“A man thinks he can fly, but he is afraid to jump. A poor friend pushes him from behind.” He looks up at me. “A good friend jumps with.”
“Forget a man’s name and he’ll forgive you. Remember it, and he’ll defend you forever.”
“You and I keep looking for light in the darkness, expecting it to appear. But it already has.” I touch his shoulder. “We’re it, boyo. Broken and cracked and stupid as we are, we’re the light, and we’re spreading.”
“justice isn’t about fixing the past, it’s about fixing the future. We’re not fighting for the dead. We’re fighting for the living. And for those who aren’t yet born.”
“Man is no island. We need those who love us. We need those who hate us. We need others to tether us to life, to give us a reason to live, to feel.”
“If your heart beats like a drum, and your legs a little wet, it’s because the Reaper’s come to collect a little debt.”
“The Reaper has come. And he’s brought hell with him.”
“And I wonder, in my last moments, if the planet does not mind that we wound her surface or pillage her bounty, because she knows we silly warm things are not even a breath in her cosmic life. We have grown and spread, and will rage and die. And when all that remains of us is our steel monuments and plastic idols, her winds will whisper, her sands will shift, and she will spin on and on, forgetting about the bold, hairless apes who thought they deserved immortality.”
“Sevro." I lean forward. "Your eyes..."
He leans in close. "Do you like 'em?"
"Bloodydamn. Did you get Carved?"
"By the best in the business. Do you like 'em?"
"They're bloodydamn marvelous. Fit you like a glove."
He punches his hands together. "Glad you said that. Cuz they're yours."
I blanch. "What?"
"Do you want the eyes back?" Sevro asks, suddenly worried. "I can give them back."
"No!" I say. "It's just I forgot how crazy you are."
"Oh." He laughs and slaps my shoulder. "Good. I thought it might be something serious. So I'm prime keeping them?"
"Finders keepers," I say with a shrug.”
“You know a people have given up when they stop teaching their children.”
“In war, men lose what makes them great. Their creativity. Their wisdom. Their joy. All that’s left is their utility.”
“What is pride without honor? What is honor without truth? Honor is not what you say. It is not what you read.” Romulus thumps his chest. “Honor is what you do.”
“If this is the end, I will rage toward it.”
“You! Troll!" Sevro shouts. "I'm a terrorist warlord! Stop throwing me. You made me drop by candy!”
“I’m a bloodydamn Helldiver with an army of giant, mildly psychotic women behind me and a fleet of state-of-the-art warships crewed by pissed-off pirates, engineers, techs, and former slaves.”
“I am not alone. I am not his victim. So let him do his worst. I am the Reaper. I know how to suffer. I know the darkness.”
“This is always how the story would end,” he says to me. “Not with your screams. Not with your rage. But with your silence.”
“How many mothers have prayed to see their sons, their daughters return from war only to realize the war has kept them, the world has poisoned them, and they’ll never be the same?”
“It takes more to hope than to remember.”
“If you're watching, Eo, it's time to close your eyes. The Reaper has come. And he's brought hell with him.”
“Our lives mean so much more than the frail bodies that carry them.”
“I thought being a man was having control. Being the master and commander of your own destiny. How could any boy know that freedom is lost the moment you become a man. Things start to count. To press in. Constricting slowly, inevitably, creating a cage of inconveniences and duties and deadlines and failed plans and lost friends.”
“Tidings! It’s Uncle Sevro and the Moderately Friendly Giant.”
“Everything is cracked, everything is stained except the fragile moments that hang crystalline in time and make life worth living.”
“You tell anyone I cried, I’ll find a dead fish, put it in a sock, hide it in your room, and let it putrefy.”
“I will give Eo your love. I will make a house for you in the Vale of your fathers. It will be beside my own. Join me there when you die.” He grins. “But I am no builder. So take your time. We will wait.”
“My chair rolls to a stop. his voice cut short, followed by a thump and sliding sound. My wheelchair rolls forward again. I look back and see Ragnar pushing it innocently along. Sevro isn't in the hallway behind us. I frown, wondering where he went, till he bursts out of a side passage.
"You! Troll!" Sevro shouts. "I'm a terrorist warlord! Stop throwing me. You made me drop my candy!" Sevro looks at the floor of the hallway. "Wait. Where is it? Dammit, Ragnar. Where is my peanut bar? You know how many people I had to kill to get that? Six! Six!"
Ragnar chews quietly above me, and though I'm probably mistaken, I think I see him smile.”
“I’m going to kill you, Aja! I’m going to kill you in your face!”
“Pity is not forgiveness, nor is gratitude absolution.”
“Guys playing music. I loved music. I wanted to push up close to whatever it was men felt when they were together onstage—to try to ink in that invisible thing. It wasn't sexual, but it wasn't unsexual either. Distance mattered in male friendships. One on one, men often had little to say to one another. They found some closeness by focusing on a third thing that wasn't them: music, video games, golf, women. Male friendships were triangular in shape, and that allowed two men some version of intimacy. In retrospect, that's why I joined a band, so I could be inside that male dynamic, not staring in through a closed window but looking out.”
“The ministerial students were the worst—they were maybe one-third to one-half of each class, and this was their trade school. They came to learn the right words, all the proper formulae ... which they wrote down and memorized from the lectures of their profs.”
“He still did it. He still looked at me like I was all he saw, like I was the sun and the moon all wrapped up into one.”
“it is not necessary to accept everything as true, one must only accept it as necessary.' 'A melancholy conclusion,' said K. 'It turns lying into a universal principle.”
“The stars are the one thing that I miss about the earth. They're so constant, steady, bright. I've always loved the stars. You reminded me of them, Persephone," she added quietly.”
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