireland Abraham Swain says salmon pass daily and though it’s treacherous he calls a blessed little spot, right there, looking like a man who had been away a long time and had come back with what in Absalom, Absalom! (Book 1,666, Penguin Classics, London) William Faulkner calls diffident and tentative amazement, as if he’d been through some solitary furnace experience, and come out the other side, standing right there, suntanned face, pale-blue eyes that look like they are peering through smoke, lips pressed together, aged twenty-nine but looking older, back in Ireland less than two weeks, the ocean-motion still in his legs but strangely the river now lending him a river repose, standing right there, was Virgil Swain.
Niall Williams (History of the Rain)
Mom,” Vaughn said. “I’m sure Sidney doesn’t want to be interrogated about her personal life.” Deep down, Sidney knew that Vaughn—who’d obviously deduced that she’d been burned in the past—was only trying to be polite. But that was the problem, she didn’t want him to be polite, as if she needed to be shielded from such questions. That wasn’t any better than the damn “Poor Sidney” head-tilt. “It’s okay, I don’t mind answering.” She turned to Kathleen. “I was seeing someone in New York, but that relationship ended shortly before I moved to Chicago.” “So now that you’re single again, what kind of man are you looking for? Vaughn?” Kathleen pointed. “Could you pass the creamer?” He did so, then turned to look once again at Sidney. His lips curved at the corners, the barest hint of a smile. He was daring her, she knew, waiting for her to back away from his mother’s questions. She never had been very good at resisting his dares. “Actually, I have a list of things I’m looking for.” Sidney took a sip of her coffee. Vaughn raised an eyebrow. “You have a list?” “Yep.” “Of course you do.” Isabelle looked over, surprised. “You never told me about this.” “What kind of list?” Kathleen asked interestedly. “It’s a test, really,” Sidney said. “A list of characteristics that indicate whether a man is ready for a serious relationship. It helps weed out the commitment-phobic guys, the womanizers, and any other bad apples, so a woman can focus on the candidates with more long-term potential.” Vaughn rolled his eyes. “And now I’ve heard it all.” “Where did you find this list?” Simon asked. “Is this something all women know about?” “Why? Worried you won’t pass muster?” Isabelle winked at him. “I did some research,” Sidney said. “Pulled it together after reading several articles online.” “Lists, tests, research, online dating, speed dating—I can’t keep up with all these things you kids are doing,” Adam said, from the head of the table. “Whatever happened to the days when you’d see a girl at a restaurant or a coffee shop and just walk over and say hello?” Vaughn turned to Sidney, his smile devilish. “Yes, whatever happened to those days, Sidney?” She threw him a look. Don’t be cute. “You know what they say—it’s a jungle out there. Nowadays a woman has to make quick decisions about whether a man is up to par.” She shook her head mock reluctantly. “Sadly, some guys just won’t make the cut.” “But all it takes is one,” Isabelle said, with a loving smile at her fiancé. Simon slid his hand across the table, covering hers affectionately. “The right one.” Until he nails his personal trainer. Sidney took another sip of her coffee, holding back the cynical comment. She didn’t want to spoil Isabelle and Simon’s idyllic all-you-need-is-love glow. Vaughn cocked his head, looking at the happy couple. “Aw, aren’t you two just so . . . cheesy.” Kathleen shushed him. “Don’t tease your brother.” “What? Any moment, I’m expecting birds and little woodland animals to come in here and start singing songs about true love, they’re so adorable.” Sidney laughed out loud. Quickly, she bit her lip to cover.
Julie James (It Happened One Wedding (FBI/US Attorney, #5))
You know,” I said, “you don’t owe New Fiddleham anything. You don’t need to help them.” “Look,” Charlie said as we clipped past Market Street. He was pointing at a man delicately painting enormous letters onto a broad window as we passed. NONNA SANTORO’S, it read, although the RO’S was still just an outline. “That Italian restaurant?” “Yes,” he smiled. “They will be opening their doors for the first time very soon. Sweet family. I bought my first meal in New Fiddleham from that man. A couple of meatballs from a street cart were about all I could afford at the time. He’s an immigrant, too. He’s going to do well. His red sauce is amazing.” “That’s grand for him, then,” I said. “I like it when doors open,” said Charlie. “Doors are opening in New Fiddleham every day. It is a remarkable time to be alive anywhere, really. Do you think our parents could ever have imagined having machines that could wash dishes, machines that could sew, machines that do laundry? Pretty soon we’ll be taking this trolley ride without any horses. I’ve heard that Glanville has electric streetcars already. Who knows what will be possible fifty years from now, or a hundred. Change isn’t always so bad.” “Your optimism is both baffling and inspiring,” I said. “The sun is rising,” he replied with a little chuckle. I glanced at the sky. It was well past noon. “It’s just something my sister and I used to say,” he clarified. “I think you would like Alina. You often remind me of her. She has a way of refusing to let the world keep her down.” He smiled and his gaze drifted away, following the memory. “Alina found a rolled-up canvas once,” he said, “a year or so after our mother passed away. It was an oil painting—a picture of the sun hanging low over a rippling ocean. She was a beautiful painter, our mother. I could tell that it was one of hers, but I had never seen it before. It felt like a message, like she had sent it, just for us to find. “I said that it was a beautiful sunset, and Alina said no, it was a sunrise. We argued about it, actually. I told her that the sun in the picture was setting because it was obviously a view from our camp near Gelendzhik, overlooking the Black Sea. That would mean the painting was looking to the west. “Alina said that it didn’t matter. Even if the sun is setting on Gelendzhik, that only means that it is rising in Bucharest. Or Vienna. Or Paris. The sun is always rising somewhere. From then on, whenever I felt low, whenever I lost hope and the world felt darkest, Alina would remind me: the sun is rising.” “I think I like Alina already. It’s a heartening philosophy. I only worry that it’s wasted on this city.” “A city is just people,” Charlie said. “A hundred years from now, even if the roads and buildings are still here, this will still be a whole new city. New Fiddleham is dying, every day, but it is also being constantly reborn. Every day, there is new hope. Every day, the sun rises. Every day, there are doors opening.” I leaned in and kissed him on the cheek. “When we’re through saving the world,” I said, “you can take me out to Nonna Santoro’s. I have it on good authority that the red sauce is amazing.” He blushed pink and a bashful smile spread over his face. “When we’re through saving the world, Miss Rook, I will hold you to that.
William Ritter (The Dire King (Jackaby, #4))
The Negro had never really been patient in the pure sense of the word. The posture of silent waiting was forced upon him psychologically because he was shackled physically. In the days of slavery, this suppression was openly, scientifically and consistently applied. Sheer physical force kept the Negro captive at every point. He was prevented from learning to read and write, prevented by laws actually inscribed in the statute books. He was forbidden to associate with other Negroes living on the same plantation, except when weddings or funerals took place. Punishment for any form of resistance or complaint about his condition could range from mutilation to death. Families were torn apart, friends separated, cooperation to improve their condition carefully thwarted. Fathers and mothers were sold from their children and children were bargained away from their parents. Young girls were, in many cases, sold to become the breeders of fresh generations of slaves. The slaveholders of America had devised with almost scientific precision their systems for keeping the Negro defenseless, emotionally and physically. With the ending of physical slavery after the Civil War, new devices were found to "keep the Negro in his place." It would take volumes to describe these methods, extending from birth in jim-crow hospitals through burial in jim-crow sections of cemeteries. They are too well known to require a catalogue here. Yet one of the revelations during the past few years is the fact that the straitjackets of race prejudice and discrimination do not wear only southern labels. The subtle, psychological technique of the North has approached in its ugliness and victimization of the Negro the outright terror and open brutality of the South. The result has been a demeanor that passed for patience in the eyes of the white man, but covered a powerful impatience in the heart of the Negro.
Martin Luther King Jr. (Why We Can't Wait)
It was a glorious night. The moon had sunk, and left the quiet earth alone with the stars. It seemed as if, in the silence and the hush, while we her children slept, they were talking with her, their sister—conversing of mighty mysteries in voices too vast and deep for childish human ears to catch the sound. They awe us, these strange stars, so cold, so clear. We are as children whose small feet have strayed into some dim-lit temple of the god they have been taught to worship but know not; and, standing where the echoing dome spans the long vista of the shadowy light, glance up, half hoping, half afraid to see some awful vision hovering there. And yet it seems so full of comfort and of strength, the night. In its great presence, our small sorrows creep away, ashamed. The day has been so full of fret and care, and our hearts have been so full of evil and of bitter thoughts, and the world has seemed so hard and wrong to us. Then Night, like some great loving mother, gently lays her hand upon our fevered head, and turns our little tear-stained faces up to hers, and smiles; and, though she does not speak, we know what she would say, and lay our hot flushed cheek against her bosom, and the pain is gone. Sometimes, our pain is very deep and real, and we stand before her very silent, because there is no language for our pain, only a moan. Night’s heart is full of pity for us: she cannot ease our aching; she takes our hand in hers, and the little world grows very small and very far away beneath us, and, borne on her dark wings, we pass for a moment into a mightier Presence than her own, and in the wondrous light of that great Presence, all human life lies like a book before us, and we know that Pain and Sorrow are but the angels of God. Only those who have worn the crown of suffering can look upon that wondrous light; and they, when they return, may not speak of it, or tell the mystery they know.
Jerome K. Jerome (Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog) — Warbler Classics Illustrated Edition)
It was a glorious night. The moon had sunk, and left the quiet earth alone with the stars. It seemed as if, in the silence and the hush, while we her children slept, they were talking with her, their sister—conversing of mighty mysteries in voices too vast and deep for childish human ears to catch the sound. They awe us, these strange stars, so cold, so clear. We are as children whose small feet have strayed into some dim-lit temple of the god they have been taught to worship but know not; and, standing where the echoing dome spans the long vista of the shadowy light, glance up, half hoping, half afraid to see some awful vision hovering there. And yet it seems so full of comfort and of strength, the night. In its great presence, our small sorrows creep away, ashamed. The day has been so full of fret and care, and our hearts have been so full of evil and of bitter thoughts, and the world has seemed so hard and wrong to us. Then Night, like some great loving mother, gently lays her hand upon our fevered head, and turns our little tear-stained faces up to hers, and smiles; and, though she does not speak, we know what she would say, and lay our hot flushed cheek against her bosom, and the pain is gone. Sometimes, our pain is very deep and real, and we stand before her very silent, because there is no language for our pain, only a moan. Night’s heart is full of pity for us: she cannot ease our aching; she takes our hand in hers, and the little world grows very small and very far away beneath us, and, borne on her dark wings, we pass for a moment into a mightier Presence than her own, and in the wondrous light of that great Presence, all human life lies like a book before us, and we know that Pain and Sorrow are but the angels of God. Only those who have worn the crown of suffering can look upon that wondrous light; and they, when they return, may not speak of it, or tell the mystery they know.
