“As the components of your life are stripped away, after all the ambitions and hopes vaporize, you reach a self-reflective starkness-- the repetitious plucking of a single overwound string.”
“Perhaps the price of comfort is that life passes more rapidly. But for anyone who has lived in uneasiness, even for a short, memorable duration, it's a trade-off that will gladly be made.”
“My last chance had vanished into itself like a snail coiling up into his shell.
Insidiously I had lost my grip, and now this was it. I thought all this without much emotion. I really didn't care anymore. I couldn't hang on anymore. I didn't have the guts to kill myself, but I didn't want it to continue. I walked a couple of blocks, empty, listless, and wished I could cry.
...The diabolic hope, the purposeful pulsing of blood, the flight into coherence allowed for some rationalizing an afterlife. A new theology was evolving, one that had a faith-in-death clause. It was evolved when I kicked a dead waterbug on the pavement. It was dried out, hollowed, emptied, like some kind of shell. Maybe, I thought, its body is a shell, maybe all bodies are shells. We hatch and die. Our spirit or something like that is the yoke: it lives the real life, the true life.
It wasn't comforting.”
“Some of the more industrious ones were washing the windshields of cars that had been trapped by the red light. I used to see them from inside cars and think they brought it on themselves, and they probably did but now it didn't make a difference. I went over to the fire and warmed my hands with the group. I looked at their faces: idiots, criminals, retards, schizophrenics, paranoids, rejects, fuck-ups, broken-down failures. Alone, once children, never asked to be put on this earth, they ended up as jurors. Their lives were the verdict: the system, the man, something had failed.”
“When I was in my teens, I made an appraisal of how comfortable my life could turn out when I became the age I am now. Because of a mechanical failure, the prediction was inexact.”
“In Brooklyn I am content, the closest we can come to a sustained happiness.”
“Once, as a teenager, I had believed that people could change themselves. Finally I realized that all one could ever hope was understanding one's filthy self better.”
“I had grazed along the surface of her actions and made deep judgments. Rejecting someone because you couldn't understand their love, that was a new one. The more I thought about it the longer the shadow of doubt stretched over all my conclusions. More often than not, things were as they seemed. But as I stared at her, she wasn't as bad looking as I had once thought. I realized how all this time I had seen her the wrong way, and how one's character affects one's appearance. Although she wasn't my type she was attractive. As I thought about her - the vulnerable intelligence, the violent honesty, and the fact that in the entire city she was the only one who took me in and fed me - she became more and more irresistible. Baited by an obscure beauty, trapped by an intense sorrow - all prior definitions had been overruled: this was love.”
“Change can be good but its always tough to let go of the past”
“When I looked into her eyes, I saw an invisible spirit of something that I already loved.”
“Abe: Wise hermit cast adrift on asteroid for thousands of years; has developed odd code languages for everyday actions; lonely but not bitter; his heart is cryogenically frozen, and he must search the universe pursuing the Thawer.”
“Mortality, a writer of my generation once said, trumps morality.”
“For we were not always burdened by debt, dependent on foreign aid and handouts; in the stories we tell of ourselves we were not the crazed and destitute radicals you see on your television channels but rather saints and poets and — yes — conquering kings. We built the Royal Mosque and the Shalimar Gardens in this city, and we built the Lahore Fort with its mighty walls and wide ramp for our battle-elephants. And we did these things when your country was still a collection of thirteen small colonies, gnawing away at the edge of a continent.”
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