Because now, I didn't care what they thought. It wasn't new, this realization that I would never be like them. What was different now was that I was glad. Macy page 199.
That's not a real answer.'
Says who?' Says me. I mean real fear, like of failure, of death, of regret. Like that. Something that keeps you awake nights, questioning your very existence.' Clowns.
In the dark everyone felt the same: the edges blurred. When I think of myself then, what I was like two years ago, I feel like a wound in a bad place, prone to be bumped on corners or edges. Never able to heal.
And that was it; it was so easy for her. My own memories did not even belong to me. But I knew she was wrong. I had seen that comet. I knew it as well as I knew my own face, my own hands. My own heart.
Everyone can make scrambled eggs, Remy. It's programmed into you at birth, the default setting. Like being able to swim and knowing not to mix pickles with oatmeal. You just know.
He'd always had that fearless optimism that made cynics like me squirm. I wondered if it was enough for both of us. I would never know from here, though. And time was passing. Crucial minutes and seconds, each one capable of changing everything.
But it's strange, when you've always been told something is true, like the moon will come back. You need proof. And while you wait, you feel the entire balance of your world just tipping. It's crazy. But when it's over, and it does come back, that's the best, because it's all you want, everything narrows to just that. It's this great rush, like for that one second everything's okay with the world again. It's amazing.
Please. She sighed. "Can't a girl have high standards? I don't want an ordinary boy."
I'd heard of Evergreen Care Center before. Cass and I had always made fun of the stupid ads they ran on TV, featuring some dragged-out woman with a limp perm and big, painted-on circles under her eyes, downing vodka and sobbing uncontrollably. "We can't heal you at Evergreen," the very somber voiceover said. "But we can help you to heal yourself." It had become our own running joke, applicable to almost anything.
"Hey Cass, "I'd say, "hand me that toothpaste." "Caitlin," she'd say, her voice dark and serious. "I can't hand you the toothpaste. But I CAN help you hand the toothpaste to yourself.
I think my mother characters have changed a lot since Sasha was born, just because I understand what a hard job it is now, and I'm coming at it from another angle -- like you just love and care about this person so much, and just want to protect them from everything.
You only really fall apart in front of the people you know can piece you back together.
She was so emotional, on the verge of tears. This was what I'd wanted to prevent with all those quick disappearances, the tangledness of farewells and all the baggage they brought with them. But now, looking at Deb, I realized what else I'd given up: knowing for sure that someone was going to miss me. What happened to goodbye, Michael in Westcott had written on my Ume.com page. I was pretty sure I knew, now. It had been packed away in a box of its own, trying to be forgotten, until I really needed it. Until now.
Suddenly, I was just sure he was going to kiss me. He was there, I could feel his breath, the ground solid beneath us. But then something crossed his face, a thought, a hesitation, and he shifted slightly. Not now. Not yet. It was something I'd done so often -- weighing what I could afford to risk, right at that moment -- that I recognized it instantly. It was like looking in a mirror.
Are you crazy? Flirting with Eli Stock in front of Belissa Norwood, in Belissa Norwood's house, while eating Belissa Norwood's cupcakes?
If you try anything, if you try to lose weight, or to improve yourself, or to love, or to make the world a better place, you have already achieved something wonderful, before you even begin. Forget failure. If things don't work out the way you want, hold your head up high and be proud. And try again. And again. And again!
From what I could see, the hardwood was just fine. Then again, I'd just see a windmill and an open sky, too, never feeling the need to conquer either. You think it's all obvious and straightforward, this world. But really, it's all in who is doing the looking.
So what do you wear to dump somebody?" she asked me, twirling a lock of hair around one finger. "Black, for mourning? Or something cheerful and colorful, to distract them from their pain? Or maybe you wear some sort of camouflage, something that will help you disappear quickly in case they don't take it well.
I don't talk about my books while I'm writing them: not even my husband knows what a novel's about until it's done.
It was terrible and awful when someone left you. You could move on, do the best you could, but like Eli had said, an ending was an ending. No matter how many pages of sentences and paragraphs of great stories led up to it, it would always have to have the last word.