Jerome K. Jerome (Three Men in a Boat (Three Men #1))
And the old man groaned, and beat his head With his hands, and stretched out his arms To his beloved son, Hector, who had Taken his stand before the Western Gate, Determined to meet Achilles in combat. Priam's voice cracked as he pleaded: "Hector, my boy, you can't face Achilles Alone like that, without any support— You'll go down in a minute. He's too much For you, son, he won't stop at anything! O, if only the gods loved him as I do: Vultures and dogs would be gnawing his corpse. Then some grief might pass from my heart. So many fine sons he's taken from me, Killed or sold them as slaves in the islands. Two of them now, Lycaon and Polydorus, I can't see with the Trojans safe in town, Laothoë's boys. If the Greeks have them We'll ransom them with the gold and silver Old Altes gave us. But if they're dead And gone down to Hades, there will be grief For myself and the mother who bore them. The rest of the people won't mourn so much Unless you go down at Achilles' hands. So come inside the wall, my boy. Live to save the men and women of Troy. Don't just hand Achilles the glory And throw your life away. Show some pity for me Before I go out of my mind with grief And Zeus finally destroys me in my old age, After I have seen all the horrors of war— My sons butchered, my daughters dragged off, Raped, bedchambers plundered, infants Dashed to the ground in this terrible war, My sons' wives abused by murderous Greeks. And one day some Greek soldier will stick me With cold bronze and draw the life from my limbs, And the dogs that I fed at my table, My watchdogs, will drag me outside and eat My flesh raw, crouched in my doorway, lapping My blood. When a young man is killed in war, Even though his body is slashed with bronze, He lies there beautiful in death, noble. But when the dogs maraud an old man's head, Griming his white hair and beard and private parts, There's no human fate more pitiable." And the old man pulled the white hair from his head, But did not persuade Hector.
Homer (The Iliad)
I had always been a very physically active person. And I loved my job. I got into the military because of September 11, but I stumbled into a career that I absolutely loved. I was meant to be an infantry soldier. I thought, I will never be physical again and my career in the military is over. One tiny trip wire had taken everything away from me in one explosive moment. I sank into a very dark place. I wallowed in both my physical pain and my mental anguish. One day my parents were sitting by my side in the hospital room--as they did every day--and I turned to my mom and blurted out, “How am I ever gonna be able to tie my shoes again?” Mom rebutted my pity party with, “Well, your father can tie his shoes with one hand. Andy! Show Noah how you can tie your shoes with one hand.” And as I started to protest, Dad cut my whining off at the pass. “Oh my gosh, Noah, I can tie my shoes with one hand.” And he did, as I had seen him do so many times growing up. “I just need a little sympathy,” I said. To which Mom replied, “Well, you’re not getting it today.” A few days after I’d had my shoelace meltdown, after many tears, I found myself drained of emotion, a hollowed-out shell. My mother saw the blank expression on my face and she saw an opportunity to drag me out of the fog. She took it. She came up to my bed, leaned in close--but not so close that the other people in the room couldn’t hear her, and said, “You just had to outdo your dad and lose your arm and your leg.” She smiled, waiting for my reply, but all I could do was laugh. It was funny but it was also at that moment that I think I felt a little spark of excitement and anticipation again. It would take a while to fully ignite the flame but what she said definitely tapped into some important part of me. I have a very competitive side and Mom knew that. She knew just what to say to shake me up, so I could realize, Okay, life will go on from here. I thought to myself, My dad could do a whole lot with just one hand. Imagine how much more impressive it’ll look with two missing limbs. And I smiled the best I could through a wired jaw.
Noah Galloway (Living with No Excuses: The Remarkable Rebirth of an American Soldier)
it died away, Stu said: “This wasn’t on the agenda, but I wonder if we could start by singing the National Anthem. I guess you folks remember the words and the tune.” There was that ruffling, shuffling sound of people getting to their feet. Another pause as everyone waited for someone else to start. Then a girl’s sweet voice rose in the air, solo for only the first three syllables: “Oh, say can—” It was Frannie’s voice, but for a moment it seemed to Larry to be underlaid by another voice, his own, and the place was not Boulder but upstate Vermont and the day was July 4, the Republic was two hundred and fourteen years old, and Rita lay dead in the tent behind him, her mouth filled with green puke and a bottle of pills in her stiffening hand. A chill of gooseflesh passed over him and suddenly he felt that they were being watched, watched by something that could, in the words of that old song by The Who, see for miles and miles and miles. Something awful and dark and alien. For just a moment he felt an urge to run from this place, just run and never stop. This was no game they were playing here. This was serious business; killing business. Maybe worse. Then other voices joined in. “—can you see, by the dawn’s early light,” and Lucy was singing, holding his hand, crying again, and others were crying, most of them were crying, crying for what was lost and bitter, the runaway American dream, chrome-wheeled, fuel-injected, and stepping out over the line, and suddenly his memory was not of Rita, dead in the tent, but of he and his mother at Yankee Stadium—it was September 29, the Yankees were only a game and a half behind the Red Sox, and all things were still possible. There were fifty-five thousand people in the Stadium, all standing, the players in the field with their caps over their hearts, Guidry on the mound, Rickey Henderson was standing in deep left field (“—by the twilight’s last gleaming—”), and the light-standards were on in the purple gloaming, moths and night-fliers banging softly against them, and New York was around them, teeming, city of night and light. Larry joined the singing too, and when it was done and the applause rolled out once more, he was crying a bit himself. Rita was gone. Alice Underwood was gone. New York was gone. America was gone. Even if they could defeat Randall Flagg, whatever they might make would never be the same as that world of dark streets and bright dreams.
Stephen King (The Stand)
May I speak with you for a minute, Frank?” He stopped working. “James, Dan. Keep Janie out of trouble.” “Yes, sir.” Both boys gave a salute. Frank’s long legs consumed the expanse, and he met me in the bright sunlight. We rounded the corner of the barn and moved away from its wall, closer to the pigpen. “Is there a problem?” He bent slightly, resting his arms on the top of the rail fence surrounding the sty, one foot propped up on the lower slat. I picked at the jagged edge of a fingernail and cleared my throat. “I’m going home.” “I know.” He looked almost . . . stricken. But it passed. Worried about not having made arrangement yet for the children, I imagined. He cleared his throat, kicked at a clod of dirt. “At the end of the month.” “This morning, actually. I have my train ticket.” Only his jaw moved, the muscle tightening and loosening and tightening again. I paced behind him, reached the other side of the small enclosure, chewed my lip, waited for him to say something. Anything. But the silence closed in around me. I had to get free of it. “I’ve been here long enough. I know that now. You need to be with your family, Frank. You need to sleep in your own bed, be among your own things. The children are comfortable with you again. Besides”—I grabbed the top rail of the pen to hold me steady—“I have my own life to live.” I stared off into the distance, hoping he thought I gazed happily into the life I desired. The quiet boiled between us until his words spat out like a flash of lightning. “Just like that, you’d abandon us?” I whirled to face him. “Just a few days earlier than you promised to send me home, remember?” He shoved his hands into the pockets of his overalls and looked me over as if I were a possum in the bedroom. “They’ve lost their mother. And Adabelle. Now they’ll lose you, too. You don’t think they’ll feel that?” I shook my head, my heart breaking into tiny shards. “They’re young. They’ll take to whoever you bring in as quickly as they took to me.” His face reddened. He stalked toward the barn, then turned and came back, pointing his finger in my face. “Let’s get this straight. I’ve not asked you to leave. You’ve taken this on yourself.” “It’s for the best, Frank. It really is. But . . .” I hesitated. The intensity of his anger made me unsure of my final request. My voice shrank to nearly a whisper. “Will you tell them for me?” His eyebrows arched. He threw back his head and belched a derisive laugh. “You want to leave? Fine. I can’t stop you. But I’m not going to be the one to tell them. You are.
Anne Mateer (Wings of a Dream)
On quitting Bretton, which I did a few weeks after Paulina’s departure—little thinking then I was never again to visit it; never more to tread its calm old streets—I betook myself home, having been absent six months. It will be conjectured that I was of course glad to return to the bosom of my kindred. Well! the amiable conjecture does no harm, and may therefore be safely left uncontradicted. Far from saying nay, indeed, I will permit the reader to picture me, for the next eight years, as a bark slumbering through halcyon weather, in a harbour still as glass—the steersman stretched on the little deck, his face up to heaven, his eyes closed: buried, if you will, in a long prayer. A great many women and girls are supposed to pass their lives something in that fashion; why not I with the rest? Picture me then idle, basking, plump, and happy, stretched on a cushioned deck, warmed with constant sunshine, rocked by breezes indolently soft. However, it cannot be concealed that, in that case, I must somehow have fallen overboard, or that there must have been wreck at last. I too well remember a time—a long time—of cold, of danger, of contention. To this hour, when I have the nightmare, it repeats the rush and saltness of briny waves in my throat, and their icy pressure on my lungs. I even know there was a storm, and that not of one hour nor one day. For many days and nights neither sun nor stars appeared; we cast with our own hands the tackling out of the ship; a heavy tempest lay on us; all hope that we should be saved was taken away. In fine, the ship was lost, the crew perished. As far as I recollect, I complained to no one about these troubles. Indeed, to whom could I complain? Of Mrs. Bretton I had long lost sight. Impediments, raised by others, had, years ago, come in the way of our intercourse, and cut it off. Besides, time had brought changes for her, too: the handsome property of which she was left guardian for her son, and which had been chiefly invested in some joint-stock undertaking, had melted, it was said, to a fraction of its original amount. Graham, I learned from incidental rumours, had adopted a profession; both he and his mother were gone from Bretton, and were understood to be now in London. Thus, there remained no possibility of dependence on others; to myself alone could I look. I know not that I was of a self-reliant or active nature; but self-reliance and exertion were forced upon me by circumstances, as they are upon thousands besides; and when Miss Marchmont, a maiden lady of our neighbourhood, sent for me, I obeyed her behest, in the hope that she might assign me some task I could undertake.
Charlotte Brontë (Villette)
That was the whole trouble with police work. You come plunging in. a jagged Stone Age knife, to probe the delicate tissues of people's relationships, and of course you destroy far more than you discover. And even what you discover will never be the same as it was before you came; the nubbly scars of your passage will remain. At the very least. you have asked questions that expose to the destroying air fibers that can only exist and fulfill their function in coddling darkness. Cousin Amy, now, mousing about in back passages or trilling with feverish shyness at sherry parties—was she really made all the way through of dust and fluff and unused ends of cotton and rusty needles and unmatching buttons and all the detritus at the bottom of God's sewing basket? Or did He put a machine in there to tick away and keep her will stern and her back straight as she picks out of a vase of brown-at-the-edges dahlias the few blooms that have another day's life in them? Or another machine, one of His chemistry sets, that slowly mixes itself into an apparently uncaused explosion, poof!, and there the survivors are sitting covered with plaster dust among the rubble of their lives. It's always been the explosion by the time the police come stamping in with ignorant heels on the last unbroken bit of Bristol glass; with luck they can trace the explosion back to harmless little Amy, but as to what set her off—what were the ingredients of the chemistry set and what joggled them together—it was like trying to reconstruct a civilization from three broken pots and a seven-inch lump of baked clay which might, if you looked at its swellings and hollows the right way, have been the Great Earth Mother. What's more. people who've always lived together think that they are still the same—oh, older of course and a bit more snappish, but underneath still the same laughing lad of thirty years gone by. "My Jim couldn't have done that." they say. "I know him. Course he's been a bit depressed lately, funny like. but he sometimes goes that way for a bit and then it passes off. But setting fire to the lingerie department at the Army and Navy, Inspector—such a thought wouldn't enter into my Jim's head. I know him." Tears diminishing into hiccuping snivels as doubt spreads like a coffee stain across the threadbare warp of decades. A different Jim? Different as a Martian, growing inside the ever-shedding skin? A whole lot of different Jims. a new one every seven years? "Course not. I'm the same. aren't I, same as I always was—that holiday we took hiking in the Peak District in August thirty-eight—the same inside?" Pibble sighed and shook himself. You couldn't build a court case out of delicate tissues. Facts were the one foundation.
