“You forget what you want to remember, and you remember what you want to forget.”
“Nobody wants to be here and nobody wants to leave.”
“People were always getting ready for tomorrow. I didn't believe in that. Tomorrow wasn't getting ready for them. It didn't even know they were there.”
“Once there were brook trout in the streams in the mountains. You could see them standing in the amber current where the white edges of their fins wimpled softly in the flow. They smelled of moss in your hand. Polished and muscular and torsional. On their backs were vermiculate patterns that were maps of the world in its becoming. Maps and mazes. Of a thing which could not be put back. Not be made right again. In the deep glens where they lived all things were older than man and they hummed of mystery.”
“Just remember that the things you put into your head are there forever, he said. You might want to think about that.
You forget some things, dont you?
Yes. You forget what you want to remember and you remember what you want to forget.”
“He walked out in the gray light and stood and he saw for a brief moment the absolute truth of the world. The cold relentless circling of the intestate earth. Darkness implacable. The blind dogs of the sun in their running. The crushing black vacuum of the universe. And somewhere two hunted animals trembling like ground-foxes in their cover. Borrowed time and borrowed world and borrowed eyes with which to sorrow it.”
“What's the bravest thing you ever did?
He spat in the road a bloody phlegm. Getting up this morning, he said.”
“You have my whole heart. You always did.”
“If trouble comes when you least expect it then maybe the thing to do is to always expect it.”
“He knew only that his child was his warrant. He said: If he is not the word of God God never spoke.”
“You have to carry the fire."
I don't know how to."
Yes, you do."
Is the fire real? The fire?"
Yes it is."
Where is it? I don't know where it is."
Yes you do. It's inside you. It always was there. I can see it.”
“Keep a little fire burning; however small, however hidden.”
“Borrowed time and borrowed world and borrowed eyes with which to sorrow it.”
“When you die it's the same as if everybody else did too.”
“If only my heart were stone.”
“Listen to me, he said, when your dreams are of some world that never was or some world that never will be, and you're happy again, then you'll have given up. Do you understand? And you can't give up, I won't let you.”
“Then they set out along the blacktop in the gunmetal light, shuffling through the ash, each the other's world entire.”
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
“If you break little promises, you'll break big ones.”
“Where men can't live gods fare no better.”
“Query: How does the never to be differ from what never was?”
“What would you do if I died?
If you died I would want to die too.
So you could be with me?
Yes. So I could be with you.
“By day the banished sun circles the earth like a grieving mother with a lamp.”
“When one has nothing left make ceremonies out of the air and breathe upon them.”
“The frailty of everything revealed at last. Old and troubling issues resolved into nothingness and night. The last instance of a thing takes the class with it. Turns out the light and is gone. Look around you. Ever is a long time. But the boy knew what he knew. That ever is no time at all.”
“Perhaps in the world's destruction it would be possible at last to see how it was made. Oceans, mountains. The ponderous counterspectacle of things ceasing to be. The sweeping waste, hydroptic and coldly secular. The silence.”
“When he went back to the fire he knelt and smoothed her hair as she slept and he said if he were God he would have made the world just so and no different.”
“How would you know if you were the last man on Earth? He said.
I don't guess you would know it. You'd just be it.
Nobody would know it.
It wouldn't make any difference. When you die it's the same as if everybody else died too.”
“What is life without this? which was why, in the end, it was I, and not her, who blurted out, not once, but many, many times, You'll kill me if you stop, you'll kill me if you stop, because it was also my way of bringing full circle the dream and the fantasy, me and him, the longed-for words from mouth to mouth, which was when I must have begun using obscenities that he repeated after me, softly at first, till he said, "Call me by your name and I'll call you by my name," which I'd never done in my life before and which, as soon as I said my own name as though it were his, took me to a realm I never shared with anyone in my life before, or since.”
“Did you pick out this outfit?" he asked, looking at her clothes.
"No," she said. She was wearing a cheap, bright red dress that she'd been given by another girl from the bar who shared the same apartment. "Someone gave it to me."
"I thought so," said Satake. "It doesn't suit you."
Then buy me on that does!--that was the sort of thing she would learn to say only later. That night she had just smiled vaguely to cover her embarrassment.”
“When people say impossible, they usually mean improbable.”
“Proper preparation is the key to our success. Our acts can be no wiser than our thoughts. Our thinking can be no wiser than our understanding.”
“There is no vanity so damaging to a man's character as pride over his good deeds!”
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