Quotes from A Voice in the Distance

Tabitha Suzuma ·  256 pages

Rating: (437 votes)


“They say when you really love someone, you should be willing to set them free. So that is what I am doing. I will step back and you will move on. I will let you go. ... Your happiness means everything to me. I will listen for your voice in the distance. I will look at the moon. I will keep you in my pocket. I will carry your smile with me everywhere, like a warm and comforting glow.”
― Tabitha Suzuma, quote from A Voice in the Distance


“They say that depression makes you see everything in a negative light. I disagree. It makes you see things for what they are. It makes you take off the fucking rose-tinted glasses and look around and see the world as it really is- cruel, harsh and unfair. It makes you see people in their true colours- stupid, shallow and self-absorbed. All that ridiculous optimism, all that carpe diem and life-is-what-you-make-of-it. Words, jsut empty words in an attempt to give meaning to an existence taht is both doomed and futile.”
― Tabitha Suzuma, quote from A Voice in the Distance


“Your happiness means everything to me. I will listen for your voice in the distance. I will look at the moon. I will keep you in my pocket. I will carry your smile with me everywhere like a warm and comforting glow.”
― Tabitha Suzuma, quote from A Voice in the Distance


“I am sure that music was never meant to sound this harsh, this painful.”
― Tabitha Suzuma, quote from A Voice in the Distance


“It’s just this pain, this unbearable mental pain – often it’s your body too, and every part of you hurts. But you don’t really care about your body, it’s your mind. Every thought hurts like hell. Everything you see is awful, twisted, pointless. And the worst – the worst of it is yourself. You realize you are the most ghastly person in the world, the most hideous, inside and out. And you just want to escape, you just want to get rid of yourself, of your suffering, of the pain inside your head. You want to shut out the world and yourself, for ever. A-and death is the only option left because you’ve been through this time and time again, thought and thought about trying to change yourself, the way you think, the way you behave, the way you live. Yet it always comes back to this – the fact that you just d-don’t want to be alive—”
― Tabitha Suzuma, quote from A Voice in the Distance



“I dial her mum's number, then sit down cross-legged, facing the wall. When she comes on the line, she sounds uncertain, hesitant.
'Hey! Guess where I am?' I ask, my voice loud with false cheer.
'Rami told me. The Wellesly Hospital in Worthing. What's it like?'
'For a loony-bin it's actually quite decent,' I reply. 'I don't have Sky or an en-suite, and the menu isn't exactly à la carte, but you know...' I tail off.
There is a silence.
'Do you have your own room?' Jenna asks,
'Oh yeah, yeah. I have a lovely view of the sea between the bars of my window.'
She doesn't laugh.
'Have you started' -there is a pause as she searches for the right word -'threatment?'
'Yeah, yeah. We had group therapy today. Tomorrow we'll probably have art therapy - maybe I'll draw you a hourse and a garden. I know, perhaps they'll teach us to make baskets! Isn't that why they call us basket cases?'
'Flynn, stop,' Jennah softly implores.
'And we'll probably have music therapy the day after. Maybe I'll get to play the tambourine. Or the triangle. I've always wanted to play the triangle!'
'Flynn-'
'No, I'm serious! I'll ask for some manuscript paper and see if I can write a composition for tambourine and triangle. Then I can post if off to you to hand in for my next composition assignment.'
'Flynn, listen-'
'Hold on, hold on! I'm making a note to myself now: Find fellow insane musician and start composing the Flynn Laukonen Sonata for Tambourine and Triangle.'
'Flynn-'
'And then, when they let me out, if they ever let me out, perhaps you could pull a few strigns and organize for me and my tambourine buddy to give a recital. I'm not sure where though -how about the subway at Marble Arch tube? Nice and central, good acoustics-'
'What are the other people like?' Jennah cuts in, an edge to her voice. I notice she doesn't use the word patients. Clever Jennah. For a moment there you almost made me forget I was locked up in a mental institution.
'Round the bend, just like me,' I reply. 'I'm in excellent company. We'll be swapping suicide tips in no time at all!' I give a harsh laugh.”
― Tabitha Suzuma, quote from A Voice in the Distance