Peter Dickinson (The Glass Sided Ant's Nest (Jimmy Pibble #1))
[the virgin birth account] occurs everywhere. When the Herod figure ( the extreme figure of misgovernment) has brought man to the nadir of spirit, the occult forces of the cycle begin to move. In an inconspicuous village, Mary is born who will maintain herself undefiled by fashionable errors of her generation. Her womb, remaining fallw as the primordial abyss, summons itself by its very readiness the original power that fertilzed the void. Mary's virgin birth story is recounted everywhere. and with such striking unity of the main contours, that early christian missionaries had to think the devil must be creating mockeries of Mary's birth wherever they testified. One missionary reports that after work was begun among Tunja and Sogamozzo South American Indians, "the demon began giving contrary doctrines. The demon sought to discredit Mary's account, declaring it had not yet come to pass; but presently, the sun would bring it to pass by taking flesh in the womb of a virgin in a small village, causing her to conceive by rays of the sun while she yet remained virgin." Hindu mythology tells of the maiden parvati who retreated to the high hills to practice austerities. Taraka had usurped mastery of the world, a tyrant. Prophecy said only a son of the high god Shiva could overthrow him. Shive however was the pattern god of yoga-alone, aloof, meditating. It was impossible Shiva could be moved to beget. Parvati tried changing the world situation by metching Shiva in meditation. Aloof, indrawn in her soul meditating, she fasted naked beneath the blazing sun, even adding to the heat by building four great fires. One day a Brahmin youth arrived and asked why anyone so beautiful should be destroying herself with such torture. "My desire," she said "is Shiva, the Highest. He is the god of solitude and concentration. I therefore imitate his meditation to move him from his balance and bring him to me in love." Shiva, the youth announced, is a god of destruction, shiva is World Annhilator. Snakes are his garlands. The virgin said: He is beyond the mind of such as you. He is terrifying but the source of grace. snake garlands or jewel garlands he can assume or put off at will. Shiva is my love. The youth thereupon put away his disguise-he was Shiva. The Buddha descended from heaven to his mother's womb in the shape of a milk white elephant. The Aztec Coatlicue was approached by a god in the form of a ball of feathers. The chapters of Ovid's Metamorphoses swarm with nymphs beset by gods in sundry masquerades: jove as a bull, a swan, a shower of gold. Any leaf, any nut, or even the breath of a breeze, may be enough to fertilize the ready virgin womb. The procreating power is everywhere. And according to whim or destiny of the hour, either a hero savior or a world--annihilating demon may be conceived-one can never know.
Joseph Campbell
She started to head out, but she passed her room. It was the same as she'd left it: a pile of cushions by her bed for Little Brother to sleep on, a stack of poetry and famous literature on her desk that she was supposed to study to become a "model bride," and the lavender shawl and silk robes she'd worn the day before she left home. The jade comb Mulan had left in exchange for the conscription notice caught her eye; it now rested in front of her mirror. Mulan's gaze lingered on the comb, on its green teeth and the pearl-colored flower nestled on its shoulder. She wanted to hold it, to put it in her hair and show her family- to show everyone- she was worthy. After all, her surname, Fa, meant flower. She needed to show them that she had bloomed to be worthy of her family name. But no one was here, and she didn't want to face her reflection. Who knew what it would show, especially in Diyu? She isn't a boy, her mother had told her father once. She shouldn't be riding horses and letting her hair loose. The neighbors will talk. She won't find a good husband- Let her, Fa Zhou had consoled his wife. When she leaves this household as a bride, she'll no longer be able to do these things. Mulan hadn't understood what he meant then. She hadn't understood the significance of what it meant for her to be the only girl in the village who skipped learning ribbon dances to ride Khan through the village rice fields, who chased after chickens and helped herd the cows instead of learning the zither or practicing her painting, who was allowed to have opinions- at all. She'd taken the freedom of her childhood for granted. When she turned fourteen, everything changed. I know this will be a hard change to make, Fa Li had told her, but it's for your own good. Men want a girl who is quiet and demure, polite and poised- not someone who speaks out of turn and runs wild about the garden. A girl who can't make a good match won't bring honor to the family. And worse yet, she'll have nothing: not respect, or money of her own, or a home. She'd touched Mulan's cheek with a resigned sigh. I don't want that fate for you, Mulan. Every morning for a year, her mother tied a rod of bamboo to Mulan's spine to remind her to stand straight, stuffed her mouth with persimmon seeds to remind her to speak softly, and helped Mulan practice wearing heeled shoes by tying ribbons to her feet and guiding her along the garden. Oh, how she'd wanted to please her mother, and especially her father. She hadn't wanted to let them down. But maybe she hadn't tried enough. For despite Fa Li's careful preparation, she had failed the Matchmaker's exam. The look of hopefulness on her father's face that day- the thought that she'd disappointed him still haunted her. Then fate had taken its turn, and Mulan had thrown everything away to become a soldier. To learn how to punch and kick and hold a sword and shield, to shoot arrows and run and yell. To save her country, and bring honor home to her family. How much she had wanted them to be proud of her.
Elizabeth Lim (Reflection)
When you teach someone your true name, you place everything you are in their hands.” “I know, but I may never have the chance again. This is the only thing I have to give, and I would give it to you.” “Eragon, what you are proposing…It is the most precious thing one person can give another.” “I know.” A shiver ran through Arya, and then she seemed to withdraw within herself. After a time, she said, “No one has ever offered me such a gift before…I’m honored by your trust, Eragon, and I understand how much this means to you, but no, I must decline. It would be wrong for you to do this and wrong for me to accept just because tomorrow we may be killed or enslaved. Danger is no reason to act foolishly, no matter how great our peril.” Eragon inclined his head. Her reasons were good reasons, and he would respect her choice. “Very well, as you wish,” he said. “Thank you, Eragon.” A moment passed. Then he said, “Have you ever told anyone your true name?” “No.” “Not even your mother?” Her mouth twisted. “No.” “Do you know what it is?” “Of course. Why would you think otherwise?” He half shrugged. “I didn’t. I just wasn’t sure.” Silence came between them. Then, “When…how did you learn your true name?” Arya was quiet for so long, he began to think that she would refuse to answer. Then she took a breath and said, “It was a number of years after I left Du Weldenvarden, when I finally had become accustomed to my role among the Varden and the dwarves. Faolin and my other companions were away, and I had a great deal of time to myself. I spent most of it exploring Tronjheim, wandering in the empty reaches of the city-mountain, where others rarely tread. Tronjheim is bigger than most realize, and there are many strange things within it: rooms, people, creatures, forgotten artifacts…As I wandered, I thought, and I came to know myself better than ever I had before. One day I discovered a room somewhere high in Tronjheim--I doubt I could locate it again, even if I tried. A beam of sunlight seemed to pour into the room, though the ceiling was solid, and in the center of the room was a pedestal, and upon the pedestal was growing a single flower. I do not know what kind of flower it was; I have never seen its like before or since. The petals were purple, but the center of the blossom was like a drop of blood. There were thorns upon the stem, and the flower exuded the most wonderful scent and seemed to hum with a music all its own. It was such an amazing and unlikely thing to find, I stayed in the room, staring at the flower for longer than I can remember, and it was then and there that I was finally able to put words to who I was and who I am.” “I would like to see that flower someday.” “Perhaps you will.” Arya glanced toward the Varden’s camp. “I should go. There is much yet to be done.” He nodded. “We’ll see you tomorrow, then.” “Tomorrow.” Arya began to walk away. After a few steps, she paused and looked back. “I’m glad that Saphira chose you as her Rider, Eragon. And I’m proud to have fought alongside you. You have become more than any of us dared hope. Whatever happens tomorrow, know that.” Then she resumed her stride, and soon she disappeared around the curve of the hill, leaving him alone with Saphira and the Eldunarí.
Christopher Paolini (Inheritance (The Inheritance Cycle, #4))
Retirement’s for young people, because they have other things they can do.’ At 70 years of age, with idleness, the system breaks down quickly. You have to have something in place when you retire. Right away, the next day, not after a three-month holiday. When you’re young, the 14-hour days are necessary, because you have to establish yourself, and the only way to do that is by working your balls off. By those means, you establish a work ethic for yourself. If you have family, it’s passed on to them. My mother and father conveyed the fruits of their labour to me and I have done so with my own children and beyond. With youth you have the capacity to establish all the stability of later life. With age you have to manage your energy. Keep fit. People should keep fit. Eat the right foods. I was never a great sleeper, but I could get my five to six hours, which was adequate for me. Some people wake up and lie in bed. I could never do that. I wake and jump up. I’m ready to go somewhere. I don’t lie there whiling my time away. You’ve had your sleep – that’s why you woke up.
The reason why Jane’s spirit was not broken was that she had a secret. It was her own special secret and she had told no one else except Peggy. She locked it in her heart and hugged it to herself. It was this glorious secret that filled her with such irrepressible joy and exhilaration. But it was also to be the cause of her greatest disaster, and her life-long grief. The rumour that her father was a high-born gentleman in Parliament must have reached Jane’s ears when she was a little girl. Perhaps she had heard the officers talking about it, or perhaps another child had heard the adults talking and told her. Perhaps Jane’s mother had told another workhouse inmate, who had passed it on. One can never tell how rumours start. To Jane, it was not a rumour. It was an absolute fact. Her daddy was a high-born gentleman, who one day would come and take her away. She fantasised endlessly about her daddy. She talked to him, and he talked to her.
Jennifer Worth (Shadows of the Workhouse)
Eventually, in an attempt to avoid his nightmares, he began to read, late at night, which was when his motionless body felt most restless, his mind agile and clear. Yet he refused to read the Russians his grandfather had brought to his bedside, or any novels, for that matter. Those books, set in countries he had never seen, reminded him only of his confinement. Instead he read his engineering books, trying his best to keep up with his courses, solving equations by flashlight. In those silent hours, he thought often of Ghosh. “Pack a pillow and a blanket,” he heard Ghosh say. He remembered the address Ghosh had written on a page of his diary, somewhere behind the tram depot in Tollygunge. Now it was the home of a widow, a fatherless son. Each day, to bolster his spirits, his family reminded him of the future, the day he would stand unassisted, walk across the room. It was for this, each day, that his father and mother prayed. For this that his mother gave up meat on Wednesdays. But as the months passed, Ashoke began to envision another sort of future. He imagined not only walking, but walking away, as far as he could from the place in which he was born and in which he had nearly died. The following year, with the aid of a cane, he returned to college and graduated, and without telling his parents he applied to continue his engineering studies abroad.
