“I know exactly how that is. To love somebody who doesn’t deserve it. Because they are all you have. Because any attention is better than no attention. For exactly the same reason, it is sometimes satisfying to cut yourself and bleed. On those gray days where eight in the morning looks no different from noon and nothing has happened and nothing is going to happen and you are washing a glass in the sink and it breaks-accidentally-and punctures your skin. And then there is this shocking red, the brightest thing in the day, so vibrant it buzzes, this blood of yours. That is okay sometimes because at least you know you’re alive.”
“It’s a wonder I’m even alive. Sometimes I think that. I think that I can’t believe I haven’t killed myself. But there’s something in me that just keeps going on. I think it has something to do with tomorrow, that there is always one, and that everything can change when it comes.”
“You deserve to need me, not to have me.”
“My mother began to go crazy. Not in a 'Let's paint the kitchen red!' sort of way. But crazy in a 'gas oven, toothpaste sandwhich, I am God' sort of way.”
“I told myself, 'All I want is a normal life'. But was that true? I wasn't so sure. Because there was a part of me that enjoyed hating school, and the drama of not going, the potential consequences whatever they were. I was intrigued by the unknown. I was even slightly thrilled that my mother was such a mess. Had I become addicted to crisis? I traced my finger along the windowsill. 'Want something normal, want something normal, want something normal', I told myself.”
“Doctor, if being a bitch is healthy, then I am the healthiest damn woman on the face of the earth”
“The line between normal and crazy seemed impossibly thin. A person would have to be an expert tightrope walker in order not to fall.”
“I will please shut the hell up the day you please drop the hell dead”
“I just look at her and she creeps me out. She looks like she would eat a baby. Not that she's fat. She just looks hungry in some dangerous way that can't be explained. She's always so nice and friendly. Exactly the disposition of a baby killer.”
“We were young. We were bored. And the old electroshock therapy machine was just under the stairs in a box next to the Hoover.”
“I felt deeply tricked. Stunned. And furious. I also felt my default emotion: numbness.”
“Turn off the light," she says as she walks away, creating a small woosh that smells sweet and chemical. It makes me sad because it's the smell she makes when she's leaving.”
“Our lives are one endless stretch of misery punctuated by processed fast foods and the occasional crisis or amusing curiosity.”
“But she did love him. I believe it. I know exactly how that is. To love somebody who doesn't deserve it. Because they are all you have. Because any attention is better than no attention.”
“I missed him so much that I had physical sensations of loss, all over my body. Like one minute I was missing an arm, the next my spleen. It was making me feel sick, like throwing up.”
“In the opening to the Mary Tyler Moore Show Mary's in the supermarket, hurrying through the aisles. She pauses at the meat case, picks up a steak and checks the price. Then rolls her eyes, shrugs and tosses it in the cart. That's kind of how I feel. Sure I would have liked things to be different. But, 'roll of eyes' what can you do? 'shrug' I threw the meat in my cart and moved on.”
“The problem with not having anybody to tell you what to do, I understood, is that there was nobody to tell you what not to do.”
“I was learning that if I lived slightly in the future-what will happen next-I didn't have to feel so much about what was going on in the present.”
“Other people sound flat to my ear; their words just hang in the air. But when my mother says something, the ends curl.”
“Now I can add prostitute to my list of life's accomplishments.”
“I couldn't help but think, This car is taking me to a mental hospital and my mother is treating it like open-mic night at a Greenwich Village café.”
“What nobody understood then is this: The only way that you achieve what you want and fulfill your dreams and become great is by demanding that sort of attention. You have to make it happen.”
“Smoking had become my favorite thing in the world to do. It was like having instant comfort, no matter where or when.”
“You know what we need? We need to get jobs, get the fuck out of that crazy house,' Natalie said, dipping a McNugget into her sauce.
Yeah, right. Jobs doing what? Our only skills are oral sex and restraining agitated psychotics.”