But all the love in the world won't save a sinking ship. You have to either bail or jump overboard.
Because this is what happens when you try to run from the past. it doesn't just catch up: it overtakes, blotting out the future, the landscape, the very sky, until there is no path left except that which leads through it, the only one that can ever get you home.
"It was just one of those things," I said, "You know, that just happen. You don't think or plan. You just do it."
Looking at the pond, all I could think was that it is an incredivle thing, how a whole world can rise from what seems like nothing at all.
Family isn't something that's supposed to be static, or set. People marry in, divorce out. They're born, they die. It's always evolving, turning into something else.
I didnt pay atteniton to times or distance, instead focusing on how it felt just to be in motion, knowing it wasn't about the finish line but how I got there that mattered.
This is exactly what i wanted, as commitments had never really been my thing. And it wasn't like it was hard, either. The only trick was never giving more than you were willing to lose.
What was it like to be so confident even in your failings that you weren't the least bit bothered when other people pointed them out? I was almost envious.
Holding people away from you, and denying yourself love, that doesn't make you strong. if anything, it makes you weaker. Because you're doing it out of fear.
All I want is someone decent." She sniffled again, her eyes filling with tears. "You know? Kind. Good. Like in all those love stories I'm such an expert on. It can't just be fiction. It can't. Those guys are out there, I know it. I just can't find them." Those guys were out there. In fact, one was watching us right now, somewhere nearby. Keeping his distance, knowing she needed me to herself right then, but still, just outside the door.
If you didn't love him, this never would have happened. But you did. And accepting that love and everything that followed it is part of letting it go.
You couldn't see the key around my neck: it hung too low under both collars. But if I leaned in close, I could make it out, buried deep beneath. Out of sight, hard to recognize, but still able to be found, even if I was the only one to ever look for it.
But there was something I liked about the idea of those seeds buried so deep having at least a chance to emerge.
It seemed amazing to me that one night could hold so much, from a merry-go-round to a Pop-Tart with frosting to the most beautiful singing I'd ever heard.
I'm really happy to have the chance to talk about the editing process. It's something that I think doesn't get the weight it deserves, especially with the rise of self-publishing.
The past did affect the present and the future, in ways you could see and a million ones you couldn't. Time wasn't a thing you could divide easily; there was no defined middle or beginning or end. I could pretend to leave the past behind, but it would not leave me.
I think part of the problem sometimes is that there's so much happening in my books, to whittle it down into a single script is hard.
But you, fine sir." John Miller clapped Dexter on the shoulder, a bit unsteadily. "You have problems of your own."
"This is true," Dexter replied, nodding. "The women," John Miller sighed. Dexter wiped a hand over his face, and glanced down the road. "The women. Indeed, dear squire, they perplex me as well." "Ah, the fair Remy," John Miller said grandly, and I felt a flush run up my face. Lissa, in the front seat, put a hand to her mouth. "The fair Remy," Dexter repeated, "did not see me as a worthwhile risk." "Indeed." "I am, of course, a rogue. A rapscallion. A musician. I would bring her nothing but poverty, shame, and bruised shins from my flailing limbs. She is the better for our parting." John Miller pantomined stabbing himself in the heart. "Cold words, my squire." "Huffah," Dexter agreed. "Huffah," John Miller repeated, "Indeed.
I'd still thought that everything I thought about that night-the shame, the fear-would fade in time. But that hadn't happened. Instead, the things that I remembered, these little details, seemed to grow stronger, to the point where I could feel their weight in my chest. Nothing, however stuck with me more than the memory of stepping into that dark room and what I found there, and how the light then took that nightmare and made it real.
I just have to be super strong when it comes to my work time. Shut the browser, ignore the email alerts, and just write.
I had to wonder whether it was possible that this wasn't already decided for me, and if maybe, just maybe, this was my one last chance to try and prove it. There was no way to know. There never is. But I reached out and took it anyway.
