“I am confident, I am capable, and I will not wait to be rescued by a woodsman or a hunter.”
“My sister has the heart of an artist with a hatchet and an eye patch. And I, we both now know, have a heart that is undeniably, irreparably different.”
“Knowledge does have a way of making you an outcast.”
“I follow, always, because it's the only time when our hearts beat in perfect harmony, the only time when I'm certain, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that we are one person broken in two.”
“How could I possibly try to pretend the sunlight doesn’t exist, now that it’s taken so much of me?”
“I like libraries. It's a comfort that knowledge can be save for so long. That what we learn can be passed on.”
“When we were little, Scarlett and I were utterly convinced that we'd originally been one person in our mother's belly. We believed that somehow, half of us wanted to be born and half wanted to stay. So our heart had to be broken in two so that Scarlett could be born first, and then I finally braved the outside world a few years later. It made sense, in our little pigtailed heads--it explained why, when we ran through grass or danced or spun in circles long enough, we would lose track of who was who and it started to feel as if there were some organic, elegant link between us, our single heart holding the same tempo and pumping the same blood. That was before the attack, though. Now our hearts link only when we're hunting, when Scarlett looks at me with a sort of beautiful excitement that's more powerful than her scars and then tears after a Fenris as though her life depends on its death. I follow, always, because it's the only time when our hearts beat in perfect harmony, the only time when I'm certain, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that we are one person broken in two.”
“Would I trade that in, give it away for the hunt? I stumble down the stairs of a subway. No. I couldn’t trade it in again. Not now that I know what it is to be loved. Not now that I’ve stepped out of the cave and into the sun.”
“And I am more alone than ever before.”
“I hesitate, then put my other hand on top of his. We're partners. Always have been, even when I hate him, when he's a thousand miles away, when he loves my sister... even when it'd be easier to go it alone for good.”
“I turn back to them, trying to maintain control of my emotions, trying to keep the two of them from seeing that I'm shaking in sorrow and anger and hurt.”
“Maybe I'm a masochist, but watching them together would hurt, sting with jealousy and betrayal. Hurt would be something, at least, some feeling to break up the dead, dull sensation I've been filled with for days now”
“He's gonna come at you first,” the boy says
“I know,” I answer. “You go to his--”
“I will,” he replies, grinning. I shake my head. Nothing's changed. We don't need words, not when we're hunting together.”
“Here I am, saving your lives, bitten and scarred and wounded for you, and you don't even know it.”
“I recognize the look in Silas's eyes--adoration. I furrow my eyebrows and try to shake away the feeling of being punched in the face.”
“When we were little, Scarlett and I were utterly convinced that we'd originally been one person in our mother's belly. We believed that somehow, half of us wanted to be born and half wanted to stay. So our heart had to be broken in two so that Scarlett could be born first, and then I finally braved the outside world a few years later. It made sense, in our pig-tailed heads--it explained why, when we ran through grass or danced or spun in circle long enough, we would lose track of who was who and it started to feel as if there were some organic, elegant link between us, our single heart holding the same tempo and pumping the same blood. That was before the attack, though. Now our hearts link only when we're hunting, when Scarlett looks at me with a sort of beautiful excitement that's more powerful than her scars and then tears after a Fenris as though her life depends on its death. I follow, always, because it's the only time when our hearts beat in perfect harmony, the only time when I'm certain, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that we are one person broken in two.”
“Scarlet . . .” Silas begins in a serious tone. He started using “the tone” when we were kids to remind me that he’s older than I am. It annoys me just as much now as it did then, only now it’s less acceptable for me to push him into the mud for it.”
“Wow,” Silas says softly as he kills the ignition. I follow his stare out the windshield—Rosie is standing in the kitchen doorway, arms folded and eyes sparkling in anger. “Rosie looks . . . different.”
