He’d tried to explain it to her, how accidents happen but we really are safe. But there was, already, the sense that nothing he said touched what was really bothering her, which was the realization that you can’t stop bad things from happening to other people, other things. And that would be hard forever. He’d never quite gotten used to it himself.Megan Abbott, The Fever: A Novel
“Emma’s eyes were instantly withdrawn; and she sat silently meditating, in a fixed attitude, for a few minutes. A few minutes were sufficient for making her acquainted with her own heart. A mind like her’s, once opening to suspicion, made rapid progress. She touched — she admitted — she acknowledged the whole truth. Why was it so much worse that Harriet should be in love with Mr. Knightley, than with Frank Churchill? Why was the evil so dreadfully increased by Harriet’s having some hope of a return? It darted through her, with the speed of an arrow, that Mr. Knightley must marry no one but herself!”
[…] we can’t make a decision between being sad for a little while and being wretched for the rest of our lives. Or rather we’ve made the decision and have trouble finding the courage to carry it through.Jun’ichirō Tanizaki, Some Prefer Nettles
The problem with English is this: You usually can’t open your mouth and it comes out just like that—first you have to think what you want to say. Then you have to find the words. Then you have to carefully arrange those words in your head. Then you have to say the words quietly to yourself, to make sure you got them okay. And finally, the last step, which is to say the words out loud and have them sound just right.
But then because you have to do all this, when you get to the final step, something strange has happened to you and you speak the way a drunk walks. And because you are speaking like falling, it’s as if you are an idiot, when the truth is that it’s the language and the whole process that’s messed up. And then the problem with those who speak only English is this: they don’t know how to listen; they are busy looking at your falling instead of paying attention to what you are saying.NoViolet Bulawayo, We Need New Names: A Novel
MotherLove shakes her head, and then her body heaves downward, like she is a sack falling. But she is not angry. She doesn’t yell. She doesn’t slap or grab anybody by the ears. She doesn’t say she will kill us or tell the mothers. I look at her face and see the terrible face of someone I have never seen before, and on the stranger’s face is this look of pain, this look that adults have when somebody dies. There are tears in the eyes and she is clutching her chest like there’s a fire inside it.
Then MotherLove reaches out and holds Chipo. We are all watching and not knowing what to do because when grown-ups cry, it’s not like you can ask them what’s wrong, or tell them to shut up; there are just no words for a grown-up’s tears. Then Chipo stops crying and wraps her arms around MotherLove, even though they don’t really reach around. A purple lucky butterfly sits at the top of Chipo’s head and when it flies away, Forgiveness chases it. Then Sbho and I take off after Forgiveness, and we are all chasing the butterfly and screaming out for luck.NoViolet Bulawayo, We Need New Names: A Novel
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