All I'd ever wanted was to forget. but even when I thought I had, pieces had kept emerging, like bits of wood floating up to the surface that only hint at the shipwreck below.
I was born in 1970 in Illinois, but all the life I remember I've spent in Chapel Hill, N.C.
Once, I was easy. Now, I was choosy. See? Big difference.
I can still see Boo sitting there on the floor, cross-legged, holding my Ken and watching my face as she tried to make me see that between my mother'sPTA and Boo's strange ways there was a middle ground that began here with my Barbie, Sab-rina,and led right to me.
"She can be anything," Boo told me, and this is what I remember most, her freckled face so solemn, as if she knew she was the first to tell me. "And so can you.
When I was in high school, I was always really envious of those girls who seemed to have everything: the perfect hair, perfect clothes, perfect boyfriend, perfect life. It wasn't until I was older that I realized that nobody's life is perfect, and that those girls probably had a lot of the same problems I did.
Why does she have wings?'
So she can fly.
Say what you will, but you're never prepared for the surprise attack.
Because anyone that can make you feel that bad about yourself is toxic.
But God!Who could live like this , anyway, with the kind of guesswork that was enough to make a person crazy, just sailing along, taking bumps here and there, no course navigated whatsoever, with any big wave capable of just tipping and sinking you entirely. IT was madness, stipidity, and- (then I saw him).
You're not the kind of person who smiles for nothing, Colie. I have to earn every one.
It wasn't so much that I was positive. I just wasn't fully subscribing to such a negative way of thinking anymore.
"It's not always easy being her daughter."
"I think," she said, "sometimes it's hard no matter whose daughter you are."
When you don't know where you're going, maybe it wasn't such a bad thing to have more than you need.
If there's one thing I've learned in the last few months, it's that sometimes you just have to close your eyes and jump.
See for me, it's immediate. Silence is so freaking loud.' This seemed either deep or deeply oxymoronic. I wasn't sure which.
The dark was still a mystery, something hidden, something to be scared of, but I'd come to fear the light, too. It was where everything was revealed, or seemed to be.
If you could just be nice, then you wouldn't have to worry about arguments at all. but being nice wasn't as easy as it seemed, especially when the rest of the world could be so mean.
I was worn out, broken: He had taken almost everything. But he'd been all I'd had, all this time. And when the police led him away, I pulled out of the hands of all these loved one, sobbing, screaming, everything hurting, to try and make him stay.
People don't change. If anything, you get more set in your ways as you get older, not less.
Can she be divorced?" I asked. "And famous for her commercials and ideas?" She can be anything," Boo told me, and this is what I remember most, her freckled face so solemn, as if she knew she was the first to tell me. "And so can you.
I wanted to tell him so. Find the right words, string them together in the ideal way, knowing that here they would have the best chance of sounding perfect.
Stuff that would be weird in the bright light of day just wasn't so much once you passed a certain hour.
I took his wildness from him and tried to fold it into myself, filling up the empty spaces all those second place finishes left behind.
It seemed like this day could go in so many directions, like a spiderweb shooting out toward endless possibilities.
How it felt to have the world moving beneath me, a hand gripping mine, knowing if I fell, at least I wouldn't do it alone.
It's not a switch you can just flip off," Dr. Marshall had told me once. "If you didn't love him, this never would have happened. But you did. And accepting that love-and everything that followed is part of letting it go.
From this distance, in the dimness, the model looked surreal, made up of parts filled with buildings, bordered by long stretches of empty space. It reminded me of the way cities and towns look when you are flying at night. You can't make out much. But the places where people have come together, and stayed, are collections of tiny lights, breaking up the darkness.
But anyone can begin. It was the part with all the promise, the potential, the things I loved. More and more, though, I was finding myself wanting to find out what happened in the end.
It wasn't about being happy or unhappy. I just didn't want to be me anymore.
Sitting there with them, it was almost hard to remember when I first came to Perkins, so determined to remember to be a one-woman operation to the end. But that was the thing about taking help and giving it, or so I was learning; there was no such thing as really getting even. Instead, this connection, once opened, remained ongoing over time.
