“All my life I've thought I needed someone to complete me, now I know I need to belong to myself.”
“You can go other places, all right - you can live on the other side of the world, but you can't ever leave home”
“I didn't know then what I wanted, but the ache for it was palpable.”
“At forty-two, I had never done anything that took my own breath away, and I suppose now that was part of the problem--my chronic inability to astonish myself. I promise you, no one judges me more harshly than I do myself; I caused a brilliant wreckage. Some say I fell from grace; they're being kind. I didn't fall. I dove.”
“If you aren't giving people something to talk about, you've become too dull.”
“There's release in knowing the truth no matter how anguishing it is. You come finally to the irreducible thing, and there's nothing left to do but pick it up and hold it. Then, at last, you can enter the severe mercy of acceptance.”
“I promise you, no one judges me more harshly than I do myself; I caused a brilliant wreckage. Some say I fell from grace; they’re being kind. I didn’t fall – I dove.”
“Yes, here I am returning, the woman who bore herself to the bottom and back. Who wanted to swim like dolphins, leaping waves and diving. Who wanted only to belong to herself.”
“You can't stop your heart from loving, really -- it's like standing out there in the ocean yelling at the waves to stop.”
“So few people know what they're capable of.”
“Gazing into the mirror, I saw myself as I was-a black silhouette in the room, a woman whose darkness had completely leaked through.”
“I felt amazed at the choosing one had to do, over and over a million times daily--choosing love, then choosing it again...how loving and being in love could be so different.”
“Still everyone, including the abbot, had said that he was running away from his grief. They'd had no idea what they were talking about. He'd cradled his grief, almost to the point of loving it. For so long he refused to give it up, because leaving it behind was like leaving her.”
“She didn't even know how dangerous the truth could be, all the tiny, shattering seeds it carried.”
“I can't explain that, except to say there's release in knowing the truth no matter how anguishing it is. You come finally to the irreducible thing, and there's nothing left to do but pick it up and hold it. Then, at least, you can enter the severe mercy of acceptance.”
“With winter the feeling had deepened. I would see a neighbor running along the sidewalk in front of the house, training, I imagined, for a climb up Kilimanjaro. Or a friend at my book club giving a blow-by-blow of her bungee jump from a bridge in Australia. Or - and this was the worst of all - a TV show about some intrepid woman traveling alone in the blueness of Greece, and I'd be overcome by the little sparks that seemed to run beneath all that, the blood/sap/wine, aliveness, whatever it was. It had made me feel bereft over the immensity of the world, the extraordinary things people did with their lives - though, really, I didn't want to do any of those particular things. I didn't know then what I wanted, but the ache for it was palpable.”
“I marvel at how good I was before I met him, how I lived molded to the smallest space possible, my days the size of little beads that passed without passion through my fingers. So few people know what they're capable of. At forty-two I'd never done anything that took my own breath away, and I suppose now that was part of the problem - my chronic inability to astonish myself.”
“How often do we do that, he wondered--look at someone and fail to see what's really there?”
“Soul. The word rebounded to me, and I wondered, as I often had, what it was exactly. People talked about it all the time, but did anybody actually know? Sometimes I'd pictured it like a pilot light burning inside a person--a drop of fire from the invisible inferno people called God. Or a squashy substance, like a piece of clay or dental mold, which collected the sum of a person's experiences--a million indentations of happiness, desperation, fear, all the small piercings of beauty we've ever known.”
“I could even feel how perishable all my moments really were, how all my life they had come to me begging to be lived, to be cherished even.”
“The translucence that comes when life hardens into a bead of such cruel perfection you see it with the purest clarity. Everything suddenly there--life as it truly is, enormous, appalling, devastating. You see the great sinkholes it makes in people and the harrowing lengths to which love will go to fill them.”
“The mermaids came to me finally, in the pink hours of my life. They are my consolation. For them I dove with arms outstretched, my life streaming out behind me, a leap against all proprieties and expectations, but a leap that was somehow saving and necessary. How can I ever explain or account for that? I dove, and a pair of invisible arms simply appeared, unstinting arms, like the musculature of grace suddenly revealing itself. They caught me after I hit the water, bearing me not to the surface but to the bottom, and only then pulling me up.”
“I have come here not to find answers, but to find a way to live in a world without any.”
“...he felt God the same way arthritic monks felt rain coming in their joints. He felt only a hint of him.”
“They say you can bear anything if you can tell a story about it.”
“There are things without explanation, moments when life will become arranged in such odd ways that you imagine a whole vocabulary of meaning inside them. The breakfast smell struck me like that.”
“To be honest, I had been restless...The sensation would rise suddenly like freight from the ocean floor--the unexpected discontent of cows in their pasture. The constant chewing of all that cud.”
“It's part of our overall Body Negation Program.”
“What matters is giving over to what you love.”
“You're looking for a reason," she said. "And that doesn't help. It doesn't change the present.”
“He was shivering like a Wicklow sheepdog in a snowy yard, though the weather was officially 'clement'.
The first layer of clothing was his jacket, the second his shirt, the third his long-johns, the fourth his share of lice, the fifth his share of fear.”
“If I’d known we were just going to sit around and watch the plants grow today, I would have brought my book.”
Emma jerked her attention from the columbine plants she’d been checking on and back to Sean. “Sorry. Zoned out for a minute. Did you get the weed blocker done?”
“Yeah. I don’t get why they want the pathway to the beach done in white stone. Don’t you usually walk back from the water barefoot?”
“Not this couple. It doesn’t matter how practical it is. All that matters is how it looks.”
“Whatever. It’s going to take the rest of the day to get all that stone down, so stop mentally tiptoeing through the tulips and let’s go.”
Emma wanted to tell him to shove his attitude up his ass, because she was the boss, or at least flip him the bird behind his back, but she didn’t have the energy. Living a fake life was a lot more exhausting than she’d anticipated.
She didn’t even want to think about what it was like trying to sleep every night with her boxer-brief-clad roommate sprawled across the bed only ten feet away, so she thought about Gram instead. Gram, who was, at that very moment, on her way into town. The town that had heard the rumors of her engagement, but never actually seen her fiancé.
If Gram returned from town still believing Emma and Sean were headed to the altar, it would be a miracle.”
“There was something dead in my heart.
I tried to figure out what it was by the strength of the smell. I knew that it was not a lion or a sheep or a dog. Using logical deduction, I came to the conclusion that it was a mouse.
I had a dead mouse in my heart.”
“Sweet allowed her pregnancy to get the better of her and simply sat down. Reenie’s lips set into a straight, emotionless line. Mawu no longer talked back, the words she did speak taking on an air of vapidity. Philip was chained at night, no longer trusted. So it was no wonder that Lizzie sought out the white woman then.”
“Damn every single matchmaker in this world.”
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