“I close my eyes and try and shut him out. My fingers don’t want to stay in time. They want to race ahead in fury, plunging into the dense fog of black notes, pulling the music out by its roots, hurling it up out of the piano and into the air.”
― Tabitha Suzuma, quote from A Voice in the Distance


“...So that's what she was doing with the sports bag. Emptying the flat of pills so that I wouldn't kill myself. I want to laugh. You're so stupid, I want to say. There are kitchen knives, aren't there? Windows that open? Glasses which can be broken? Do you honestly think that by taking away all the pills you will somehow stop me from killing myself?
Then another thought occurs to me. That in her hurt, angry state, Jennah still had the presence of mind to do this. Don't kill yourself, she says to me through the empty drawer. Don't kill yourself over me.”
― Tabitha Suzuma, quote from A Voice in the Distance


“I wanted some assurances that my life would never again be torn apart like that, that I would never again suffer the pain of watching my loved one destroyed by his own hand. And with that one telephone message I realized, in a brutal, final way that so long as I was with Flynn I would never be protected from the horror of suicide. That he would always be capable of stopping his medication, always be capable of lying to cover his illness, always be capable of swallowing forty pills and lying down beside his girlfriend to die.”
― Tabitha Suzuma, quote from A Voice in the Distance


“Um, excuse me…” I hear a man’s voice.

“She’s all right,” Rami says. “She’s with me. She’s my friend. She’s just a bit upset.”

I feel a hand on my shoulder. “Are you all right, miss?”

I drag my hands away from my face and look up into an unfamiliar bearded face. “Do you know this man?” the stranger asks me.

“Y-yes,” I gasp.

“That’s all right then.” He pats me on the shoulder. “There’s a hospital just down the road if you need help,” I hear him tell Rami.

“Thanks,” Rami replies.

“I guess it doesn’t look too good, me wrestling on the pavement with a screaming girl,” Rami says, a smile in his voice.”
― Tabitha Suzuma, quote from A Voice in the Distance



“Dicen que la depresión te hace ver todo de una forma negativa. Yo no estoy de acuerdo. La depresión te hace ver las cosas como son. Hace que te quites la venda de los ojos y voltees a tú alrededor para ver el mundo como en realidad es: cruel, duro e injusto. Te hace ver a las personas como son en realidad- estúpidas, superficiales y egoístas. Todo ese ridículo optimismo, todo ese ''Carpe diem'' y ''la vida es lo que tú haces de ella''. Palabras. Solo palabras vacías en un intento para darle significado a una existencia que es condenada e inútil a la vez.”
― Tabitha Suzuma, quote from A Voice in the Distance


“The sobs tear at my throat. Who would have thought forty pills wouldn't be enough?”
― Tabitha Suzuma, quote from A Voice in the Distance


“They’ve cranked up the lithium so high, I can hardly see straight. I feel like a robot, my feelings have completely evaporated and I couldn’t even say boo to a goose. I’m no danger to anyone.”

“I’m not thinking you’re a danger to anyone.”

“I’m no danger to myself, then.”

Rami stops, spaghetti-laden fork halfway to his mouth. There is a long pause. “Are you sure about that?”
― Tabitha Suzuma, quote from A Voice in the Distance


“I want to understand, but at the same time it hurts, on so many different levels. It hurts to hear that he can reach a place where he doesn’t care about me any more, doesn’t care about damaging me so much I might never recover. It also hurts to hear him say it, to hear him verbalize even in the most simplistic terms the agony he was going through, has been through time and time again, while I remained blissfully unaware.”
― Tabitha Suzuma, quote from A Voice in the Distance


“Did you think I – I would be able to carry on, without you?” I sob, my voice muffled against his shoulder. “Did you think I’d manage to get through this thing called life without you by my side?”

“I thought you’d be better off without me – I didn’t think, I couldn’t think…” We are both sobbing now.