Someday Tatiana must tell Alexander how glad she is that her sister Dasha did not die without once feeling what it was like to love. Alexander. Here he is, before he was Tatiana’s, at the age of twenty, getting his medal of valor for bringing back Yuri Stepanov during the 1940 Winter War. Alexander is in his dress Soviet uniform, snug against his body, his stance at-ease and his hand up to his temple in teasing salute. There is a gleaming smile on his face, his eyes are carefree, his whole man-self full of breathtaking, aching youth. And yet, the war was on, and his men had already died and frozen and starved... and his mother and father were gone... and he was far away from home, and getting farther and farther, and every day was his last—one way or another, every day was his last. And yet, he smiles, he shines, he is happy. Anthony is gone so long that his daughters say something must have happened to him. But then he appears. Like his father, he has learned well the poker face and outwardly remains imperturbable. Just as a man should be, thinks Tatiana. A man doesn’t get to be on the President’s National Security Council without steeling himself to some of life’s little adversities. A man doesn’t go through what Anthony went through without steeling himself to some of life’s little adversities. In this hand Anthony carries two faded photographs, flattened by the pages of the book, grayed by the passing years. The kitchen falls quiet, even Rachel and Rebecca are breathless in anticipation. “Let’s see...” they murmur, gingerly picking up the fragile, sepia pictures with their long fingers. Tatiana is far away from them. “Do you want to see them with us, Grammy? Grandpa?” “We know them well,” Tatiana says, her voice catching on something. “You kids go ahead.” The grandchildren, the daughter, the son, the guests circle their heads, gaping. “Washington, look! Just look at them! What did we tell you?” Shura and Tania, 23 and 18, just married. In full bloom, on the steps of the church near Lazarevo, he in his Red Army dress uniform, she in her white dress with red roses, roses that are black in the monochrome photo. She is standing next to him, holding his arm. He is looking into the camera, a wide grin on his face. She is gazing up at him, her small body pressed into him, her light hair at her shoulders, her arms bare, her mouth slightly parted. “Grammy!” Rebecca exclaims. “I’m positively blushing. Look at the way you’re coming the spoon on Grandpa!” She turns to Alexander from the island. “Grandpa, did you catch the way she is looking at you?” “Once or twice,” replies Alexander. The other colorless photo. Tania and Shura, 18 and 23. He lifts her in the air, his arms wrapped around her body, her arms wrapped around his neck, their fresh faces tilted, their enraptured lips in a breathless open kiss. Her feet are off the ground. “Wow, Grammy,” murmurs Rebecca. “Wow, Grandpa.” Tatiana is busily wiping the granite island. “You want to know what my Washington said about you two?” Rebecca says, not looking away from the photograph. “He called you an adjacent Fibonacci pair!” She giggles. “Isn’t that sexy?” Tatiana shakes her head, despite herself glancing at Washington with reluctant affection. “Just what we need, another math expert. I don’t know what you all think math will give you.” And Janie comes over to her father who is sitting at the kitchen table, holding her baby son, bends over Alexander, leans over him, kisses him, her arm around him, and murmurs into his ear, “Daddy, I’ve figured out what I’m going to call my baby. It’s so simple.” “Fibonacci?” She laughs. “Why, Shannon, of course. Shannon.” The
Paullina Simons (The Summer Garden (The Bronze Horseman, #3))
Shura, I did quit. I want you to quit, too.” He sat and considered her. His brow was furled. “You’re working too hard,” she said. “Since when?” “Look at you. All day in the dank basement, working in cellars... what for?” “I don’t understand the question. I have to work somewhere. We have to eat.” Chewing her lip, Tatiana shook her head. “We still have money— some of it left over from your mother, some of it from nursing, and in Coconut Grove you made us thousands carousing with your boat women.” “Mommy, what’s carousing?” said Anthony, looking up from his coloring. “Yes, Mommy, what’s carousing?” said Alexander, smiling. “My point is,” Tatiana went on, poker-faced, “that we don’t need you to break your back as if you’re in a Soviet labor camp.” “Yes, and what about your dream of a winery in the valley? You don’t think that’s back-breaking work?” “Yes . . .” she trailed off. What to say? It was just last week in Carmel that they’d had that wistful conversation. “Perhaps it’s too soon for that dream.” She looked deeply down into her plate. “I thought you wanted to settle here?” Alexander said in confusion. “As it turns out, less than I thought.” She coughed, stretching out her hand. He took it. “You’re away from us for twelve hours a day and when you come back you’re exhausted. I want you to play with Anthony.” “I do play with him.” She lowered her voice. “I want you to play with me, too.” “Babe, if I play with you any more, my sword will fall off.” “What sword, Dad?” “Anthony, shh. Alexander, shh. Look, I don’t want you to fall asleep at nine in the evening. I want you to smoke and drink. I want you to read all the books and magazines you haven’t read, and listen to the radio, and play baseball and basketball and football. I want you to teach Anthony how to fish as you tell him your war stories.” “Won’t be telling those any time soon.” “I’ll cook for you. I’ll play dominoes with you.” “Definitely no dominoes.” “I’ll let you figure out how I always win.” A Sarah Bernhardt-worthy performance. Shaking his head, he said slowly, “Maybe poker.” “Absolutely. Cheating poker then.” Rueful Russian Lazarevo smiles passed their faces. “I’ll take care of you,” she whispered, the hand he wasn’t holding shaking under the table. “For God’s sake, Tania... I’m a man. I can’t not work.” “You’ve never stopped your whole life. Come on. Stop running with me.” The irony in that made her tremble and she hoped he wouldn’t notice. “Let me take care of you,” Tatiana said hoarsely, “like you know I ache to. Let me do for you. Like I’m your nurse at the Morozovo critical care ward. Please.” Tears came to her eyes. She said quickly, “When there’s no more money, you can work again. But for now... let’s leave here. I know just the place.” Her smile was so pathetic. “Out of my stony griefs, Bethel I’ll raise,” she whispered. Alexander was silently contemplating her, puzzled again, troubled again. “I honestly don’t understand,” he said. “I thought you liked it here.” “I like you more.
Paullina Simons (The Summer Garden (The Bronze Horseman, #3))
I’ll call a cab and go to my car. I’ll sleep there for the night and figure out what to do in the light of day.” He’d started shaking his head about halfway through her proclamation and hadn’t stopped. “Do you honestly think I’m going to let you sleep in a car abandoned in some ditch on the side of the highway?” She scowled, hackles rising. “There’s no letting me. I’m perfectly capable of taking care of myself.” I think. No, screw that. I know. “Hey,” he said, voice soft. He wrapped his fingers around her wrist and, when she tried to yank away, held tight. “I know you can. You’ve already proven yourself.” Her frown deepening, she cast a suspicious glance in his direction. She was stuck in the middle of nowhere with no resources. Any idiot could see that. “I’ve proven nothing other than I can land myself in a huge mess.” One brow rose. “Oh? How long did you walk tonight? By yourself, in the dark?” “I didn’t have a choice, and I don’t have a choice now.” “There are always choices, Maddie. Don’t forget, you made a hell of a big one today.” “That doesn’t count,” she said, voice rising. Temper, temper, Maddie. She shook the voice away. “I know my options, and I’m going back to my car.” He studied her. Summing her up like the lawyer he used to be. “I don’t want to ask, but I’m going to anyway. Why don’t you want to call your family?” “Because I don’t want to.” The words shot out of her mouth, surprising her with their force. “What about friends?” Penelope and Sophie would walk through fire for her, but they weren’t an option, at least not tonight. “They’re probably at my mom’s house, consoling my family.” He scrubbed a hand over his stubbled jaw. “Won’t they be worried?” “I’m sure they are,” she said. Her voice had taken on an edge that she hoped would pass for determined, but she feared that it bordered on petulance. “But I’m not calling them. I wrote a note and stole my own car from the parking lot, so it’s not like they’ll think I’ve been kidnapped.” “What did you do, hotwire the thing?” Amusement was plain in the deep tone of his voice. “If you must know, I have three extremely overprotective older brothers, a worrywart mother, and a . . .” She paused, trying out the words in her mind and deciding she wanted to own them. “. . . suffocating ex-fiancé. They insisted I have one of those industrial-strength, military-grade, combination-lock hideaway keys. My uncle brought my car to the church because his was in the shop. So really, it’s their fault this happened.” That was the moment she’d known she was going to run. Surrounded by the smell of gardenias that made her want to gag, she’d pushed her bridesmaids out the door, begging for a few minutes of peace and quiet. She’d gone over to the window, desperate for the smell of fresh air, and there sat her little Honda. The cherry red of the car had glowed in the sun like a gift from heaven. A sudden, almost reverent calm descended on her. It had felt like peace: a feeling so foreign to her that it had taken a moment to recognize it. Mitch laughed, pulling her away from those last minutes in the church and back to the temptation sitting next to her. “Princess, you really are something,” he said, still chuckling.
Jennifer Dawson (Take a Chance on Me (Something New, #1))
Whoa,” I murmured, trying to calm the animal enough to set it loose, not wanting it to come to harm. I gripped the reins, but the horse, its eyes wild with fear, snapped its head back, catching my hand in the leather strap, and I inhaled sharply from the sting. How long had the poor thing been out here? My senses on full alert, I glanced behind me at the busy street, weighing my options. Seeing no one, I hoisted up my skirt, and unsheathed the dagger I had kept. The instant I cut the reins, the horse bolted past me, almost knocking me over. Its owner would not be happy, but at least the animal would live to see another day. It wasn’t until someone clamped an arm around my waist, seizing the knife, that I realized I was no longer alone. So much for having reliable senses. “Well, aren’t you just incorrigible?” Imprisonment or execution was the punishment for bearing weapons in this new Hytanica. The dagger itself was a small loss, but I had to get away. I brought my elbow back, my mother’s reluctance to let me leave the house flashing like lightning in my brain. If I were arrested, killed, she would never forgive herself, even though she would bear no fault. “Empress, the bruises you’ve given me are too many to count!” I whirled around, dismayed that I had not succeeded in getting the Cokyrian to release me, at the same time recognizing the voice and the curse. Saadi pushed me against the side of the shop, leaning in so close to me that I could feel his breath upon my cheek, and his pale blue eyes stared me into submission. “I can’t call you a horse thief for what you just did,” he told me, glancing after the gelding. “At least, not a very good horse thief. But I can, and I must, bring you in for this little utensil of yours. Some niece of the captain you are.” “Are you going to take me to your sister?” I spat, and he grimaced, contemplating me for an instant before disregarding the barb. Gripping me by the upper arm, he hauled me toward the thoroughfare. “Come on. To the Bastion.” Though my question about Rava appeared to have had its intended effect, I was numb with fear. What if he did take me to her? Rava had been the one to order me lashed for my failed prank, she’d been the one to inflict punishment upon Steldor. It seemed no one could exert control over her, a thought that made me ill. The nearer we came to our destination, the more rapidly my heart beat, and by the time we reached the palace gates, I was again fighting Saadi. “Let…me…go!” I howled, unexpectedly pulling out of his grasp, but one of the Cokyrian sentries caught me, laughing at my plight. “Need some help, Saadi?” the burly man offered, shoving me back at my captor, who was rather slight in comparison to his comrade. “No,” Saadi grumbled and the sentry moved ahead to open the gates for us. As we passed through, the large man called, “Rava is at the city headquarters, minding the peacekeeping force. If you were looking for her, that is.” “I wasn’t.” Even though my circumstances were inarguably bleak, a wave of relief washed over me. She, at least, would not be the one to show me the error of my ways.
