“What softened your heart?" I asked softly.
"Good music and a friend."
I felt my eyes burn a little and turned from him, blinking quickly to lap up the sting of tears. "Music has incredible power"
"So does friendship," he supplied frankly.”
“And true love suffereth long, and is kind; true love envieth not; true love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil. True love rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; true love beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. True love never faileth…”
“You see beauty in things other people just take for granted. You need understanding, and, and…deep conversation, and someone who can keep up with that mind of yours!”
“Oh Josie," Samuel sighed gently. "Your heart is too tender for your own good."
"I don't usually cry like this, Samuel. Geez, it's been years since I've cried like this. Since you've been back I can't seem to stop. It's like a cloud has burst inside me, and I'm caught in a constant downpour"
"Come here, Josie," Samuel said, and when I slid over next to him he kissed me gently on the forehead and smoothed my hair from my damp cheeks. "Well then, maybe you should go ahead and just let it rain for a while"
And so I did.”
“Like a shoe that has lost its mate is never worn again, I had lost my matching part and didn't know how to run barefoot.”
“When you realize there's so much you can't control, you get pretty stingy with what you can.”
“You can't build walls and then be mad when no one wants to climb over them.”
“Do you hear it?" Samuel asked, his eyes penetrating.
"I don't hear it...but I know it's there." I struggled to express something that I'd never put into words. "Sometimes I think if I could just SEE without my eyes, the way I FEEL without my hands, I would be able to HEAR the music. I don't use my hands to feel love or joy or heartache - but I still feel them all the same. My eyes let me see incredibly beautiful things, but sometimes I think that what I SEE gets in the way of what's...what's just beyond the beauty. Almost like the beauty I can SEE is just a very lovely curtain, distracting me from what's on the other side...and if I just knew how to push that curtain aside, there the music would be." I threw up my hands in frustration. "I can't really explain it.”
“Human beings are not designed to be alone. Our creator gave us smooth, sensitive skin that craves the warmth of other skin. Our arms seek to hold. Our hands yearn to touch. We are drawn to companionship and affection out of an innate need.”
“This place is in my heart, but it can't be my home, not now, maybe not ever..." - Samuel Yates”
“But sometimes in my reading I would discover new insights or have seemingly profound thoughts that would change my way of thinking.”
“If you push people away for long enough, isolation become a terrible habit. People start to believe your prefer it.”
“I hadn’t even spoken to him, other than to breathe his name, and I was suddenly wrapped around him in a rainstorm, in the middle of the road. Slowly, I felt his strong arms come up around me, holding me, enfolding me. I was enveloped in warmth. The pleasure of the embrace was so intense I shuddered with it. I felt his hand in my hair, and he made those soft shushing noises. I realized I was crying. We stood in the rain, and he held me up, letting me hold him in return. No comments, no questions, just comfort.”
“You make me feel safe, Fern. You make me forget. And when I kiss you I just want to keep kissing you. Everything else falls away.”
“It was too good to be true, too sweet to be reality for too long, so when someone set out to destroy his belief in her, it made more sense to doubt her than to believe that she had truly loved him in the first place.”
“I hated making small talk and avoided people in the grocery store and other places just so that i wouldn't have to think of things to say. I liked people, i cared about them, and i wanted to be a good person, but don't make me chat idly on the telephone or make pleasant conversation just for the sake of being polite.- Josie Jo Jensen”
“Someday, I would be the one to leave.”
“Music is 'that by which I live.”
“You made me question what I thought I knew.”
“Yeah, I guess he had a right to be a jerk."
"I guess he had reason to be.”
“I clung to him like my life depended on it. Maybe it did. I hadn’t seen him for so many years, and so much had happened in my life since I had last seen his face, but at that moment I was thirteen again. Someone I had loved had returned, someone lost had come back to me, and I held him fiercely, with no intention of ever letting him go.”
“I kind of prefer being by myself, but I can’t expect anyone to want to get to know me if I purposely keep myself separated.” I paused as his face remained stony. “Mrs. Grimaldi says you can’t build walls and then be mad when no one wants to climb over them.”
“Oh, a wan cloud was drawn o’er the dim weeping dawn
As to Josie’s side I returned at last,
And the heart in my breast for the girl I lov’d best
Was beating, ah, beating, how loud and fast!
While the doubts and the fears of the long aching years
Seem’d mingling their voices with the moaning flood:
Till full in my path, like a wild water wraith,
My true love’s shadow lamenting stood.
But the sudden sun kiss’d the cold, cruel mist
Into dancing show’rs of diamond dew,
And the dark flowing stream laugh’d back to his beam,
And the lark soared aloft in the blue:
While no phantom of night but a form of delight
Ran with arms outspread to her darling boy,
And the girl I love best on my wild throbbing breast
Hid her thousand treasures with cry of joy.”