“Who else would run out on their own birthday party, force me barefoot down the fire escape, bring me fruit salad in bed, complain that I’m humming a pop song in the wrong key?” I am laughing and crying at once. “Who else would force me to dance in front of a complete stranger, learn to play the guitar overnight and accompany me when I sing?” I sniff hard and punch him on the shoulder. “How could I possibly live without you, you stupid, stupid idiot?”
― Tabitha Suzuma, quote from A Voice in the Distance



“He seems so drugged up and slow. I miss his laughter, his impulsiveness, his wacky sense of humour, even his obsessive practicing. It makes me wonder who he actually is. If the old Flynn was ill – courtesy of a chemical imbalance in the brain – is this lithiumed Flynn the real MyCoy? Or perhaps both characters are just facets of a hidden, deeper soul that I have yet to meet. I just don’t know. Sometimes I fear that the drug-free Flynn searingly manic, then catastrophically depressed – is who he really is. But because in that form he is not acceptable to conventional society, he has to be drugged so that his emotions are tempered and his behavior controlled. Perhaps we are blindly living in an Orwellian society where individualism is feared and the biggest pressure is the one to conform. Perhaps Flynn is sane and the rest of the world is mad. The thoughts go round and round in my head.”
― Tabitha Suzuma, quote from A Voice in the Distance


“I’ll try anything,” Flynn says. “I’ve got to stop this, Soph – it could ruin my career.”

“I know, but you’re well. Look at you, you’re so well.”

“But none of that matters if I can’t play.”
― Tabitha Suzuma, quote from A Voice in the Distance


“Oh God, Harry, I just don’t know what to do.”

“Have you ever thought..?”

“What?” I ask hopefully.

Harry hesitates. “That maybe there’s nothing you can do?”

It is not the answer I’m expecting. I stare at him.

“I mean, maybe – maybe this is what it’s going to be like when he gets ill,” Harry continues doggedly. “He’ll have an episode – either of mania or depression – his meds will be tweaked, therapy will be stepped up, and everyone will wait for it to pass. Which, of course, it will do.”

“And so – you’re saying I should just weather the storm?”

Harry nods slowly. “I think so, yes. Otherwise you’re going to wear yourself down, trying to help him, trying to make things better, when it’s basically out of your control.”

I look at Harry. Somewhere, at the back of my mind, I think he might have a point. But I don’t want to admit it. Not yet.”
― Tabitha Suzuma, quote from A Voice in the Distance


“I see a familiar figure lurking at the edge of the crowd. A long dark coat, tousled blond hair, a gaze so piercing it hurts. He smiles slightly and then steps away, steps back, turns away. No.“ “The figure is moving, moving away across the street. As he reaches the other side, he turns back and looks at me. Raises his eyebrows and nods as if to say well done. Then he leaves, walking quickly down the road.” “I am going to burst. I am going to burst with disappointment, sorrow and pain. I scan the street desperately with my eyes. He does not come back. He does not come back.” - Jennah”
― Tabitha Suzuma, quote from A Voice in the Distance


“It’s funny how you can think you’ve reached rock bottom, then sink a whole lot further.”
― Tabitha Suzuma, quote from A Voice in the Distance



“It's not what you're thinkin!" Jennah squawks, turning pink. "My God, you men only have one thing on the brain! We went for a walk in the park!"

"Well, we didn't exactly do very much walking," I interject, determined to wind her up.

Harry begins to laugh.

Jennah gasps in outrage. "We sat and watched the swans on the lake, thank you very much, Harry!"

Harry is still laughing. "Now could that possibly be a euphemism for--"

Jennah yelps and whacks Harry on the back of the head. Harry cries out in mock outrage. "Aargh! Is this how she treats you, Flynn? Whacking you if you don't make the bed in the morning, whacking you if you don't put the loo seat down--!”
― Tabitha Suzuma, quote from A Voice in the Distance


“As she chats away, the candlelight is reflected in her pupils, making them shine like cats’ eyes. When she smiles, her nose crinkles and dimples appear in her cheeks. I look at her, stare at her, and I think: I wish I could pick you up and put you in my pocket. I wish I could carry you with me all the time, safe and warm. I wish there was a way I could be with you all the time, every hour of every day. Each time you smile, it’s like the first time all over again, and my heart flutters in my chest. I want to reach out and hold you – it’s like a physical ache. I want to stroke your face and kiss your eyelashes and feel your skin and smell your hair. I love you. I love you so much. And it hurts. I don’t know why.”
― Tabitha Suzuma, quote from A Voice in the Distance


“She presses her nose against mine, completely obscuring my view of the keyboard. I find myself staring into her large dark green eyes. Her irises are flecked with gold. I keep playing.

