“That your eyes are like bits of sky seen through the leaves. And that, like the rain washes the mud from the leaves, you... how did he say it? Oh yes. That you wash the darkness from the world.”
“No one should live forever," I whisper. "Isn't that how it goes? There must be a balance. No birth without death. No life without tears. What is taken from the world must be given back. No one should live forever, but should give his blood to the river when the time comes so that tomorrow another may live. And so it goes.”
“I want someone who will look into my eyes and understand everything behind them.
“Maybe reason is neater and more orderly, but nonsense is freeing.”
“Love makes you weak. It distracts you from the important things. It can make you lose sight of the objective.
“He said that seeing and understanding are two different things. Our eyes show us one side of an object, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t five other sides we can’t see. So why thrust your eyes? Why live your whole life thinking that just because you can’t see every side to something, those other sides don’t exist?”
“He lifts my hand from the root and presses it to his bare chest, over his heart. My breath stops. I wonder if he can feel the pulse racing in my wrist, because it’s beating just as quickly as his heartbeat.
“Do you know the Ai’oan word for heart?” he asks.
I shake my head.
“It’s py’a.” We’re so close, his whisper is right in my ear, and his breath warms the side of my neck. “You are my heart, Pia”
I lick my lips. When did they get so dry?
His other hand cradles the back of my head, tipping my face upward. “A body can't live without a heart. And I can’t live without you.”
“You won't tell?"
"I'll add it to the box under my bed labeled 'The Secret Confession of the Immortal Pia'. Good Lord, girl, don't look so mortified. There's not actually a box.”
“Because you are young and free and one with the jungle. You are mortal, but instead of clinging to the hope of immortality, you embrace each day, one at a time, and never worry about tomorrow.”
“Ignorance is the curse of God; knowledge is the wing wherewith we fly to heaven.”
“Then he's here, emerging from the water like some kind of myth, some fabled Ai'oan god, his hand smoothing his wet hair back from his face, his chest and shoulders gleaming with water and moonlight. Behind him, a pale shimmering trail of blue light marks his passage through the water. His wet shorts hang a bit lower on his hips than they usually do, tempting my imagination. He extends the flower, which I take with trembling fingers. (...)
He smiles a small, crooked smile, and I think he knows exactly how tightly he's bound my tongue in knots. I suspect fetching me the passionflower was only half his purpose in swimming through the glowing pool.”
“Now, when he touches me, I feel nothing but Eio, pure and whole and constant. Now, when I look into his eyes, I don't see death- but eternity. For the first time in my life, I am looking into someone's gaze and realizing that not only do I understand what's in his eyes... he understands whats in mine.”
“You think that nothing matters as long as you're together, that nothing can harm you two or come between you because you're somehow protected by your feelings for one another.
“We...do things a lot differently, yes, but in many ways we are just the same as you...We eat, we sleep, we breathe. We smile when we're happy, and we cry when we're sad. When we swim, we must come up for air. When we work all day, our backs get sore. When we get cut, we bleed.”
“A name is a powerful thing. It sets one apart and gives significance.”
“Keep your eye on the goal, not the steps you must take to reach it. The goal is everything. The steps are nothing. No matter how difficult the journey is, the goal is always worth it.”
“A body can't live without a heart. And I can't live without you.”
“The woman may be a biomedical engineer, but I begin to think that she is a certifiable idiot.”
“They all seem infected with a vivaciousness that isn't common in our compound, and there are more smiles on their faces than I've ever seen at once. And yet as I watch them, I feel more intensely than ever the knowledge that I'm not one of them. For these moral humans, birthdays are a kind of countdown to the end, the ticking clock of a dwindling life. For me, birthdays are notches on an infinite timeline. Will I grow tired of parties one day? Will my birthday become meaningless? I imagine myself centuries from now, maybe at my three-hundredth birthday, looking all the way back to my seventeenth. How will I possibly be happy, remembering the light in my mother's eyes? The swiftness of Uncle Antonio's steps as he dances? The way my father stands on edge of the courtyard, smiling in that vague, absent way of his?
The scene shifts and blues in my imagination. As if brushed away by some invisible broom, these people whom I've known my entire life disappear. The courtyard is empty, bare, covered in decaying leaves. I imagine Little Cam deserted, with everyone dead and gone and only me left in the shadows.
“Love is nothing more than elevated levels of dopamine, nor-epinephrine, and other chemicals. But the way Uncle Antionio's face lights up as they dance... I wonder what it would be like to feel that. To let the chemicals of romance take over for just a little while. Then I remember that I am immortal and that my body doesn't work like everyone else's. Who knows if I can even feel love?”
“I think of the five generations it will take before [Mr. Perfect]'s born, and I want to scream. I want someone now. I want someone who will look into my eyes and understand everything behind them.”
“Do you know the Ai'oan word for heart? he asks.
I shake my head.
"It's py'a." We're so close, his whisper is right in my ear, and his breath warms the side of my neck. "You are my heart, Pia.”
“What? You don't think I'm perfect?" I can't resist, because he gets so riled whenever I bring it up. "I can run up to thirty miles without stopping. I can jump six feet in the air. There is not a material in this world sharp enough to pierce my skin. I cannot drown or suffocate. I am immune to every illness known to man. I have perfect memory. My senses are more acute that anyone else's. My reflexes rival those of a cat. I will never grow old" - my voice falls, all smugness gone -"and I will never die.”
“I may as well shackle my wrist to a bolt of lightning as attach myself to a mortal.”
“It slowly dawns on me what it is, the sensation that has bridged the gap between how I saw the world yesterday and how I see it today. It compensates for my lost keenness and even makes everything around me a little brighter.
“As we walk, he begins telling me all the names of the plants we pass. I already know their names, but I don't tell him that. He seems to think that scientists always want to know the names of things, and so I guess he thinks he's being helpful.Anyway, I like listening to his voice. It's deep and a little hoarse, as if he's been yelling all day, and his accent makes every word sound new and exciting, as if he's speaking another language I don't have to strain to understand.
"Here is annatto,for repelling insects and curing snakebites. The girls say it makes a love potion, but I don't believe them. They have all tried it on me, and I don't love any of them.”
“It's time for both of us to be free.”
“Now, when I look into his eyes, I don't see death - but eternity. For the first time in my life, I am looking into someone's gaze and realizing that not only do I understand what's in his eyes...he understands what's in mine.”
“Christmas was an enduring milestone that came and went, while the world forever changed.”
“But alone is good. Alone is safe.”
“one has a singularity contained within a region of space-time known as a black hole.”
“Somewhere in the lane after that they came level with a small door next to a fried chicken shop. There was a small red-lit sign over this door.”
“I was small enough to mind that Rudy had a good friend other than me.”
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