“That's what Father and Mother are, thought Nafai. They stay together, not because of any gain, but because of the gift. Father doesn't stay with Mother because she is good for him, but rather because together they can do good for us, and for many others.”
“He splashed into the water, his whole body, not with the reverent attitude of prayer, but with a desperate thirst; he buried his head under the water and drank deep, with his cheek against the cold stone of the riverbed, the water tumbling over his back, his calves. He drank and drank, lifted his head and shoulders above the water to gasp in the evening air, and then collapsed into the water again, to drink as greedily as before.
It was a kind of prayer, though, he realized as he emerged, freezing cold as the water evaporated from his skin in the breeze of the dark morning.
I am with you, he said to the Oversoul. I'll do whatever you ask, because I long for you to accomplish your purpose here.”
“Once these two had been joined together in love, or something like love; they had made two babies, and yet, only fifteen years later, the last tie between them was broken now. All lost, all gone. Nothing lasted, nothing. Even this forty-million-year world that the Oversoul had preserved as if in ice, even it would melt before the fire. Permanence was always an illusion, and love was just the disguise that lovers wore to hide the death of their union from each other for a while.”
“Human is human,” said Issib. “But civilized—that’s the gift of the Oversoul. Civilization without self-destruction.”
“Elemak pulled the shower cord before he soaped. The moment the water hit him he yowled, and then did his own little splash dance, shaking his head and flipping water all over the courtyard while jabbering “ooga-booga looga-booga” just like a little kid.”
“How do men become manly, if not by putting it on as an act until it becomes habit and then, finally, their character?”
“Once more I struck out into the ocean of space, heading for another near star. Once more I was disappointed.”
“. . . she dreamed of nothing, for she hoped for nothing and expected nothing. It was as cold and dark inside her as out in the frosty night.”
“Poor Miss Binney, dressed like Mother Goose, now had the responsibility of sixty-eight boys and girls.”
“Three hours later they watched the Ile de France slip out toward the flat blue distance of the open sea and sky. How astouding, Andras thought, that a ship that size could shrink to the size of a house, and then to the size of a car; the size of a desk, a book, a shoe, a walnut, a grain of rice, a grain of sand. How astounding that the largest thing he’d ever seen was still no match for the diminishing effect of distance. It made him aware of his own smallness in the world, his insignificance in the face of what might come, and for a moment his chest felt light with panic.”
“But I know your blood doesn't define you. What defines you is the choices you make. If I've learned anything this year, it's that. And I also know that loving someone--even when it's scary, even when there are consequences--is never the wrong thing to do. Loving someone is the opposite of hurting her.”
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