Sarah Moore Fitzgerald · 172 pages
Rating: (1.9K votes)
“Y aunque el futuro parece frágil e incierto, el presente tiene algo nuevo. Algo seguro.”
“Peace built on lies, is no peace at all.”
“Nothing is as you think it is. Lots of things are not what they appear to be. Sometimes people need you to keep searching for them, or at least asking questions on their behalf. And very often, people have been silenced and they need other people to speak for them. It's when you stop searching and asking and speaking that they really will be lost.”
“The truth a fairly important thing to hold on to when you’ve been pulled out of the sea after wanting to drown in it. I could’ve let the sea take me. I could easily be dead now, which is funny when you think of it. When I say funny, what I actually mean is weird and kind of disturbing.
When there’s the loud sound of a siren screaming in your head it doesn’t take too long before a feeling of not caring what happens washed over you and you become recklessly self- destructive. I used to be full of energy and happiness but I could barely remember those kinds of feelings. The cheerful, childish things I used to think had been replaced. A whole load of new realisations had begun to grow inside me like tangled weeds, and they were starting to kill me. That’s why I’d make the decision that involved heading ogg to the pier on my pike in the middle of the night and cycling off it.”
“And when I'd realised that I'd been wrong, ridiculously, embarrassingly, shamingly wrong... quite quickly the world went from colour to black and white and the magic seemed to drain away and the only thing left for me to do was gather up my personal pride and try to look like the hope I'd had never existed. I acted as if I wan't destroyed of defeated. I acted as if I didn't care.”
“A feeling of slow motion came upon me then, and parts of my bike scratched against bits of my body. Slimy seaweed tangled around my ankles and my shoes slipped off my feet. My arms and legs were dragged in different directions as if there was an underwater force making me dance to a morbid tune.
I felt light. I felt slow. I felt fast - all in quick succession, but I couldn't think of anything except the quite relaxing idea that soon everything was going to be over.
I was alone. All around the wet rocks were silent and slimy. I couldn't feel any pleasure or any purpose. My decision seemed to make a terrible kind of sense My panic had gone. I was finished making decisions. I didn't think I'd ever have any more to make.
I'm not exactly sure what I'd been hoping for next. Brightness and song possibly. Beautiful music perhaps, say a harp or something playing in the distance and warmth to soothe my numb, frozen, sopping, scraped body. I definitely wasn't expecting what happened next.”
“He reminded me that he himself had been very frightened on this same spot, once, not so long ago. He told me he knew exactly what it was like to feel what I was feeling, and he didn't envy me. But now he said that I didn't have to think about another thing for the moment, because he was calling the shots. He was the one who was going to decide what happened next, which suddenly was OK with me. At that particular moment I would have followed him anywhere.”
“I don’t remember now who took the photo of us, but I’ve had it in my room for years. We’re leaning out of our windows and we’re laughing at each other with joyfulness purer than anything to do with the polite smiling you get used to doing when you get older. The photo has the kind of proper smiles that happen when you’re looking straight into the face of someone who’s been your best friend for a long time.”
“People often ignore the misfortune of others, you see. The world is a heartless place but it’s not always because they don’t care. It’s sometimes because they are embarrassed, or because they don’t know what to say, or because they simply cannot bear to look into the eyes of someone who is suffering.”
“Yes. I heard that everyone liked you enormously.’
‘Yeah,’ I said, ‘maybe some people did. Maybe they meant in the past, before everything changed. Anyway. It’s easy for people to like you when you’re dead. It’s a pity none of them could see their way to liking me when it mattered to me, when I was alive.’
‘You’re still alive, Oscar. You’re not dead. Had you forgotten?’
‘Look, I don’t want to talk about whether I’m alive or dead, and I don’t want to talk about my old life. I don’t want to about any of that.’
‘’Because I’m ashamed, I said.”
“She was being nice, and Oscar was always reminding me that most people are fundamentally decent and that it doesn’t pay to think badly of them.”
“Goodbye Stevie, I’m sorry for leaving you, but when you find out about me, as you definitely will do one day, then you’ll be glad I’m gone too.”
“I steered by self as evenly as I could, and it was easier than I thought. My bike and I went shooting off the end, and together we well into the sea that’s cold and huge and doesn’t care whether living boys launch themselves into it or not.”
“Somewhere he can shelter,’ he said, whispering and wheezing a bit, but not slowing for a second. ‘Somewhere he can get warm, and where no one can find him. Don’t mess it up, Barney. This boy is falling. You must catch him.”
“I could feel something that I hadn’t felt for a long time. Something quiet and difficult to spot, but it was the feeling that you get when someone is listening to you. Really listening carefully. And it makes you want to tell things exactly the right way. It makes you want to take your time and explain, and get it right.”
“And she said that sometimes you wish for something very hard, it can kind of come true inside your own head, and it can seem real.”
“But listen to me, Oscar, I’m doing you a massive favour by telling you what I know: it’s much, much more important to study The Ratio. That’s what you really need to understand. It’s where the power lies” it’s all about who you can afford to annoy, and you can’t. Where you are, and how likely you are to move. How stable your position is.”
“The truth on top of me right like a marshmallowy sackful of soft sweet simple things, the feeling was colourful and clear and gentle and full of certainly and it pummelled me gently inside and out, and I understood. I understood these battles I’d been having with my parents and why an adventure away from Oscar felt like such a terrible thing.
I didn’t want to leave him. I didn’t want to sit by a new window in a strange house in a foreign country and not be able to talk to him. Oscar was the reason. He was the reason I wanted to stay.”
“I didn’t die. I never died. I’m not dead. OK, I feel pretty rotten about the whole situation- the way I disappeared that night without saying where I eas going and how everyone assumed I really was dead, and the way I let them believe it.