There has to be a middle. Without it, nothing can ever truly be whole. Because it is not just the space between, but also what holds everything together.
She was just a shell of her former self, functioning and talking but hardly alive.
Wherever you will go, I will let you down, But this lullaby goes on.
My books are so tame!
We all have one idea of what the color blue is, but pressed to describe it specifically, there are so many ways: the ocean, lapis lazuli, the sky, someone's eyes. Our definitions are as different as we are ourselves.
Look," I said, "We knew Jason and Becky would be back, the break would end. This isn't a surprise, it's what's supposed to happen. It's what we wanted. Right?" "Is it?" he asked. "Is it what you want?" Whether he intended it to be or not, this was the final question, the last Truth. If I said what I really thought, I was opening myself up for a hurt bigger than I could even imagine. I didn't have it in me. We changed and altered so many rules, but it was this one, the only one when we'd started, that I would break. "Yes," I said.
The thing is, you can't always have the best of everything. Because for a life to be real, you need it all: good and bad, beach and concrete, the familiar and the unknown, big talkers and small towns.
It was hard to remember what the yard had looked like even twelve hours before, undisturbed and pristine. Like it takes so little to change something, but to make you forget the way it once was, as well.
So I just decided to relax into it, bumpy and crazy as it might be, and try for once to just go along for the ride.
Maybe my sister and I shared more than we thought. We were both waiting and wishing for something we couldn't completely control: I wanted to be alone, and she the total opposite. It was weird, really, to have something so contrary in common. But at least it was something.
Maybe we were all destined to just keep doing the same stupid things, over and over again, never really learning a single thing.
Impulsiveness can be charming but deliberation can have an appeal, as well.
Society. The same society, I might add, that dictates that little girls should always be sugar and spice and everything nice, which encourages them not to be assertive. And that, in turn, then leads to low self-esteem, which can lead to eating disorders and increased tolerance and acceptance of domestic, sexual, and substance abuse." "You get all that from a pink Onesie?" Leah said after a moment.
Those who truly fail in my eyes are the ones who never try at all. The ones who sit on the couch and whine and moan and wait for the world to change for them.
As he heard me approach, he quickly leaped up, grabbing a nearby loaf of bread and holding it in front of him as if struck by a sudden desire to make a sandwich.
Once, this had been the life I'd wanted. Even chosen. Now, though, I couldn't believe that there had been a time when this kind of monotony and silence, this most narrow of existences, had been preferable. Then again, once, I'd never known anything else.
This thought was interrupted, suddenly, by a crash from the front entrance. We all looked over just in time to see Adam bending back from the glass, rubbing his arm.
"Pull open," Maggie called out. As Leah rolled her eyes, she said, "He never remembers. It's so weird.
Fall in love with someone who truly deserves your heart. Not with someone who plays with it.
I can say I made a lot of mistakes, but I don't regret things. Because at least I didn't spend a life standing outside, wondering what living would be like.
After the group vet appointment -- during which Lyle scratched the vet, the vet tech, and some poor woman minding her own business in the waiting room -- we went back to Sabrina's and re-released the cats to their natural habitat.
You don't have to say it out loud. I already know why you like me.' 'You do, huh?' 'Yep.' He wrapped his arms around my waist, pulling me closer. 'So,' I said. 'Tell me' 'It's an animal attraction,' he said simply. 'Totally chemical.' 'Hmm,' I said. 'You could be right.' 'It doesn't matter, anyway, why you like me.' 'No?' 'Nope.' His hands were in my hair now, and I was leaning in, not able to totally make out his face, but his voice was clear, close to my ear. 'Just that you do.
I couldn't imagine what it would be like to be one of so many, to have not just parents and siblings but cousins and aunts and uncles, an entire tribe to claim as your own. Maybe you would feel lost in the crowd. Or sheltered by it. Whatever the case, one things was for sure: like it or not, you'd never be alone.
