“Isn’t it odd,” Maryam said. “Just like that, a completely unknown person is a part of their family forever. Well, of course that’s true of a birth child, too, but … I don’t know, this seems more astonishing.” “To me, both are astonishing,” Dave said. “I remember before Bitsy was born, I used to worry she might not be compatible with the two of us. I told Connie, ‘Look at how long we took deciding whom we’d marry, but this baby’s waltzing in out of nowhere, not so much as a background check or a personality quiz. What if it turns out we don’t have any shared interests?’ ”
“You belong,” he told her. “You belong just as much as I do, or, who, or Bitsy or … It’s just like Christmas. We all think the others belong more.”
“The excuses she’d been about to offer—New York, Farah’s visit—suddenly seemed transparent. Instead, she told the truth. “I’m afraid it might be awkward, though.” “Awkward! Nonsense. We’re all grownups.” This argument came as a disappointment; Maryam wasn’t sure why. What had she wanted Bitsy to say? A pinch of injury tightened her chest. She said, “I know your father feels I didn’t handle things very well.” “Now, is that in any way relevant to this discussion? We’re talking about a simple little, normal little family get-together,” Bitsy said. “Shoot, we should just shanghai you.” Shanghai. As a verb, it was unfamiliar. Maybe it meant something like “lynch.” Maryam said, “Yes, perhaps you should,” in a tone that must have sounded more bitter than she had intended, because Bitsy said, “Well, forgive me, Maryam. I’m a meddlesome person; I realize that.” Which she was, in fact. But Maryam said, “Oh, no, Bitsy, you’re very kind. You were very sweet to call.” And then, trying to match Bitsy’s energy, “But you haven’t told me what I can do for you! Please, give me a task.” “Not a thing, thanks,” Bitsy said. “I’m getting stronger every day.”
“They knew all about Jin-Ho because Jin-Ho’s mother had telephoned two weeks after the babies’ arrival. “I hope you don’t mind my tracking you down,” she’d said. “You’re the only Yazdans in the book and I just couldn’t resist calling you to find out how things were going.” Jin-Ho, it seemed, was doing marvelously.”
“When Bitsy looked back on Jin-Ho’s arrival, it didn’t seem like a first meeting. It seemed that Jin-Ho had been traveling toward them all along and Bitsy’s barrenness had been part of the plan, foreordained so that they could have their true daughter.”
“In the manner of one recognizing a line from a familiar poem in a strange book.”
“There are people who believe in you. You might not always believe that yourself, but there are—parents, teachers, neighbors, relatives, me. I know that no matter what is thrown at you, you’ll recover amazingly.”
“Eva was a between-the-lines talker. She left the sayable unsaid and said what she meant without saying it.”
“I cannot be a monk, nor a crusader, nor a tumbler. I must stay here and hem sheets until I die. My humors are greatly out of balance. I prescribe for myself wormwood and spiced wine and some of the custard left from supper, and I will let all of the dogs sleep in my bed.”
“down to the foot of the tree to”
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