"Wrong note!" she cries, triumphant.”
― Tabitha Suzuma, quote from A Voice in the Distance


“When Jennah starts to sing, I feel the goose pimples rise on my arms. I haven’t heard her sing this piece with the orchestra before. Her voice is strong and pure, resonating through the hall. She sways forward onto her toes and gazes out to the back of the concert hall, her eyes bright. The sleeves of her grey jumper are too long so I am sure I am the only one to notice when she taps her finger against her skirt to help her with a re-entry. I can almost taste her voice in my mouth. It is the colour of dawn. I want to run up and grab her and twirl her around. I want to yell, She’s mine! The sight of her, standing there, singing, makes me want to shout with joy.”
― Tabitha Suzuma, quote from A Voice in the Distance


“He won’t talk, he won’t tell me. I just don’t understand how someone can be so happy one week and then so miserable the next. I know it’s all about the chemicals in his brain but surely we’re more than just fluctuating chemicals…”

“Of course we are,” Sophie says. “There is still so much we don’t understand about the brain.”

“Sometimes I think it’s just him,” I say. “I know this sounds really mean, but sometimes I think that he could control it if he wanted to, because we all have good days and bad days, don’t we?”

“Yes, but we don’t all start throwing paint around when we’re having a good day and stay in bed when we’re having a bad day. We might feel like doing those things” – Sophie smiles – “but we don’t. That, I suppose, is the difference.”
― Tabitha Suzuma, quote from A Voice in the Distance



“She looks away and bites her lip. Her eyes glisten.
I want to touch her but I don’t dare. I don’t even know if she’s mine any more.”
― Tabitha Suzuma, quote from A Voice in the Distance


“His face is like a waxwork, and I realize suddenly with startling clarity that the body and the person are two different things. Two different entities, somehow fused. The body is the one I am looking at now, attached to all these machines, the heart still struggling to pump, the lungs still struggling to breathe, valiantly fighting to stay alive. The person is another being entirely, the perpetrator of this crime, the one who ruthlessly swallowed forty tablets sometime in the middle of the night, then lay down beside his girlfriend to die. The person tried to kill itself, tried to kill its own body. I understand for the first time why attempted suicide used to be an imprisonable offence. It is, after all, attempted murder. The person against the body.”
― Tabitha Suzuma, quote from A Voice in the Distance


“OK, OK, calm down, I tell myself. It's going to be all right. She's going to come back, isn't she? Except that she isn't. I am going to die, I realize. I am actually going to die. I put my hands over my face and start to sob. I feel like I am being slowly, carefully, ripped in two. I realize that this pain is worse than anything I could ever imagine. Worse than the deepest depression. I can hardly breathe with the strength of it. I feel sure that pain of this intensity cannot be sustained: any minute I will pass out. But I don't, and the pain keeps on growing, fresh waves of undiluted agony. I am sobbing so hard I can barely draw breath. My lungs feel as if they are ready to burst and the gasping, retching noises make me sound as if I am suffocating.

Fear courses through my veins. Fear and pain in equal doses. She has to come back. She simply has to come back. I cannot live without her. I cannot, and I will not. So this is what they mean about dying of a broken heart. It is actually possible.”
― Tabitha Suzuma, quote from A Voice in the Distance


“You’re really fond of him, aren’t you,” I say. My heart hurts.

“Well, he’s the only brother-in-law I’ve got, so I’d rather hang onto him if at all possible!” Sophie replies.”
― Tabitha Suzuma, quote from A Voice in the Distance


“I hate him!” I scream.

“Who, Flynn?”

“Yes! I h-hate him! I wished he had died if that’s what he wanted! I hate him!”

“I know,” Rami says.

“No, you d-don’t!” I sob. “I hate him! I don’t love him! I hate him!”

“One can both love and hate someone, Jen.”
― Tabitha Suzuma, quote from A Voice in the Distance



About the author

Tabitha Suzuma
Born place: London, The United Kingdom
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