“I feel I stand in a desert with my hands outstretched, and you are raining down upon me.”
“Do people always fall in love with things they can't have?'
'Always,' Carol said, smiling, too.”
“It would be Carol, in a thousand cities, a thousand houses, in foreign lands where they would go together, in heaven and in hell.”
“But there was not a moment when she did not see Carol in her mind, and all she saw, she seemed to see through Carol. That evening, the dark flat streets of New York, the tomorrow of work, the milk bottle dropped and broken in her sink, became unimportant. She flung herself on her bed and drew a line with a pencil on a piece of paper. And another line, carefully, and another. A world was born around her, like a bright forest with a million shimmering leaves.”
“I know what they'd like, they'd like a blank they could fill in. A person already filled in disturbs them terribly.”
“What was it to love someone, what was love exactly, and why did it end or not end? Those were the real questions, and who could answer them?”
“January. It was all things. And it was one thing, like a solid door. Its cold sealed the city in a gray capsule. January was moments, and January was a year. January rained the moments down, and froze them in her memory: [...]Every human action seemed to yield a magic. January was a two-faced month, jangling like jester's bells, crackling like snow crust, pure as any beginning, grim as an old man, mysteriously familiar yet unknown, like a word one can almost but not quite define.”
“Perhaps it was freedom itself that choked her.”
“Then Carol slipped her arm under her neck, and all the length of their bodies touched fitting as if something had prearranged it. Happiness was like a green vine spreading through her, stretching fine tendrils, bearing flowers through her flesh. She had a vision of a pale white flower, shimmering as if seen in darkness, or through water. Why did people talk of heaven, she wondered”
“How was it possible to be afraid and in love... The two things did not go together. How was it possible to be afraid, when the two of them grew stronger together every day? And every night. Every night was different, and every morning. Together they possessed a miracle.”
“It always gets late with you. - Is that a compliment?”
“I think people often try to find through sex things that are much easier to find in other ways.”
“And she did not have to ask if this was right, no one had to tell her, because this could not have been more right or perfect.”
“Happiness was like a green vine spreading through her, stretching fine tendrils, bearing flowers through her flesh.”
“Was it love or wasn't it that she felt for Carol? And how absurd it was that she didn't even know. She had heard about girls falling in love, and she knew what kind of people they were and what they looked like. Neither she nor Carol looked like that. Yet the way she felt about Carol passed all the tests for love and fitted all the descriptions.”
“Carol raised her hand slowly and brushed her hair back, once on either side, and Therese smiled because the gesture was Carol, and it was Carol she loved and would always love. Oh, in a different way now because she was a different person, and it was like meeting Carol all over again, but it was still Carol and no one else. It would be Carol, in a thousand cities, a thousand houses, in foreign lands where they would go together, in heaven and in hell. Therese waited. Then as she was about to go to her, Carol saw her, seemed to stare at her incredulously a moment while Therese watched the slow smile growing, before her arm lifted suddenly, her hand waved a quick, eager greeting that Therese had never seen before. Therese walked toward her.”
“She thought of people she had seen holding hands in movies, and why shouldn't she and Carol?”
“But when they kissed goodnight in bed, Therese felt their sudden release, that leap of response in both of them, as if their bodies were of some materials which put together inevitably created desire.”
“Their eyes met at the same instant moment, Therese glancing up from a box she was opening, and the woman just turning her head so she looked directly at Therese. She was tall and fair, her long figure graceful in the loose fur coat that she held open with a hand on her waist, her eyes were grey, colorless, yet dominant as light or fire, and, caught by them, Therese could not look away. She heard the customer in front of her repeat a question, and Therese stood there, mute. The woman was looking at Therese, too, with a preoccupied expression, as if half her mind were on whatever is was she meant to buy here, and though there were a number of salesgirls between them, There felt sure the woman would come to her, Then, Then Therese saw her walk slowly towards the counter, heard her heart stumble to catch up with the moment it had let pass, and felt her face grow hot as the woman came nearer and nearer.”
“Do you like her'
''Of course!' What a question! Like asking her if she believe in God.”
“What could be duller than past history!' Therese said, smiling. 'Maybe futures that won't have any history.”
“I let it boil and it's got scum on it," Carol said annoyedly. "I'm sorry."
But Therese loved it, because she knew this was exactly what Carol would always do, be thinking of something else and let the milk boil.”
“Her life was a series of zigzags. At nineteen, she was anxious.”
“Was life, were human relations like this always, Therese wondered. Never solid ground underfoot. Always like gravel, a little yielding, noisy so the whole world could hear, so one always listened, too, for the loud, harsh step of the intruder's foot.”
“The dusky and faintly sweet smell of her perfume came to Therese again, a smell suggestive of dark green silk, that was hers alone, like the smell of a special flower.”
“An inarticulate anxiety, a desire to know, know anything, for certain, had jammed itself in her throat so for a moment she felt she could hardly breathe. Do you think, do you think, it began. Do you think both of us will die violently someday, be suddenly shut off? But even that question wasn’t definite enough. Perhaps it was a statement after all: I don’t want to die yet without knowing you. Do you feel the same way, Carol? She could have uttered the last question, but she could not have said all that went before it.”
“At any rate, Therese thought, she was happier than she ever had been before. And why worry about defining everything?”
“I think friendships are the result of certain needs that can be completely hidden from both people, sometimes hidden forever.”
“...It had all happened in that instant she had seen Carol standing in the middle of the floor, watching her. Then the realization that so much had happened after that meeting made her feel incredibly lucky suddenly. It was so easy for a man and woman to find each other, to find someone who would do, but for her to have found Carol-”
“She tried to keep her voice steady, but it was pretense, like pretending self-control when something you loved was dead in front of your eyes. They would have to separate here.”
“I’d rather welcome change than cling to the past.”
“Open your mouth and shut your eyes and see what the fairies will send you—”
“Dad takes a step back, one hand still on my shoulder, and reaches into his pocket. He draws out a little blue capsule, and I feel every molecule in my body screaming to run. Dad must catch the panic in my eyes - he squeezes my shoulder and holds out the capsule. "Cas, it's fine. It's going to be fine. This is just in case."
Just in case. Just in case the worst happens. The ship falls. Durga fails, I fail, and the knowledge I carry as a Reckoner trainer must be disposed of. That information can't fall into the wrong hands, into the hands of people who will do anything to take down our beasts.
So this little capsule holds the pill that will kill me if it comes to that.
"It's waterproof," Dad continues, pressing it into my hand. "The pocket on the collar of your wetsuit, keep it there. It has to stay with you at all times."
It won't happen on this voyage. It's such a basic mission, gift-wrapped to be easy enough for me to handle on my own. But even holding the pill fills me with revulsion. On all my training voyages, I've never had to carry one of these capsules. That burden only goes to full-time trainers.
"Cas." Dad tilts my chin up, ripping my gaze from the pull. "You were born to do this. I promise you, you'll forget you even have it." I suppose he ought to know - he's been carrying one for two decades.
It's just a right of passage, I tell myself, and throw my arms around his neck once more.”
“When sorrows come, they come not single spies. But in battalions!”
“it occurs to me that this is what it means to be a feminist. Not a humanist or an equalist or whatever. But a feminist. It’s not a bad word. After today it might be my favorite word. Because really all it is is girls supporting each other and wanting to be treated like human beings in a world that’s always finding ways to tell them they’re not.”
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