“Life would be fabric-softener, tuna-salad-on-white, PTA-meeting normal.”
“I did not consider him to be any kind of a genius. I considered him deeply lacking in the area that mattered most in life. Star quality.”
“He was raised without a proper diagnosis.”
“Maybe it was a Patty Hearst thing. Stockholm syndrome or whatever it's called when you're being held against your will but then you become sucked in and fall in love. Or if not exactly love, you fall into something you can't see out of. 'I can't shoot a machine gun' becomes 'Hey, this hardly has any kick-back!”
“It turned out I had always been a smoker. I just hadn't had any cigarettes.”
“My mother is from Cairo, Georgia. This makes everything she says sound like it went through a curling iron. ”
“And the night shall be filled with music, And the cares that infest the day Shall fold their tents like the Arabs, And as silently steal away.”
“Lymond said quietly, ‘You had good reason to hate me. I always understood that. I don’t know why you should think differently now, but take care. Don’t build up another false image. I may be the picturesque sufferer now, but when I have the whip-hold, I shall behave quite as crudely, or worse. I have no pretty faults. Only, sometimes, a purpose.’ He paused, and said, ‘Est conformis precedenti. I owe the Somervilles rather a lot already.’ Philippa’s unwinking brown gaze flickered shiftily at the Latin and then steadied.
'I should have told you before. You don’t mind?’
‘If you had told me before, you might not have decided to have me for a friend. I don’t mind,’ said Francis Crawford and told, for once, the bare truth.”
“You both love Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky, Hawthorne and Melville, Flaubert and Stendahl, but at that stage of your life you cannot stomach Henry James, while Gwyn argues that he is the giant of giants, the colossus who makes all other novelists look like pygmies. You are in complete harmony about the greatness of Kafka and Beckett, but when you tell her that Celine belongs in their company, she laughs at you and calls him a fascist maniac. Wallace Stevens yes, but next in line for you is William Carlos Williams, not T.S. Eliot, whose work Gwyn can recite from memory. You defend Keaton, she defends Chaplin, and while you both howl at the sight of the Marx Brothers, your much-adored W.C. Fields cannot coax a single smile from her. Truffaut at his best touches you both, but Gwyn finds Godard pretentious and you don't, and while she lauds Bergman and Antonioni as twin masters of the universe, you reluctantly tell her that you are bored by their films. No conflicts about classical music, with J.S. Bach at the top of the list, but you are becoming increasingly interested in jazz, while Gwyn still clings to the frenzy of rock and roll, which has stopped saying much of anything to you. She likes to dance, and you don't. She laughs more than you do and smokes less. She is a freer, happier person than you are, and whenever you are with her, the world seems brighter and more welcoming, a place where your sullen, introverted self can almost begin to feel at home.”
“She complains all the time about her hair turning gray and her butt sagging and her skin wrinkling, but I'm supposed to be grateful for a face full of zits, hair in embarrassing places, and feet that grow an inch a night. Utter crap.”
“I suck at this spillin’ my guts stuff.
I always have. You know that probably better’n anyone.”
“Yeah, well, it’s a lousy excuse. It always has been.”
Trevor slowly lifted his head and gave Edgard an incredulous look. “How is that smartass answer supposed to help me?”
“Oh, so now you want my help?”
“Well yeah, since it’s obvious I f**ked up and it’s obvious you think you know how to fix it.”
“Fine.” Edgard pointed to the cell phone clipped on the dash. “Call her. Say, ‘Baby, I’m sorry I was an ass**le. I love you’, but for Christsake don’t qualify it.”
“Qualify it, meanin’ what?”
“Don’t tack on, ‘I was an ass**le because I’m under stress’, just apologize. Period.”
They stared at each other.
“Sometimes the smallest gestures have the biggest impact.”
“Can’t be that easy,” Trevor muttered, snatching the phone. He faced out the driver’s side window but didn’t lower his voice.”
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