Cayla Kluver (Sacrifice (Legacy, #3))
We spent twenty days and endured three thousand miles of jolting, pounding, off-road bush driving. But we had a hard-won sense of accomplishment when we pulled up on the stunning cliff-side view of the Great Australian Bight, a huge open bay carved out of the southern coastline. We had made it. Below us, three hundred feet down a sheer rock face, was the Southern Ocean. A pod of southern right whales passed by, their calves following along with them. Steve and I and the crew watched the family dramas of the whales play out below us. A calf felt naughty and went darting away from his mother’s side. Come back, the mother called, come back, come back, you naughty little whale. When she was under the water, we couldn’t hear anything, but as she surfaced we could actually hear the whale song from our perch three hundred feet in the air. Mama scolded the calf, and we saw the young whale come dutifully shooting back over to follow his mother for a while. Sometimes the calf would approach his mama for a drink of milk and nurse for a few minutes. Then he would escape once more, and the whole scenario played itself out all over again. We watched the whales for hours. That night around the campfire, we discussed whaling, how sad and cruel and horrible it was. “If we killed cows the way we killed whales, people wouldn’t stand for it,” Steve said. “Imagine if you drove a truck with a torpedo gun off the back. When you saw a cow you fired at it, and then you either electrocuted it over the course of half an hour or the head of the torpedo blew up inside of it, rendering it unable to walk or move until it finally bled to death.” “We’ve got to get that message out,” I said to Steve. But his idea was to bring the beauty and joy of the whales to people, so that they would naturally fall in love with them and not want to hurt them. He didn’t want to dwell on images that would make people sad and upset. Steve remained thoughtful and silent as the fire died. The ocean sounded against the cliffs below. The games of the whale families played over and over in our minds. In spite of our extensive searching, we never saw a live dingo down the whole line of our journey. It was time to try a different approach. The next morning the helicopter pilot arrived early. Going up with him, Steve actually finally spotted some dingoes from the air. The beautiful, ginger-colored dogs played along the fence, jumping over it or skirting under it with effortless ease.
Terri Irwin (Steve & Me)
The casting away of things is symbolic, you know. Talismanic. When you cast away things, you're also casting away the self-related others that are symbolically related to those things. You start a cleaning-out process. You begin to empty the vessel." Larry shook his head slowly. "I don't follow that." "Well, take an intelligent pre-plague man. Break his TV, and what does he do at night?" "Reads a book," Ralph said. "Goes to see his friends," Stu said. "Plays the stereo," Larry said, grinning. "Sure, all those things," Glen said. "But he's also missing that TV. There's a hole in his life where that TV used to be. In the back of his mind he's still thinking, At nine o'clock I'm going to pull a few beers and watch the Sox on the tube. And when he goes in there and sees that empty cabinet, he feels as disappointed as hell. A part of his accustomed life has been poured out, is it not so?" "Yeah," Ralph said. "Our TV went on the fritz once for two weeks and I didn't feel right until it was back." "It makes a bigger hole in his life if he watched a lot of TV, a smaller hole if he only used it a little bit. But something is gone. Now take away all his books, all his friends, and his stereo. Also remove all sustenance except what he can glean along the way. It's an emptying-out process and also a diminishing of the ego. Your selves, gentlemen--they are turning into a window-glass. Or better yet, empty tumblers." "But what's the point?" Ralph asked. "Why go through all the rigmarole?" Glen said, "If you read your Bible, you'll see that it was pretty traditional for these prophets to go out into the wilderness from time to time--Old Testament Magical Mystery Tours. The timespan given for these jaunts was usually forty days and forty nights, a Hebraic idiom that really means 'no one knows exactly how long he was gone, but it was quite a while.' Does that remind you of anyone?" "Sure. Mother," Ralph said. "Now think of yourself as a battery. You really are, you know. Your brain runs on chemically converted electrical current. For that matter, your muscles run on tiny charges, too--a chemical called acetylcholine allows the charge to pass when you need to move, and when you want to stop, another chemical, cholinesterase, is manufactured. Cholinesterase destroys acetylcholine, so your nerves become poor conductors again. Good thing, too. Otherwise, once you started scratching your nose, you'd never be able to stop. Okay, the point is this: Everything you think, everything you do, it all has to run off the battery. Like the accessories in a car." They were all listening closely. "Watching TV, reading books, talking with friends, eating a big dinner ... all of it runs off the battery. A normal life--at least in what used to be Western civilization--was like running a car with power windows, power brakes, power seats, all the goodies. But the more goodies you have, the less the battery can charge. True?" "Yeah," Ralph said. "Even a big Delco won't ever overcharge when it's sitting in a Cadillac." "Well, what we've done is to strip off the accessories. We're on charge." Ralph said uneasily: "If you put a car battery on charge for too long, she'll explode." "Yes," Glen agreed. "Same with people. The Bible tells us about Isaiah and Job and the others, but it doesn't say how many prophets came back from the wilderness with visions that had crisped their brains. I imagine there were some. But I have a healthy respect for human intelligence and the human psyche, in spite of an occasional throwback like East Texas here--" "Off my case, baldy," Stu growled. "Anyhow, the capacity of the human mind is a lot bigger than the biggest Delco battery. I think it can take a charge almost to infinity. In certain cases, perhaps beyond infinity." They walked in silence for a while, thinking this over. "Are we changing?" Stu asked quietly. "Yes," Glen answered. "Yes, I think we are.
Stephen King
Because if we show them that being a martyr is the highest form of love, that is what they will become. They will feel obligated to love as well as their mothers loved, after all. They will believe they have permission to live only as fully as their mothers allowed themselves to live. If we keep passing down the legacy of martyrdom to our daughters, with whom does it end? Which woman ever gets to live? And when does the death sentence begin? At the wedding altar? In the delivery room? Whose delivery room—our children’s or our own? When we call martyrdom love we teach our children that when love begins, life ends. This is why Jung suggested: There is no greater burden on a child than the unlived life of a parent. What if love is not the process of disappearing for the beloved but of emerging for the beloved? What if a mother’s responsibility is teaching her children that love does not lock the lover away but frees her? What if a responsible mother is not one who shows her children how to slowly die but how to stay wildly alive until the day she dies? What if the call of motherhood is not to be a martyr but to be a model?
Glennon Doyle (Untamed)
The legislature insisted the penitentiary be racially segregated, but the lessees had resisted, saying it was impractical and would reduce productivity. So black women were mixed with male prisoners and subsequently some became pregnant. It’s not clear whether their children’s fathers were other inmates or prison officials, but this detail was not important to legislators who, in 1848, passed a new law declaring that all children born in the penitentiary of African Americans serving life sentences would become property of the state. The women would raise the kids until the age of ten, at which point the penitentiary would place an ad in the newspaper. Thirty days later, they would be auctioned on the courthouse steps “cash on delivery.” The proceeds were used to fund schools for white children. No recorded details remain about what it was like to raise a child in the prison or to have her taken away forever. We don’t know what became of the children or their mothers. The only prison documents left are sparse penitentiary logs showing the particulars of the sales. Sometimes the mother herself isn’t even noted. What was the mixture of the feeling of devastation over losing one’s child along with the twisted hope that life as a slave might be an improvement over life in a prison?
Shane Bauer (American Prison: A Reporter's Undercover Journey into the Business of Punishment)
Stupid dog, do you realize you have actually LITERALLY bitten the hand that feeds you?" Schatzi looks at me with a withering stare, arching her bushy eyebrows haughtily, and then turns her back to me. I stick out my tongue at her back, and go to the kitchen to freshen her water bowl. Damnable creature requires fresh water a zillion times a day. God forbid a fleck of dust is dancing on the surface, or it has gone two degrees beyond cool, I get the laser look of death. Once there was a dead fly in it, and she looked in the bowl, crossed the room, looked me dead in the eye, and squatted and peed on my shoes. I usually call her Shitzi or Nazi. I suppose I'm lucky she deigns to drink tap water. Our bare tolerance of each other is mutual, and affection between us is nil. The haughty little hellbeast was my sole inheritance from my grandmother who passed away two years ago. A cold, exacting woman who raised me in my mother's near-complete absence, Annelyn Stroudt insisted on my calling her Grand-mère, despite the fact that she put the manic in Germanic, ancestry-wise. But apparently when her grandparents schlepped here mother from Berlin to Chicago, they took a year in Paris first, and adopted many things Française. So Grand-mère it was. Grand-mère Annelyn also insisted on dressing for dinner, formal manners in every situation, letterpress stationary, and physical affection saved for the endless string of purebred miniature schnauzers she bought one after the other, and never offered to the granddaughter who also lived under her roof. Her clear disappointment in me must have rubbed off on Schatzi, who, despite having lived with me since Grand-mère died neatly and quietly in her sleep at the respectable age of eighty-nine, has never seen me as anything but a source of food, and a firm hand at the end of the leash. She dotes on Grant, but he sneaks her nibbles when he cooks, and coos to her in flawless French. Sometimes I wonder if the spirit of Grand-mère transferred into the dog upon death, and if the chilly indifference to me is just a manifestation of my grandmother's continued disapproval from beyond the grave. Schatzi wanders over to her bowl, sniffs it, sneers at me one last time for good measure, shakes her head to ensure her ears are in place, like a society matron checking her coif, and settles down to drink.
