“Love. The opposite of fear is love, and every minute of every day, we choose between the two.”
“I sat there looking normal but thinking about how much I wished we were going to see the real Jesus. Everyone needed a miracle once in a while.”
“Sometimes things get broken and people make mistakes. It's just what happens. And then, if you're lucky, they get fixed again, before it's too late.”
“I stared at the phone and swallowed the piece of my heart that was lodged in my throat now.”
“At the door, I looked back at all those people I didn’t know and thought about how small your heart is but how big of a space it takes up. And how, even though you can’t see it, that heart space grows so quietly across a room or up some stairs into someone else’s living room, that even if you never step foot in it again, the air in there is changed forever.”
“Mary made him lie down in the middle of the stage. Then she started singing, “Everything’s all right, yes, everything’s fine …” and rubbing something on his forehead, which wasn’t going to help him. No one ever gets saved by a forehead rub. Ask Laura Ingalls Wilder if you don’t believe me. But Mary kept doing it anyway, begging him to let the world turn without him tonight because everything was all right—which it wasn’t, because even his best friend, Judas, was acting weird.”
“But the truth was that Laura Ingalls Wilder was the nicest girl I’d ever not known. Rennie would throw me under a bus for a piece of chocolate.”
“And suddenly it smelled like someone forgot to turn on the gravity. The air was so fresh and light you could practically float on it. Flowers were everywhere, all of them bursting with color.”
“What Love Means to Me,” Chad said, writing. “By Apron Bramhall, the loveliest noun I know. Get over here, noun.”
“Draco dormiens nunquam titillandu.
A sleeping dragon is never to be tickled.”
“I folded up that last bit of hope and put it away on the top shelf of my life.”
“I’m an oncologist, not a podiatrist.” My skin unzipped. Those were the worst kinds of doctors. They never saved anyone.”
“I wrote Vis consilii epers mole ruit sua on the front of the first tag, and on the inside I put the translation: Force lacking judgment collapses under its own weight. And in case they still didn’t get it, I wrote Sorry! I’m just a big dummy.”
“The lady shuffled around, bending over to inspect the flowers and holding up one of the tags. “Oh nuts. Are these already sold?” she asked. I shook my head. “No.”
“Goody,” she smiled, looking at a tag that said Adulescenita Deferbui, on the outside and The Fires of Youth have Cooled – But you’re still looking foxy!”
“I watched her shuffle around, reading tags and smelling flowers, laughing every time or smiling nice—what flowers were supposed to make you do.”
“But what are you supposed to do now? I mean, how are you supposed to act normal?”
Mike looked at me, his blueberry eyes searching. “I don’t know, Apron,” he said. “I was hoping you could tell me.”
And then, just like that, I understood what my real job was this summer, and it had nothing to do with flowers.”
“What’s that?” he asked.
“A picture of my mom,” I said, opening his ice-cold hand and putting the frame in it gently.
“But Apron,” Chad said. “I can’t see.”
“I know. But it’s not for now. It’s for when you get there, so you can find her.”
Chad tapped his finger on my mom’s cheek. “Does she look like you?”
I thought about it hard enough for Chad to take in another long breath. “A little bit,” I said.
“Not quite as pretty?”
“Well,” I said. “You’ll have to see for yourself.”
Chad raised his eyebrows. “I’ll find her, Apron. I promise. If you promise me something, too.”
I nodded, but then remembered he couldn’t see me. “What?”
“Don’t stay sad. Remember our poem. What it means. Promise?”
“I walked around the counter and straight into his white T-shirt. Then we stood like that, him holding my red head, and me listening to the part of his chest where his heart used to be.”
“I missed Chad in the same way that I missed my mom now: always.”
“High tide spilled over my lashes.”
“We turned away from each other at the same time, the space between us getting longer, until it looked like we hadn’t even been standing together in the first place. But we had, and it was there: another heart layer on top of that sidewalk, changing it forever.”
“Inside, the air smelled so fragile you could break it with a sneeze.”
“Already in love with her, huh?” she said. I jerked my eyes away and thought about it. But there it was, that tiny heart space, already spreading out between us, my sister and me.”
“The church smelled like leftover tears. Sadness was tucked into corners and hidden under beams and pasted so thick on the walls that it was hard to breathe.”
“And even though I had freckles and red hair and almost killed Grandma Bramhall, I danced like I didn’t.”
“I hadn’t actually come out and asked him to pick us up, so when he said, “All right, give me twenty minutes, I gotta go dig out my old crutches,” I knew with every last drop of blood and every bone in my body that Mike was at least related to Jesus.”
“I didn’t want them to be gay anymore. I didn’t want people like Mrs. Perry to make a face and step away from them; I didn’t want Mike to shuffle his feet and clear frogs out of his throat whenever he talked to my dad; and I didn’t want Chad to go around making fun of himself so nobody else could. And most of all, I didn’t want them to have AIDS.”
“Listen, little lady, the people who do this kind of thing think if we rub up against them, they’ll catch it. But there ain’t no catching what we got,” he smirked. It was the same thing Mike had said. “Either you is or you isn’t. And if you’re lucky, you isn’t.” Toby’s extra-brown eyes softened. “Life’s hard enough.”
He looked at me while I thought about this: Being gay wasn’t any different than having freckles.”
“I stayed there sipping in that wrong air, until it filled my lungs with knowing that something bad was about to happen.”
“Flipping to the front, I caught Aiden's gaze and offered a sympathetic smile.
I dumped some into his open palm, then picked out the green ones. Aiden grinned at me.
"You know I don't like the green ones?"
Shrugging, I popped them in my mouth.
"The few times I've seen you eat them, you leave the green ones behind."
Deacon popped his head between our seats.
"That's true love right there."
"That it is."
Aiden's gaze flicked to the road. I flushed like a little schoolgirl and focused on the remaining pieces of candy until Deacon drifted back into his seat. I handed all the red ones to Aiden.”
“The grasp of objects that bind us to some betokening.”
“Griffin stared at me, his expression grave. "There are only three things both light and dark exiles have in common. They despise each other, they hate grigori, and they place no value on the casualties of their brutal wars."
Excellent news. Not only was I apparently some weird angel-human combo, but I already had myself a badass immortal enemy.”
“Bir ana bir ömür kadar çok hayat doldurduğunu bilerek yaşamak...”
“Odio perderte, pero me encantan las razones por las que decides abandonarme.”
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