“Your song…that is the nicest thing anyone's ever done for me.”
“You can’t do that again, Josie. I don’t want you to take care of me. I know you did it because you do care….but don’t take my pride from me.”
“Is pride more important than friendship?” I said sadly.
“Yes!” Samuel’s voice was harsh and emphatic.
“That is so ridiculous!” I threw my arms wide in frustration.
“Josie! You are just a little girl! You don’t know how helpless and weak and stupid it made me feel to stand there while you arranged my life like I was some kind of charity case!” Samuel fisted his hands in his hair and growling, turned towards the door.
“I am not a little girl! I haven’t been a little girl for years…forever! I don’t think like a little girl, I don’t act like a little girl. I don’t LOOK like a little girl, do I? Don’t you dare say I am a little girl!” I pounded down on the piano keys - playing a violent riff, reminiscent of Wagner himself. Now I knew what Sonja meant by letting out the beast! I wanted to throw something, or smash something, and scream at Samuel. He was so impossible! Such a stubborn, mule-headed jerk! I played hard for several minutes, and Samuel stood at the door, dumbfounded.
Suddenly Samuel sat down beside me on the piano bench and put his hands over the top of mine, bringing the din to a halt.
“I’m sorry, Josie,” Samuel said softly. I was crying, tears dripping down onto the keys, making them slippery. I was a terrible beast, not fierce at all - just a blubbering baby beast. Samuel seemed at a loss. He sat very still, his hands covering mine. Slowly, his hands rose to my face and gently wiped the tears from my cheeks.
“Will you play something else?” He requested softly, his voice remorseful. “Will you play something for me....please?”
“On one end it had a few tables and a little kitchen that served as a diner where the old men sat and drank their coffee in the morning. “Sweaty Betty” Johnson (we called her Mrs. Johnson to her face) ran the diner and has for longer than I can remember. She’s a one woman operation - she cooks, waitresses, and manages it all on her own. She makes fluffy homemade donuts and the best greasy french fries on the planet. Everything she makes is deep-fried, and her face has a permanent sheen from the grease and the heat – which is how she got the nickname Sweaty Betty. Even cleaned up for church on Sundays her face glows and sadly, it isn’t from the Holy Spirit.”
“I stopped, torn between my concern for Samuel and my wish to vacate the kitchen before I dissolved into a howling puddle.
“If you talk to Samuel soon.....will you tell him I came by and asked about him? Please remind him about his umbilical cord.”
Nettie and Don stared at me like I’d lost my marbles. “Just tell him, okay? He’ll understand.”
I fled through the house and out into the frigid February evening.”
“My dad’s name is Jim, and my mother thought their names starting with the same letter was just further proof that they belonged together. So she named each of her babies a ‘J’ name to fit the mold. She wasn’t terribly original, because in Levan you’ll find families with all ‘K’ names, all ‘B’ names, all ‘Q’ names. You name the letter, and we’ve got it. People even have ‘themes’ for their children’s names - giving them monikers like Brodeo and Justa Cowgirl. I’m not kidding.
So in my family we were all J’s - Jim, Janelle, Jacob, Jared, Johnny, and Josie Jo Jensen-the “J Crew.” The only problem with that was that whenever my mom needed one of us she had to run through the litany of ‘J’ names before she stumbled on the right one. I don’t know why I remember this, small as it was, but in the days and weeks before my mom died, I don’t ever remember her tripping over any of our names. Perhaps the distracting details of daily life that had once made her tongue tied dissolved in their insignificance, and she gave her rapt attention to our every word, our every expression, our every move.”
“I also read that spending time with a pedophile can be like a drug high. There was this girl who said it’s as if the pedophile lives in a fantastic kind of reality, and that fantasticness infects everything. Kind of like they’re children themselves, only full of the knowledge that children don’t have. Their imaginations are stronger than kids’ and they can build realities that small kids would never be able to dream up. They can make the child’s world… ecstatic somehow. And when it’s over, for people who’ve been through this, it’s like coming off of heroin and, for years, they can’t stop chasing the ghost of how it felt. One girl said that it’s like the earth is scorched and the grass won’t grow back. And the ground looks black and barren but inside it’s still burning.”
“Blood—” I rasped. “The earth cannot hold all the blood that’s shed on it. And so the stream flows below. We have passed through it now; soon it will be gone from you.”
“Many focus on what they perceive as a loss of some vital aspect of our humanity. To me, the sessence of being human is not in our limitations. It is our ability to reach beyond our limitations. We did not stay on the ground. We did not even stay on the planet. And we are already not settling for the limitations of our biology.”
“They all wanted something that i did not want and i would get it without wanting it, if it worked.”
“10So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
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