“And I have to admit that there is something undeniably fulfilling about hunting with Rosie. Somehow, it makes me feel as if the long list of differences between us doesn't exist. We're dressed the same, we fight the same enemy, we win together ... It's as though for that moment I get to be her, the one who isn't covered in thick scars, and she gets to understand what it is to be me. It's different than hunting with Silas--he and I are partners, not part of the same heart.”
“Scarlett doesn’t want to go to the hospital. Not surprising, really, since we have to come up with an elaborate story about how we all got so severely wounded.
“Dogfight. We broke one up,” my sister answers for us as a horrified emergency room receptionist looks at Scarlett’s raw, bleeding shoulders.
“Dogs dislike us.” Silas shrugs, clutching the wound on his chest. He glances down at the burn wounds on my legs. I think they might scar, but it’s hard to say. The receptionist speaks into a walkie-talkie, then lets her eyes travel from the fresh wounds to the ancient scars on Scarlett’s body.
“Dogs pretty much hate me,” Scarlett says testily. The poor receptionist looks relieved when the ER doctors appear and usher us down the hall.”
“I'm the only one left to fight so now I must kill you”
“When they attack her, I scream until my voice is hoarse so I don't have to hear the shredding sounds.”
“How about we go through the festival once before picking a spot?”
“Why?” I ask.
“Because I enjoy apples,” he replies. Rosie giggles. “Because then we can go if there’s a spot that would be particularly easy to grab a girl from,” he answers again, voice serious this time.”
“So, did you see that community center I was talking about?”
“We walked right past it, just before that grocery store. I mentioned it on the way to the city? You just drop in and take classes. They’ve got all sorts of stuff. I bet you can get a student rate, even.”
“But I’m not a student—”
“You’re young enough that they’ll assume—”
“—and how am I supposed to find the time to take dance classes, now that I’m the dessert?”
“I’m starting to really regret using that metaphor,” Silas says, grinning. “And let me explain something, Rosie.” He takes a swig of the coffee and presses his lips together, searching for words. “I’m from a long, long, long, long line of woodsmen. My brothers are all supertalented. They all built their own rooms. For god’s sake, Lucas built a freaking wooden hot tub in his bedroom with wooden monkeys pouring water into it.”
“Don’t ask. Anyway, I can do some woodworking. I know my way around the forest, I can handle an ax better than most, I can make a tree grow where nothing else will, I can live off berries and hunt for my food, and I’ve known about the Fenris since I could crawl. I’m a woodsman, for all intents and purposes. But that doesn’t mean I live for it any more than the fact that you’re good at hunting means you have to live for that. So maybe breaking out of the hunting lifestyle for a few hours here and there will help you figure out if it’s really for you or not.”
I shake my head, confused as to why he’d even think that was possible. “I can’t just not hunt, Silas. So yeah, I take a few random classes, and what if I decide that I hate hunting and want to quit? That doesn’t mean I can. I owe Scarlett my life, and if she wants to cash in by having me spend my life hunting beside her, so be it. It’d kill her if she ever thought I wanted to quit.”
“Rosie,” Silas says quietly. “I’m not suggesting you drop your sister like a bad habit and take up intense ballet training.”
“Two men enter the room, one old and mustached and the other young and tawny-headed, wearing sweats and a worn T-shirt. He looks like Silas, actually—god, what am I, obsessed? But there really is something of the woodsman in the younger man’s face, with his full lips, his slightly curled hair that turns like tendrils around his ears . . . I look away before studying him too closely.
“All right, ladies, are we ready?” the older man says enthusiastically. There’s a loud rustling of paper as well flip the enormous sketchbooks on our easels until we find blank sheets. I draw a few soft lines on my page, unsure what—
Non-Silas rips off his T-shirt, revealing lightly defined muscles on his pale chest. I raise an eyebrow just as he tugs at the waist of the sweatpants. They drop to the floor in a fluid, sweeping motion.
There’s nothing underneath them. At all.
My charcoal slips through my suddenly sweaty fingers.