Stacey Ballis (Recipe for Disaster)
Some years later, during a heart-to-heart chat, a friend of mine remarked that I have the propensity to disappear, when faced with hindrances. He advised me to face problems head-on, instead of avoiding confrontations and running away like a coward, much as I had with my dad, with you, and with Tony. This is a liability I’m learning to confront. And, it isn’t easy.               Thanks to my sister, Aria, I was able to make peace with my father, before he passed. For years, I had resented the way he treated us, during our Christmas vacation at Vaduz. I couldn’t bring myself to forgive the insults he flung at us. Although my mother did her best to assuage the damage, I fled as quickly and as far as I could. I had refused to meet with my dad unless he apologized; he refused to budge. During his final days, Aria and Ari begged me to return home, to pay my respects. It was then and there that we made peace. Before he took his final breath, he apologized and asked my forgiveness. When he finally accepted me for who I am, an immense relief flooded me. I came to the realization that our time on earth is short, and if either one of us had been less difficult, our years of estrangement could have been resolved long before.               Relief followed apprehension, for I knew he had died in peace; for this, I am eternally grateful.               What about you? How did you get on with your father? When we parted ways, you had unresolved issues with him, as I did with mine. Now that the ball is in your court, send me your chronicles.☺
Young (Turpitude (A Harem Boy's Saga Book 4))
Helen, a junior high math teacher in Minnesota, spent most of the school week teaching a difficult “new math” lesson. She could tell her students were frustrated and restless by week’s end. They were becoming rowdy so she told them to put their books away. She then instructed the class to take out clean sheets of paper. She gave each of them this assignment: Write down every one of your classmates’ names on the left, and then, on the right, put down one thing you like about that student. The tense and rowdy mood subsided and the room quieted when the students went to work. Their moods lifted as they dug into the assignment. There was frequent laughter and giggling. They looked around the room, sharing quips about one another. Helen’s class was a much happier group when the bell signaled the end of the school day. She took their lists home over the weekend and spent both days off recording what was said about each student on separate sheets of paper so she could pass on all the nice things said about each person without giving away who said what. The next Monday she handed out the lists she’d made for each student. The room buzzed with excitement and laughter. “Wow. Thanks! This is the coolest!” “I didn’t think anyone even noticed me!” “Someone thinks I’m beautiful?” Helen had come up with the exercise just to settle down her class, but it ended up giving them a big boost. They grew closer as classmates and more confident as individuals. She could tell they all seemed more relaxed and joyful. About ten years later, Helen learned that one of her favorite students in that class, a charming boy named Mark, had been killed while serving in Vietnam. She received an invitation to the funeral from Mark’s parents, who included a note saying they wanted to be sure she came to their farmhouse after the services to speak with them. Helen arrived and the grieving parents took her aside. The father showed her Mark’s billfold and then from it he removed two worn pieces of lined paper that had been taped, folded, and refolded many times over the years. Helen recognized her handwriting on the paper and tears came to her eyes. Mark’s parents said he’d always carried the list of nice things written by his classmates. “Thank you so much for doing that,” his mother said. “He treasured it, as you can see.” Still teary-eyed, Helen walked into the kitchen where many of Mark’s former junior high classmates were assembled. They saw that Mark’s parents had his list from that class. One by one, they either produced their own copies from wallets and purses or they confessed to keeping theirs in an album, drawer, diary, or file at home.
Joel Osteen (Every Day a Friday: How to Be Happier 7 Days a Week)
Helen, a junior high math teacher in Minnesota, spent most of the school week teaching a difficult “new math” lesson. She could tell her students were frustrated and restless by week’s end. They were becoming rowdy so she told them to put their books away. She then instructed the class to take out clean sheets of paper. She gave each of them this assignment: Write down every one of your classmates’ names on the left, and then, on the right, put down one thing you like about that student. The tense and rowdy mood subsided and the room quieted when the students went to work. Their moods lifted as they dug into the assignment. There was frequent laughter and giggling. They looked around the room, sharing quips about one another. Helen’s class was a much happier group when the bell signaled the end of the school day. She took their lists home over the weekend and spent both days off recording what was said about each student on separate sheets of paper so she could pass on all the nice things said about each person without giving away who said what. The next Monday she handed out the lists she’d made for each student. The room buzzed with excitement and laughter. “Wow. Thanks! This is the coolest!” “I didn’t think anyone even noticed me!” “Someone thinks I’m beautiful?” Helen had come up with the exercise just to settle down her class, but it ended up giving them a big boost. They grew closer as classmates and more confident as individuals. She could tell they all seemed more relaxed and joyful. About ten years later, Helen learned that one of her favorite students in that class, a charming boy named Mark, had been killed while serving in Vietnam. She received an invitation to the funeral from Mark’s parents, who included a note saying they wanted to be sure she came to their farmhouse after the services to speak with them. Helen arrived and the grieving parents took her aside. The father showed her Mark’s billfold and then from it he removed two worn pieces of lined paper that had been taped, folded, and refolded many times over the years. Helen recognized her handwriting on the paper and tears came to her eyes. Mark’s parents said he’d always carried the list of nice things written by his classmates. “Thank you so much for doing that,” his mother said. “He treasured it, as you can see.” Still teary-eyed, Helen walked into the kitchen where many of Mark’s former junior high classmates were assembled. They saw that Mark’s parents had his list from that class. One by one, they either produced their own copies from wallets and purses or they confessed to keeping theirs in an album, drawer, diary, or file at home. Helen the teacher was a “people builder.” She instinctively found ways to build up her students. Being a people builder means you consistently find ways to invest in and bring out the best in others. You give without asking for anything in return. You offer advice, speak faith into them, build their confidence, and challenge them to go higher. I’ve found that all most people need is a boost. All they need is a little push, a little encouragement, to become what God has created them to be. The fact is, none of us will reach our highest potential by ourselves. We need one another. You can be the one to tip the scales for someone else. You can be the one to stir up their seeds of greatness.
Joel Osteen (Every Day a Friday: How to Be Happier 7 Days a Week)
Tina, who clearly had it in mind to dazzle her new husband in the kitchen, wanted desperately to learn the secrets of Angelina's red gravy. So they picked a Sunday afternoon soon after New Year's and Angelina hauled out her mother's old sausage grinder and stuffer. Gia had volunteered to make the trip to the butcher's shop and brought back good hog casings, a few pounds of beautifully marbled pork butt and shoulder glistening with clean, white fat, and a four-pound beef chuck roast. It wasn't every that the grinder came out for fresh homemade sausages and meatballs, but it wasn't every day that Gia and Angelina teamed up to pass on the Mother Recipe to the next generation. Gia patiently instructed Tina on the proper technique for flushing and preparing the casings, then set them aside while Angelina showed her how to build the sauce: start with white onion, fresh flat-leaf parsley, and deep red, extra-sweet frying peppers; add copious amounts of garlic (chopped not so finely); season with sea salt, crushed red pepper, and freshly ground black pepper; simmer and sweat on a medium flame in good olive oil; generously sprinkle with dried herbs from the garden (palmfuls of oregano, rosemary, and basil); follow with a big dollop of thick, rich tomato paste; cook down some more until all of the ingredients were completely combined; pour in big cans of fresh-packed crushed tomatoes and a cup of red wine (preferably a Sangiovese or a Barolo); reseason, finish with fresh herbs; bring to a high simmer, then down to a low flame; walk away.
Brian O'Reilly (Angelina's Bachelors)
Your mother will die some day, and you and I will have to die some day, too. Yet My God has never died. Perhaps you haven’t heard clearly the story that tells how He goes on living for ever and ever. In appearance only did He die. But three days after He had died He came to life again and with great pomp He rose up to heaven.” “How often?” the chief asked in a dry tone. Astonished at this unexpected question, the monk answered, “Why . . . why . . . eh . . . once only, quite naturally once only.” “Once only? And has he, your great god, ever returned to earth?” “No, of course not,” Padre Balmojado answered, his voice burdened with irritation. “He has not returned yet, but He has promised mankind that He will return to earth in His own good time, so as to judge and to . . .” “. . . and to condemn poor mankind,” the chief finished the sentence. “Yes, and to condemn!” the monk said in a loud and threatening tone. Confronted with such inhuman stubbornness he lost control of himself. Louder still he continued: “Yes, to judge and to condemn all those who deny Him and refuse to believe in Him, and who criticize His sacred words, and who ignore Him, and who maliciously refuse to accept the true and only God even if He is brought to them with brotherly love and a heart overflowing with compassion for the poor ignorant brethren living in sin and utter darkness, and who can obtain salvation for nothing more than having belief in Him and having the true faith.” Not in the least was the chieftain affected by this sudden outburst of the monk, who had been thrown off routine by these true sons of America who had learned to think long and carefully before speaking. The chieftain remained very calm and serene. With a quiet, soft voice he said: “Here, my holy white father, is what our god had put into our hearts and souls, and it will be the last word I have to say to you before we return to our beautiful and tranquil tierra: Our god dies every evening for us who are his children. He dies every evening to bring us cool winds and freshness of nature, to bring us peace and quiet for the night so that we may rest well, man and animal. Our god dies every evening in a deep golden glory, not insulted, not spat upon, not spattered with stinking mud. He dies beautifully and glori¬ously, as every real god will die. Yet he does not die forever. In the morning he returns to life, refreshed and more beautiful than ever, his body still trailing the veils and wrappings of the dead. But soon his golden spears dart across the blue firmament as a sign that he is ready to fight the gods of darkness who threaten the peoples on earth. And before you have time to realize what happens, there he stands before wondering human eyes, and there he stays, great, mighty, powerful, golden, and in ever-growing beauty, dominating the universe. “He, our god, is a spendthrift in light, warmth, beauty, and fertility, enriching the flowers with perfumes and colors, teaching the birds to sing, filling the corn with strength and health, playing with the clouds in an ocean of gold and blue. As my beloved mother does, so does he give and give and never cease giving; never does he ask for prayers, not expect¬ing adoration or worship, not commanding obedience or faith, and never, never condemning anybody or thing on earth. And when evening comes, again he passes away in beauty and glory, a smile all over his face, and with his last glimmer blesses his Indian children. Again the next morning he is the eternal giver; he is the eternally young, the eternally beautiful, the eternally new-born, the ever and ever returning great and golden god of the Indians. “And this is what our god has put into our hearts and souls and what I am bound to tell you, holy white father: ‘Do not, not ever, beloved Indian sons of these your beautiful lands, give away your own great god for any other god.’ ” ("Conversion Of Some Indians")
B. Traven (The Night Visitor and Other Stories)
On November 22nd, 2018, my mother Vernita Lee passed away. I was conflicted about our relationship up until the very end. The truth is, it wasn't until I became successful that my mother started to show more interest in me. I wrestled with the question of how to take care of her - what did I owe the woman who gave me life, The bible says 'honor thy father and mother', but what did that actually mean? I decided one of the ways I could honor her would be to help care for her financially ... but there was never any real connection. I would say that the audience who watched me on television knew me better than my mother did. When her health began to decline a few years ago, I knew I needed to prepare myself for her transition. Just a few days before Thanksgiving my sister Patricia called to tell me she thought it was time. I flew to Milwaukee ... I tried to think of something to say, at one point I even picked up the manual left by the hospice care people. I read their advice thinking the whole time, how sad it was that I, Oprah Winfrey, who had spoken to thousands of people one on one should have to read a hospice manual to figure out what to say to my mother. When it was finally time to leave, something told me it would be the last time I'd ever see her but as I turned to go, the words I needed to say still wouldn't come. All I could muster was 'bye, I'll be seeing you' and I left for, ironically, a speaking engagement. On the flight home the next morning a little voice in my head whispered what I knew in my heart to be true: "you are going to regret this, you haven't finished the work". ... I turned around and went back to Milwaukee. I spent another day in that hot room and still no words came. That night I prayed for help. In the morning I meditated, and as I prepared to leave the bedroom I picked up my phone and noticed the song that was playing - Mahalia Jackson's 'Precious Lord'. If ever there was a sign, this was it. I had no idea how Mahalia Jackson appeared on my playlist. As I listened to the words, Precious Lord, take my hand Lead me on, let me stand. I am tired, I'm weak, I am worn Lead me on to the light, Take my hand, precious Lord And lead me home. I suddenly knew what to do. When I walked into my mothers room I asked if she wanted to hear the song. She nodded, and then I had another idea. I called my friend Wintley Phipps, a preacher and gospel artist, and asked him to sing Precious Lord to my dying mother. Over FaceTime from his kitchen table he sang the song a cappella and then prayed that our family would have no fear, just peace. I could see that my mother was moved. The song and the prayer had created a sort of opening for both of us. I began to talk to her about her life, her dreams, and me. Finally the words were there. I said, "It must have been hard for you, not having an education, not having a skill, not knowing what the future held. When you became pregnant, I'm sure a lot of people told you to get rid of that baby." She nodded. "But you didn't", I said. "And I want to thank you for keeping this baby". I paused, "I know that many times you didn't know what to do. You did the best you knew how to do and that's okay with me. That is okay with me. So you can leave now, knowing that it is well. It is well with my soul. It's been well for a long time." It was a sacred, beautiful moment, one of the proudest of my life. As an adult I'd learned to see my mother through a different lens; not as the mother who didn't care for me, protect me, love me or understand anything about me, but as a young girl still just a child herself; scared, alone, and unequipped to be a loving parent. I had forgiven my mother years earlier for not being the mother I needed, but she didn't know that. And in our last moments together I believe I was able to release her from the shame and the guilt of our past. I came back and I finished the work that needed to be done.