Things had gotten on top of me. It was because of this whole sequence of events that made me want to cycle down to the shore and tumble into the black sea.”
“Panic might feel like a bad thing, but in actual fact, it contains thousands of little splinters of hope. When panic is gone, it usually means that those splinters are gone too.”
“Oscar had a straightforward, dimpled, happy smile. It was one of the hundreds of great things about him.
And after that we were best friends. It had been as simple and inevitable as the striking of a match.”
“Another thing about Oscar is that he wasn’t afraid of anyone. And he always made up his own mind, no matter what other people said. They’re two of the best things I remember about him now.
He wasn’t just my friend. He was kind of magic. I can’t really explain it better than that. He was honest and he was decent and he was always cheerful. And evem though his brother Stevie had to use a wheelchair, it wasn’t a problem the way people usually think it is, because Oscar always made sure that every door was opened and every stairway had a ramp, and every train station had the right access so he could get it. He used to say that if the world was designed properly, the whole population would be flying around the place in wheelchairs. And when he said that, Stevie used to laugh.”
“Oscar’s hobby was saving people. He used to save people all the time, and fix things that were broken and catch people when they were falling. It wasn’t a skill you’d immediately know about or notice. Stevie said that Oscar had a gift and the gift was that he could smell things you wouldn’t imagine would smell of anything- things like sadness and desperation. Things like far and hopelessness.
He never made a big deal about it, but he was quiet and confident – and when you believe in own abilities, you are much more likely to be always ready to act on them, which Oscar always was. Whenever I asked him about it, he claimed that his were not exceptional or extraordinary abilities in the slightest. Everyone, he said, is able to tell when someone is in need of help, but few people really take the time to listen to their instincts, and that, he said, was the only difference between him and a lot of other of people.”
“I know what you might be thinking here on your own, but those thoughts won’t last for ever,’ I said. ‘You won’t always feel like this. This will pass. Homer will be here for you, and the sun will rise and you’ll find your reasons again. The ones you think have deserted you. Isn’t that right, Meg?”
“I’d never have predicted I would lose touch with him – before, that is, I did. I thought I had my reasons. But it turns out that they weren’t good reasons. It turns out that you should never lose contact with the people who are supposed to be important in your life. There is no excuse in doing that.”
“What am I going to do without you, Oscar?’
‘You’ll be fine’, I answered. ‘You could probably do some time away from me. I’m a pain in the neck. You’re always saying so.’
‘You’re right,’ she said. ‘It’ll be great to have you out of my hair for a few months.’
‘Oscar, seriously though.’
‘Stay in touch, will you? Please?’
‘Of course I will.’
‘Yes, I promise.’
‘Good, because I’m really going to miss you.”
“But it’s no ordinary apple tart. It’s the apple tart of hope. After you’ve taken a bite, the whole world will look almost completely different. Things will start to change and by the time you’ve had a whole slice you’ll realise everything is going to be okay.”
“You shouldn’t give up on people when they vanish. You shouldn’t go, ‘ what a terrible pity but, oh well, that’s that.’
In actual fact the disappearance of someone is exactly everyone’s cue to get out and search, and keep searching and not stop until there’s dirt under their fingernails and wretchedness in their souls from the number of rocks they have pushed aside to see whether I’m under one of them.
If you want to know my opinion, coming to terms with someone’s disappearance is a bit of an offence. It’s an insult to someone’s memory.
I learned a lot though. As the days passed, I learned that staying lost made it’s made its own sort of sense. I learned that there’s not much of a difference between pretending to be dead and really dead. As far as I cans see, both seem to amount to the same thing.
I learned that if someone you know disappears you shouldn’t automatically jump to conclusions. You should ask questions, and look, and search until you know for sure. Don’t write them off until you’ve exhausted every avenue. Keep hope in your heart,”
I don’t know how to say this any other way but, you see, I need to explain something. I can’t stop thinking about that night when you rescued Barney with you tart – and how good and kind I realise you’ve always been. It wasn’t until this morning when you sent me an apple tart of my own that I finally knew what it is that I have to tell you.
The timing is pretty terrible, but, you see, the reason I haven’t wanted to go away is because I’ve wanted to stay here, and the reason I’ve wanted to stay here is because of you.
I’ve nothing against New Zealand or anything but because of how I feel, specifically about you, the whole world looks different.
I don’t know whether it’s because of everything has got darker or lighter. I guess that depends on how you feel about me which is, I hope, the same.
So anyways, look, you’ve convinced me that I should, as you say ‘embrace the adventure’ so that is what I have decided to do. It was the taste of you apple tart that finally made up my mind to give this my all. But I need to know you’ll be here when I come back.
I love you Oscar Dunleavy.
I’ve been falling in love with you since that day we first met.
I need to have some idea about whether you feel the same way about me. Send me a sign.
Anything will do.
“How you humans survive so much experience is something I shall never understand. To do so much and react to it all in the way you do is as much a curse as a blessing. You never take time to digest and appreciate what happens to you.”
“It was terrible of you," Shanna pouted, but her eyes danced as they turned askance to meet his. "I could have left, you know. I was that angry."
"I would have followed you," Ruark assured with a flash of white teeth. "You have my heart and my baby. You would not have escaped.”
“We all have the capacity to find the will to do what must be done - even when that which we must do terrifies us most. Remember this.”
“I can't wear thethe! I want my thtwipey oneth!”
“it occurred to me what a simple thing reality is, how easy it is to make it work. It's just reality. Just housework. Just a home. Like running a simple machine. Once you learn to run it, it's just a matter of repetition. You push this button and pull that lever. You adjust a gauge, put on the lid, set the timer. The same thing, over and over.”
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