Non-Silas steps out of the puddle of his clothes and moves to the center of the room, fluorescent lights reflecting off his slick abdomen. He’s smiling as though he isn’t naked, smiling as though I didn’t somehow manage to get the seat closest to him. As if I can’t see . . . um . . . everything only a few feet from my face, making my mind clumsily spiral. I squeeze my eyes shut for a moment; he looks like Silas in the face, and because of that I keep wondering if he looks akin to Silas everywhere else.
“All right, ladies, this will be a seven-minute pose. Ready?” the older man says, positioning himself behind the other empty easel. The roomful of housewives nod in one hungry motion. I quiver. “Go!” the older man says, starting the stopwatch. Non-Silas poses, something reminiscent of Michelangelo’s David, only instead of marble eyes looking into nothingness, non-Silas is staring almost straight at me.
Draw. I’m supposed to be drawing. I grab a new piece of charcoal from the bottom of the easel and begin hastily making lines in my sketchbook. I can’t not look at him, or he’ll think I’m not drawing him. I glance hurriedly, trying to avoid the region my eyes continuously return to. I start to feel fluttery.
How long has it been? Surely it’s been seven minutes. I try to add some tone to my drawing’s chest. I wonder what Silas’s chest looks like . . . Stop! Stop stop stop stop stop—”
“Right, then!” the older man says as his stopwatch beeps loudly and the scratchy sound of charcoal on paper ends. Thank you, sir, thank you—”
“Annnnd next pose!”
Non-Silas turns his head away, till all I can see is his wren-colored hair and his side, including a side view of . . . how many times am I going to have to draw this man’s area? What’s worse is that he looks even more like Silas now that I can’t see his eyes. Just like Silas, I bet. My eyes linger longer than necessary now that non-Silas isn’t staring straight at me.
By the end of class, I’ve drawn eight mediocre pictures of him, each one with a large white void in the crotch area. The housewives compare drawings with ravenous looks in their eyes as non-Silas tugs his pants back on and leaves the room, nodding politely. I picture him naked again.
I sprint from the class, abandoning my sketches—how could I explain them to Scarlett or Silas? Stop thinking of Silas, stop thinking of Silas.”
“I don’t know how to bowl.”
“Right, that’s a problem, since this place really screams ‘professional bowling,’” Silas snips back, rolling his eyes.”
“I can’t pinpoint what exactly it is until Silas steps behind my sister and delicately runs his fingers through her hair, his handle gentle as if he’s touching a priceless jewel. Rosie blushes as he leans into her and whispers something in her ear that makes her lips curve up in an elegant smile. I recognize the look in Silas’s eyes—adoration.”
“You understand,” Silas says quietly—the words are just for me, but I know Scarlett hears—“I’m . . . when I’m twenty-eight, Rosie. You know what this means. I’m dangerous, Rosie.”
“You plan on loving me when you’re twenty-eight?” I interrupt, uncertain if my question is serious or not.
Silas’s eyes widen in surprise. He turns to look out the taxi window for a moment, and when his eyes meet mine again, there’s a beautiful sincerity glistening in the gray-blue irises. “Rosie . . . I love you. Now, when I’m twenty-eight, when I’m thirty-five . . . I love you.”
I exhale. “Okay, then.”
I put a finger against his soft, bow-shaped lips. “Okay, then.”
“You need some help, Rosie?”
His footsteps quicken behind me, and before I can respond, I feel his calloused hands on my waist. I accidently slide back against his chest and inhale the scent that has always clung to his whole family—something like forests, damp leaves, and sunshine. I suppose when your father is a woodsman you’re bound to carry the scent of oak in your veins. One breath is all I get the chance for, though; he kicks the door open and sets me down on the front stoop, then takes a step back. I turn to face him, hoping to thank him for the help and in the same sentence admonish him for carrying me like a little girl.