Oprah Winfrey (What Happened To You?: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing)
Happy Happy Mother's day Worth celebrating every day Even if they have passed away
Ricardo Derose
She has been on my mind these last few days, her voice in my ear, reminding me of all the Roussels stretching back through time. Cursed in love, or so the story went. We were told from an early age what we were allowed to have—and what we weren’t. Told not to long for what others have, because somewhere along the way, one of us had broken someone else’s rules. But I’ve come to believe we create our own curses and carry them through life because we’ve been told it’s our lot. We’re taught to relive our mothers’ heartaches, to accept their sufferings as our own, and pass them on to the next generation, again and again, until one of us at long last says no, and the curse is finally broken. Because we’ve discovered a new kind of magick—the kind that comes with choosing for ourselves, with saying I will do something else, be something else, have something else. This was the lesson Maman was trying to teach me the night she slipped away. There are no curses. Only patterns meant to be broken. Dreams to chase. Hearts to hold. Magick to make. Another glance at the clock. It’s time. I repeat the charm once more for good luck, the words so similar to the ones I composed so many years ago, for another dress. Over distance, over time, Whatever trials might come, May the echoes of these once lost hearts Be forever joined as one.
Barbara Davis (The Keeper of Happy Endings)
Mother was too busy pouring her day into a television screen, watching her soap operas, passing away her life by staring at other people’s.
Joanna Cannon (A Tidy Ending)
A CEMENT WALL A few years ago, two patients found themselves sharing a room in the palliative care unit of a hospital. Luis, in the bed next to the window, would talk to Daniel. Every day he would tell him, in luxuriant detail, what happened in the street. Mostly he narrated the adventures—seen from the window—of a family who lived near the hospital. The mother would often play with her children in the garden. He spoke naturally and with grace, although his voice was slurred from the chemotherapy. For Daniel, the last months of his life were rendered entertaining by his roommate. On those days when they were alone, without family or friends, Luis would say, “Shall I tell you what I see?” Daniel’s eyes would light up. And a recital would begin that might last hours. Months later, Luis passed away, and within a few days his bed was occupied by another patient. Daniel, excited by the thought that he would once again be able to hear the stories his friend had told him, asked his new companion to inform him about the children in their garden. The response stunned him: “There’s no garden here, just a cement wall.” Luis had used his imagination—his one remaining resource—to make up stories that would entertain Daniel. Using empathy, Luis had been capable of putting himself in his comrade’s shoes and successfully got him excited about something, helping him to overcome the suffering caused by his illness.
Marian Rojas Estapé (How to Make Good Things Happen: Know Your Brain, Enhance Your Life)
The Son of a vacuum Among the tall trees he sat lost, broken, alone again, among a number of illegal immigrants, he raised his head to him without fear, as nothing in this world is worth attention. -He said: I am not a hero; I am nothing but a child looking for Eid. The Turkmen of Iraq, are the descendants of Turkish immigrants to Mesopotamia through successive eras of history. Before and after the establishment of the Ottoman Empire, countries crossed from here, and empires that were born and disappeared, and still, preserve their Turkish identity. Although, after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the division of the Arab world, they now live in one of its countries. Kirkuk, one of the heavens of God on earth, is one of the northern governorates of Iraq in which they live. The Kurdish race is shared with them, a race out of many in Iraq. Two children of two different ethnicities, playing in a village square in Kirkuk province when the news came from Baghdad, of a new military coup. Without delay, Saddam Hussein took over the reins of power, and faster than that, Iraq was plunged into successive wars that began in 1980 with its neighbor Iran, a war that lasted eight years. Iraq barely rested for two years, and in the third, a new war in Kuwait, which did not end in the best condition as the leader had hoped, as he was expelled from it after the establishment of an international coalition to liberate it, led by the United States of America. Iraq entered a new phase of suffering, a siege that lasted more than ten years, and ended up with the removal of Saddam Hussein from his power followed by the US occupation of it in 2003. As the father goes, he returns from this road, there is no way back but from it. As the date approaches, the son stands on the back of that hill waiting for him to return. From far away he waved a longing, with a bag of dreams in his hands, a bag of candy in his pocket, and a poem of longing by a Turkmen poet who absorb Arabic, whose words danced on his lips, in his heart. -When will you come back, dad? -On the Eid, wait for me on the hill, you will see me coming from the road, waving, carrying your gifts. The father bid his son farewell to the Arab Shiite city of Basra, on the border with Iran, after the outbreak of the Iran-Iraq war, as the homeland is calling its men, or perhaps the leader is calling his subjects. In Iraq, as in many countries of the Arab world, the homeland is the leader, and the leader is the homeland. Months passed, the child eagerly anticipating the coming of the feast, but the father hurried to return without an appointment, loaded on the shoulders, the passion reached its extent in the martyr’s chest, with a sheet of paper in his pocket on which he wrote: Every morning takes me nostalgic for you, to the jasmine flower, oh, melody in the heart, oh balm I sip every while, To you, I extend a hand and a fire that ignites in the soul a buried love, night shakes me with tears in my eyes, my longing for you has shaped me into dreams, stretching footsteps to the left and to the right, gleam, calling out for me, you scream, waking me up to the glimpse of the light of life in your face, a thousand sparkles, in your eyes, a meaning of survival, a smile, and a glace, Eid comes to you as a companion, without, life yet has no trace, for roses, necklaces of love, so that you amaze. -Where is Ruslan? On the morning of the feast day, at the door of his house, the kids asked his mother, -with tears in her eyes: He went to meet his father. A moment of silence fell over the children, -Raman, with a little gut: Aunt, do you mean he went to the cemetery? -Mother: He went to meet him at those hills.
Ahmad I. AlKhalel (Zero Moment: Do not be afraid, this is only a passing novel and will end (Son of Chaos Book 1))
They used my name and permit to grow the weed and earn money to repay their debts and compensate their investors. To keep my girlfriend. To take her. I am uncertain if any of them have ever spent a minute in jail for any of these activities. Adam proudly showcases his new motorcycles on Instagram, posing on a hill above Barcelona. He also displays his brand new electric camper van, which they use to travel and transport drugs across Europe and Iberia, as well as his gigantic marijuana cultivation located in Portugal. People like Ruan and Martina admire his public images. I came across a picture of Ruan and Martina together in Berlin, where their mother Fernanda visited them. Martina became member of the Evil Eye Cult, and the custom made mafia group in Spain, which used her as a pawn in their porn and drug-related activities. She now operates as their representative in Berlin. Martina and I have lost the ability to genuinely smile. Her social media posts only show disinterest or a malicious demeanor. ‘A boot stomping on a human face.’ In a picture with her brother and mother, she puts on a forced fake “good vibe” and “happy” smile, revealing her flawless teeth and the subtle lines of aging. With each passing day, she bears a greater resemblance to her rich and so happy mother, the bad person. As far as I know, none of these individuals have faced consequences for their actions, such as having their teeth broken. As I had. Innocently. Taking care of business and their lives. With love. I find this to be incredibly unjust. In the 21st century. In Europe. On planet Earth. By non-EU criminals. “Matando – ganando” – “killing and gaining” like there were no Laws at all. Nowadays, you can observe Sabrina flaunting her fake lips and altered face, just like Martina her enhanced breasts. Guess who was paying for it? It seems that both girls now sustain themselves through their bodies and drug involvement, to this day, influencing criminals to gain friends in harming Tomas and having a lavish lifestyle filled with fun and mischief. Making a living. Enjoying Spain. Enjoying Life. My money. My tears. This is the situation as it stands. I was wondering what Salvador Dali was trying to tell me. I stood in front of the Lincoln portrait for a long time, but I couldn't grasp the point or the moral behind it. I can listen to Abraham Lincoln and ‘trust people. To see. If I can trust them.’ But he ultimately suffered a tragic fate, with his life being taken. (Got his head popped.) I believe there may have also been a female or two involved in that situation, too, possibly leading to his guards being let down. While he was watching: Acting performances, he was facing a: Stage. Theater. It is disheartening, considering he was a good person. Like Jesus, John Lennon and so on. Shows a pattern Machiavelli was talking about. Some individuals are too bright for those in darkness; they feel compelled to suppress those brighter minds simply because they think and act differently. Popping their heads. Reptilian lower brain-based culture, the concept of the Evil Eye, Homo erectus. He couldn't even stand up properly when I was shouting at him, urging him to stand up from the stairs. ‘Homo seditus reptilis.’ But what else was there in the Lincoln image that I didn't see? What was Dali trying to convey or express or tell me? Besides the fact that the woman is in his mind, on his mind, in the image, exactly, his head got popped open. Perhaps because he was focusing on a woman, trusting her for a split second, or turning his head away for a moment.
The passing of years had made him indifferent to feminine beauty, and long association with the police had utterly calloused him to human misery. His manner indicated that he had detached himself from the scene of which he was a part. His body hulked between the prisoners and the door, which constituted a discharge of his duty. His mind was far away, occupied with the mathematical percentages of his prospects for winning on the races the next afternoon; daydreaming what he would do when he became eligible for pension; and rehashing in his mind an argument he had had with his wife that morning, thinking somewhat ruefully of her natural aptitude for delivering an extemporaneous tongue lashing, whereas he hadn’t thought of his best retorts until long afterward. His wife had a gift that way. No, damn it, she’d inherited it from her mother—that must be it. He remembered some of the scenes with his mother-in-law before she’d died some ten years ago. At that time, Mabel had been all worked up over the way the old lady used to have tantrums. That was before Mabel had got fat. She certainly had a good figure in those days. Well, come to think of it, he’d put on a little weight himself.
