“The ache starts in my chest and spreads through my veins. The abuse I can handle; it's the happiness that cripples.”
“We wait to be rescued, but for whatever reason, no one comes. We figure that if no one protects us then we must not be worth protecting so we become prey and are easily picked off. Our wounded, kicked-puppy gazes attract sly predators and we sell ourselves for clearance sale prices, mistaking screwing for caring.”
“A victim soul is a pious individual chosen to absorb the pain and suffering of others.”
“What's the point of obsessing over cholesterol or bike helmets or even cigarettes when the biggest threats to our children are being released back into society every day? Yes, maybe 'some' of them have reformed, but what about the ones who haven't? Doesn't anyone realize that one 'touch', one 'time' will destroy a child's life ten times faster than a pack-a-day habit?”
“Tomorrow belongs to betrayal. Today is mine and I don't want to waste it being afraid.”
“In my family, you can rot to hell on the inside as long as you’re flawless on the outside, which is really sick, but also hard to unlearn.”
“How about giving your old man a break here, huh, Chirp?"
"Chirp is dead," I hear myself say and watch the flat words destroy his pleasure. "You killed her, and now you have to deal with me because I'm what's left.”
“Meredith's a big girl. She knows how babies are made, don't you, Mer?"
I nod, numb and weary. "'Course I do. Same guy that taught you taught me.”
“I know the grim probability of my own future.
The odds are high that the best of me has already been ripped away and that id I don't keep hold of myself I will lose what's left.”
“You can't come wandering around in at all hours of the night looking like you've been-"
"Raped?" "Not to worry, Estertown's been safe for three years now, Dad.”
“Hell no. You're what saved you, kid. Not divine intervention.”
“So I leave proof of my existence behind me like a snail trail with the small hope that years of talking at me will someday soften her enough to talk with me, that she'll finally pull the knife from my chest and say yes, we are better off without him. That what happened wasn't my fault and from now on she will thrust herself between me and danger, and shout NO.”
“We have babies because we want them to love us, to make us important, but the only make us tired and fat and stinking of spit up because they're babies, not saviors. Their fathers leave us, sick of crap and sour milk, sweatpants and tears.
But the babies still need all of us, only there isn't anything left to give because we based our worth on the lowlifes who knocked us up and around.
So our babies end up screwed up and screwed with because not we're single again, too, so we're bringing home guys who secretly like pink satin baby skin more than our silvery stretch marks. We don't see what we should see because having anyone is till supposedly better than being alone.”
“And I don't want to hurt anymore. I want to be someone who makes it through”
“this is no place for miracles”
“Be good. Be a nice girl. Don't ruin our happy family.”
“The distant threat of eternal damnation pales in comparison to the immediate gratification of corrupting young skin.”
“I am shrunken and shriveled inside, a rotten chestnut hidden beneath a deceptively smooth shell”
“They brought along a young man named Andy who wants very much to see you." She steps aside to let him through.
I tuck my hair back behind my ears.
Meet his shining gaze and break into a smile.
He is so tall.”
“What are you doing?" I say hoarsely as he trails a finger from the beauty mark on my rib cage to the one on my hip, leaving a path of goose bumps in his wake.
"Connecting the dots," he murmurs with a wicked look. "Uh-oh, you made me lose my place. Now I have to start all over again...”
“Rape is not a mistake! He did it on purpose, over and over again because he wanted to, because he off on it-”
“Oh, there's a wholesome outing.' I say. 'Let's all skip down to the cop shop to register my daddy as a pervert. What fun.”
“Tonight is when the obscene becomes the acceptable.”
“That was the attorney. He said the doctors are very pleased with your father's progress and that his behavior has been exemplary-'
'Well, that's stupid.' My reaction was rude and raw. 'Of course he's been a model prisoner, Mom. There aren't any kids to molest in prison.”
“Silence was the key to self-preservation.”
“There are only the three of us and our dark, burgeoning desires
I am so afraid of what comes next”
“Physical imperfections have always offended him, but apparently my bad hygiene wasn't repellent enough. Perhaps Ms. Mues's full-blown adulthood will be.”
“We wait to be rescued, but for whatever reason, no one comes. We figure that if no one protects us then we must not be worth protecting so we become prey and are easily picked off. Our wounded, kicked-puppy gazes attract sly predators and we sell ourselves for clearance sale prices, mistaking screwing for caring. We binge, purge, sleep around. We drink too much and get too high, anything to blot out the past.”
“The weight in my pocket nudges my thigh, suddenly becomes my knife. I put my hand to its unforgiving outline and can't stop crying years of tears because if I don't stab my father with my weapon, then he is going to stab me with his.”
“No," I shout, because my mother doesn't know what I like anymore. "I don't eat things that bleed. Just cheese with lettuce or tomato and mayo. No dead fish or animals, please."
"You see what I have to put up with?" my mother says.”
“I mean, how do you know if people are good for you or not? It's not like they come with an FDA approved sticker or anything.”
“So it was that my life passed from the joyous realm of heaven to the choking and inescapable tortures of hell.”
“The two boys stood and looked at each other. There was no amusement and no scorn in Attean's eyes. How very strange, Matt thought. After all the brave deeds he had dreamed of doing to win this boy's respect, he had gained it at last by doing nothing, just by staying here and refusing to leave.”
“He shakes his head. "They're hunting the Enkis. I know that. And I get that. But . . . we're special."
"The reason they want them is because they're special. Anchovies aren't going to cure anyone."
"That's not the special I mean." He catches another fish and hugs it to his chest.
I'm trying to be gentle. "They're only special to you because they're yours."
"I could say the same thing about that cute kid you were holding."
“I love you because you are you. You’re a little bit crazy, and I find that more interesting than being normal. You’re passionate and I find that more fascinating than being calm. You’re curious and adventurous and sexual, and you’re full of life and you make me want to be a better man, to live louder, to bend and break all the damn rules.”
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