Instead, I smile. He’s still Silas—Silas who left a year ago, the boy just a little older than my sister. His eyes are still sparkling and expressive, hair still the brown-black color of pine bark, body broad-shouldered and a little too willowy for his features. He’s still there, but it’s as if someone new has been layered on top of him. Someone older and stronger who isn’t looking a me as if I’m Scarlett’s kid sister . . . someone who makes me feel dizzy and quivery. How did this happen?
Calm down. It’s just Silas. Sort of.
“You’re staring,” he says cautiously, looking worried.
“Oh. Um, sorry,” I say, shaking my head. Silas shoves his hands into his pockets with a familiar sway. “It’s just been a while, that’s all.”
“Yeah, no kidding. You’re heavier than I remember.”
I frown, mortified.
“Oh, no, wait. I didn’t mean it like that, just that you’ve gotten older. Wait, that doesn’t sound much better . . .” Silas runs a hand through his hair and curses under his breath.
“No, I get it.” I let him off the hook, grinning. Something about seeing him nervous thaws some of my shyness.”
“But won’t political involvement distract us from the main task of preaching the Gospel? At this point someone may object that while political involvement may have some benefits and may do some good, it can so easily distract us, turn unbelievers away from the church, and cause us to neglect the main task of pointing people toward personal trust in Christ. John MacArthur writes, “When the church takes a stance that emphasizes political activism and social moralizing, it always diverts energy and resources away from evangelization.”83 Yet the proper question is not, “Does political influence take resources away from evangelism?” but, “Is political influence something God has called us to do?” If God has called some of us to some political influence, then those resources would not be blessed if we diverted them to evangelism—or to the choir, or to teaching Sunday School to children, or to any other use. In this matter, as in everything else the church does, it would be healthy for Christians to realize that God may call individual Christians to different emphases in their lives. This is because God has placed in the church “varieties of gifts” (1 Cor. 12:4) and the church is an entity that has “many members” but is still “one body” (v. 12). Therefore God might call someone to devote almost all of his or her time to the choir, someone else to youth work, someone else to evangelism, someone else to preparing refreshments to welcome visitors, and someone else to work with lighting and sound systems. “But if Jim places all his attention on the sound system, won’t that distract the church from the main task of preaching the Gospel?” No, not at all. That is not what God has called Jim to emphasize (though he will certainly share the Gospel with others as he has opportunity). Jim’s exclusive focus on the church’s sound system means he is just being a faithful steward in the responsibility God has given him. In the same way, I think it is entirely possible that God called Billy Graham to emphasize evangelism and say nothing about politics and also called James Dobson to emphasize a radio ministry to families and to influencing the political world for good. Aren’t there enough Christians in the world for us to focus on more than one task? And does God not call us to thousands of different emphases, all in obedience to him? But the whole ministry of the church will include both emphases. And the teaching ministry from the pulpit should do nothing less than proclaim “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27). It should teach, over the course of time, on all areas of life and all areas of Bible knowledge. That certainly must include, to some extent, what the Bible says about the purposes of civil government and how that teaching should apply to our situations today. This means that in a healthy church we will find that some people emphasize influencing the government and politics, others emphasize influencing the business world, others emphasize influencing the educational system, others entertainment and the media, others marriage and the family, and so forth. When that happens, it seems to me that we should encourage, not discourage, one another. We should adopt the attitude toward each other that Paul encouraged in the church at Rome: Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God…. So then each of us will give an account of himself to God. Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother (Rom. 14:10–13). For several different reasons, then, I think the view that says the church should just “do evangelism, not politics” is incorrect.”
“But before either of us can speak again, I feel crackle-crackle-crackle. I can't tell what's going to happen next. My seizure begins to spin slowly through me. What will my dad do? Whatever it is, in another moment I'll be flying free. Either way, whatever he does, I'll be soaring.”
“Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.”
“Tevekkül Allah'a! Köpeğin efendisi varsa kurdun da Tanrı'sı vardır.”
“That dark, dingy, cobwebbed basement had taken all my life from me. That place was where I gave myself up, destroyed my own will for him, and now it was gone. My will was dead, so I might as well be dead.”
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