Erle Stanley Gardner (The Case of the Crooked Candle (Perry Mason #24))
Earth’s not so bad—” “How would you know?” Tan’elKoth said acidly. “It is only in these past few days that you have had contact with the actual realities of Earth. Are you having fun?” He waved toward the window, where Kollberg now had one hand openly kneading his groin while he leaned one cheek and the side of his open mouth against the glass. Avery flinched and looked away. She hugged herself more tightly. “I don’t understand. If you hate what they’re going to do, why are you helping them?” “I am not helping them!” Suddenly he was on his feet, towering over her, shaking an enormous fist. “I am helping you. I am helping Faith. I am . . .” The passion drained out of him as swiftly as it had arisen. He let his fist open and fall limp against his thigh. “I am trying to go home.” Outside the window, Kollberg panted like an overheated dog. “Well,” Avery said finally. “I’m afraid you’re out of luck.” “How do you mean?” She shook her head. “You’re such a man, Professional. That’s why you can’t find this link of yours.” “I do not understand.” “Of course you don’t. That’s what I mean: You’re a man. You think this link is with the river. It wasn’t. Faith spoke of it, in the car on our way back to Boston when I first picked her up. She was quite clear about it. Her link was never with the river. It was with her mother.” “Her mother—?” “Her dead mother, now.” Tan’elKoth’s eyes narrowed. “I have been a fool,” he said. He spun and seated himself once again at Faith’s side, bending over her with redoubled energy. “Power,” he murmured. “All that is required is a usable source of power—” “What are you doing? She’s dead, Tan’elKoth. There is no link.” “Dead, yes—but the pattern of her consciousness persists, even as your son’s does within me. It was trapped at the instant of her passing. It is powerless, yes—having no body to inform it with will. It is analogous to a computer program stored on disk, you might say: a structure of information that requires only a computer on which to run, and the necessary power to activate.” “What kind of power?” From the doorway behind her, the soulless rasp of Arturo Kollberg said, “My kind of power.” DURING HIS YEARS of walking the world, the crooked knight came to find himself bemazed within a dark and trackless wood. In this wood, all paths led equally to death. The crooked knight did not lose hope; he turned to various guides for help and direction. His first guide was Youthful Dream. Later, he turned to Friendship, then Duty, and finally Reason, but each left him more lost than had the one before. So the crooked knight gave himself up for dead, and simply sat. He would be sitting there still, but for a breeze that came upon him then: a breeze that smelled of wide-open spaces, of limitless skies and bright sun, of ice and high mountains. It was the wind from the dark angel’s wings.
Matthew Woodring Stover (Blade of Tyshalle (The Acts of Caine, #2))
As it turns out, skiing trips are pretty bloody annoying anyway. It’s mostly about queuing, skiing. You queue to get your breakfast in the stupid wooden hotel, you queue to get on the minibus or find a taxi to take you to the stupid skiing place at the bottom of the stupid hill. You queue to buy a pass, which you lose later in the day and then you get down to the serious queuing, at the point where you get on the lift at the bottom of the mountain to take you to the top. This, technically, isn’t queuing, it’s something more akin to fighting, so I preferred this bit. You hang around in a big crowd on a sort of train platform. Except there are no tracks, just a big wire overhead. Eventually, the cable car device lumbers into view and disgorges a load of really annoying people with stupid smiles under their stupid hats on to the other side of the platform. The car never stops; it just swings around the bottom of the platform on a huge, horizontal wheel until it comes up the side on which you and several million Germans are loitering, ready to get on board. Then there is a really massive fight, lots of shouting, some vicious pushing and, the next thing you know, you’re on the cable car, face pressed to the frosted glass, staring through it at crying kids back on the platform, disappointed mothers and bereft lovers waving mournfully as the other half of their life is transported away on the carriage that someone, usually you, prevented them from getting on by elbowing them in the face and jabbing a ski pole into their groin. It’s really rather good fun. But only that part is fun; the rest of it is terrible.
Richard Hammond (As You Do: Adventures With Evel, Oliver, and The Vice-President Of Botswana)
Yo mama is so ugly… they had to feed her with a Frisbee! Yo mama is so ugly… when she watches TV the channels change themselves! Yo mama is so ugly… she looks like she has been bobbing for apples in hot grease! Yo mama is so ugly… they passed a law saying she could only do online shopping! Yo mama is so ugly… she looked in the mirror and her reflection committed suicide! Yo mama is so ugly… even homeless people won’t take her money! Yo mama is so ugly… she’s the reason blind dates were invented! Yo mama is so ugly… even a pit-bull wouldn’t bite her! Yo mama is so ugly… she scares the paint off the wall! Yo mama is so ugly… she scares roaches away! Yo mama is so ugly… she looked out the window and got arrested! Yo mama is so ugly… she had to get a prescription mirror! Yo mama is so ugly… bullets refuse to kill her! Yo mama is so ugly… for Halloween she trick-or-treats on the phone! Yo mama is so ugly… when she plays Mortal Kombat, Scorpion says, “Stay over there!” Yo mama is so ugly… I told her to take out the trash and we never saw her again! Yo mama is so ugly… even Hello Kitty said goodbye! Yo mama is so ugly… even Rice Krispies won't talk to her! Yo mama is so ugly… that your father takes her to work with him so that he doesn't have to kiss her goodbye. Yo mama is so ugly… she made the Devil go to church! Yo mama is so ugly… she made an onion cry. Yo mama is so ugly… when she walks down the street in September, people say “Wow, is it Halloween already?” Yo mama is so ugly… she is the reason that Sonic the Hedgehog runs! Yo mama is so ugly… The NHL banned her for life. Yo mama is so ugly… she scared the crap out of a toilet! Yo mama is so ugly… she turned Medusa to stone! Yo mama is so ugly… her pillow cries at night! Yo mama is so ugly… she tried to take a bath and the water jumped out! Yo mama is so ugly… she gets 364 extra days to dress up for Halloween. Yo mama is so ugly… people put pictures of her on their car to prevent theft! Yo mama is so ugly… her mother had to be drunk to breast feed her! Yo mama is so ugly… instead of putting the bungee cord around her ankle, they put it around her neck. Yo mama is so ugly… when they took her to the beautician it took 24 hours for a quote! Yo mama is so ugly… they didn't give her a costume when she tried out for Star Wars. Yo mama is so ugly… just after she was born, her mother said, “What a treasure!” And her father said, “Yes, let's go bury it!” Yo mama is so ugly… her mom had to tie a steak around her neck to get the dogs to play with her. Yo mama is so ugly… when she joined an ugly contest, they said, “Sorry, no professionals.” Yo mama is so ugly… they had to feed her with a slingshot! Yo mama is so ugly… that she scares blind people! Yo mama is so ugly… when she walks into a bank they turn off the surveillance cameras. Yo mama is so ugly… she got beat up by her imaginary friends! Yo mama is so ugly… the government moved Halloween to her birthday.
Johnny B. Laughing (Yo Mama Jokes Bible: 350+ Funny & Hilarious Yo Mama Jokes)
TO SLEEP. A flock of sheep that leisurely pass by,   One after one; the sound of rain, and bees   Murmuring; the fall of rivers, winds and seas,   Smooth fields, white sheets of water, and pure sky;   I've thought of all by turns; and still I lie   Sleepless; and soon the small birds' melodies   Must hear, first utter'd from my orchard trees;   And the first Cuckoo's melancholy cry.   Even thus last night, and two nights more, I lay,   And could not win thee, Sleep! by any stealth:   So do not let me wear to night away:   Without Thee what is all the morning's wealth?   Come, blessed barrier betwixt day and day,   Dear mother of fresh thoughts and joyous health!
William Wordsworth (Poems in Two Volumes, Volume 1)
5 Some of his disciples were remarking about how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to God. But Jesus said, 6 “As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down.” 7 “Teacher,” they asked, “when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?” 8 He replied: “Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them. 9 When you hear of wars and uprisings, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away.” 10 Then he said to them: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven. 12 “But before all this, they will seize you and persecute you. They will hand you over to synagogues and put you in prison, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. 13 And so you will bear testimony to me. 14 But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. 15 For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. 16 You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. 17 Everyone will hate you because of me. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish. 19 Stand firm, and you will win life. 20 “When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. 21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. 22 For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written. 23 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. 24 They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. 25 “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. 26 People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. 27 At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” 29 He told them this parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees. 30 When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. 31 Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near. 32 “Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. 34 “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap. 35 For it will come on all those who live on the face of the whole earth. 36 Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.” 37 Each day Jesus was teaching at the temple, and each evening he went out to spend the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives, 38 and all the people came early in the morning to hear him at the temple.
Two weeks had passed when Willie got home from school one day to find a letter postmarked Tyler, Texas. “Dear Willie,” Marla wrote, Dad was right. I love it here. I’ve got three girl cousins I go to school with. One’s in my grade, and one’s ahead of me and one behind. And my aunts are neat. They’re so kind to Mama. Oh, and Dad got a job right away that he likes so far. Anyway, what I want to tell you is how sorry I am. I mean, I wasn’t nice when I first met you because I thought you were a goofball and you’d mess up my life. How was I to know you were really my frog prince? Write me, Willie. I miss you a lot. Your friend, Marla. “Nice letter?” Mom asked. “Yeah,” Willie said. “She says I’m her frog prince.” “Of course you’re a prince. Didn’t I always tell you?” Mom asked. Willie laughed. It didn’t matter if she had; she was his mother, so he knew better than to believe her. “I’m going to write and tell Marla how Booboo’s doing,” Willie said. He’d tell her that since Booboo was back in Willie’s bed at night he was quiet--most of the time. And Booboo hadn’t wet on any more crossword puzzles, either. Of course, Dad hadn’t left any on the floor now that he was back at work and happy being busy again, but still Booboo deserved some credit. Instead of a signature at the end of the letter, he’d draw a picture of a frog with his own face and a crown. Yeah, that’d be good. He bet it would make Marla laugh, and even if he couldn’t hear her, he’d like that.
C.S. Adler (Willie, the Frog Prince)
My mother had told me when my father had passed away that death was something you managed, not something you ever truly got over, and that some days were easier than others. I was grateful that today was one of those rare easier ones. I’d
Lily Graham (The Island Villa)
We all have different measures for a successful life. For some people, it’s earning a lot of money. Or becoming famous. Or owning a lot of homes and cars. But you were with your mother on the afternoon she passed away. And you were with her every day leading up to that, even if your relationship wasn’t always the smoothest. You were there for her. And a lot of people would consider that a life well spent.
Darcy Coates (The Hollow Dead (Gravekeeper Book 4))