Anyone can hide. Facing up to things, working through them, that's what makes you strong.
The first step is always the hardest.
So I left him there alone to watch history repeat the same events retold again and again on his own.
I wondered if he ever thought of me, and hated the pang I felt when I told myself he didn't.
What is family? They were the people who claimed you. In good, in bad, in parts or in whole, they were the ones who showed up, who stayed in there, regardless. It wasn't just about blood relations or shared chromosomes, but something wider, bigger. Cora was right -- we had many families over time. Our family of origion, the family we created, as well as the gorups you moved thorugh while all of this was happening: friends, lovers, sometimes even strangers. None of them were perfect, and we couldn't expect them to be. You couldn't make any one person your world. The trick was to take what each could give you and build a world from it.
Sometimes a question can hurt more than an answer.
For you, I wish for second chances.
Okay," I said, "what's your biggest fear?"
As always, he took a second to think about the answer. "Clowns," he said. "Clowns." "Yup." I just looked at him. "What?" he said, glancing over at me. "That is not a real answer," I told him. "Says who?" "Says me. I meant a real fear, like of failure, of death, of regret. Like that. Something that keeps you awake nights, questioning your very existence." He thought for a second. "Clowns.
I think my biggest problem, though, at least in drafts, is not repeating myself. After eight books I get worried that a character or piece of dialog might be too much like something I've already done. So it's a challenge to keep it fresh.
Like a word on a page that you've printed and read a million times, that suddenly looks strange or wrong, foreign. And you feel scared for a second, like you've lost something, even if you're not sure what it is.
The thing is I'm a great believer in the perfect moment. They don't come around that often.
Total commitment. You know, the idea of discovering something that, for all intents and purposes, goes against your abilities, and yet still deciding to do it anyway. That takes guts, you know?
I wanted to be somewhere else ... Someplace where the sight of me sobbing would tie me to no one and no one to me.
How it seemed like you could see everything, but certain things were blocked out, hidden.
Pieces and parts were always easier to process. The full picture, the entire story, was another thing entirely. But you just never knew. Sometimes, people could surprise you.
I was actually pretty miserable in high school. I couldn't wait for it to be over. And when it finally was, I remember sitting at graduation with all these classmates getting nostalgic and emotional already and all I could think was, "Get me out of here. I never want to see you people again." So it's ironic that I spend half my day putting myself back there by choice while writing.
Sometimes love can be an ugly thing.
I'd been running for years: there was nothing scarier, to me, than to just be still with someone. And yet, there on that dark road, going home, I was.
And trying to break it down this way, to minor and major offenses, maybes and what-ifs, was like arguing over the origin of cracks in a broken egg. It was done. How it happened didn't matter anymore.
It was great. Freedom even the imagined kind always is.
How weird that must be, to stay the same as everyone else changes.
I mean, at least with an argument, you know what's happening. Or have some idea. Silence is...it could be anything.
You can't always get the perfect moment. Sometimes, you just have to do the best you can under the circumstances.
Now, see," Wes said, nodding at my plate, "this is going to blow your mind." I looked at him. "It's a waffle, not the second coming.
Look. We both know life is short, Macy. Too short to waste a single second with anyone who doesn't appreciate and value you.
Look. We both know life is short, Macy. Too short to waste a single second with anyone who doesn't appreciate and value you." You said the other day life was long," I shot back. "Which is it?" It's both," she said, shrugging. "It all depends on how you choose to live it. It's like forever, always changing." Nothing can be two opposite things at once," I said. "It's impossible." No," she replied, squeezing my hand, "what's impossible is that we actually think it could be anything OTHER than that.
Everything looks different when you're older, not staring up at the world but down upon it.
Some people, they can't just move on, you know, mourn and cry and be done with it. Or at least seem to be. But for me... I don't know. I didn't want to fix it, to forget. It wasn't something that was broken. It's just...something that happened. And like that hole, I'm just finding ways, every day, of working around it. Respecting and remembering and getting on at the same time.
An ending was an ending. No matter how many pages of sentences and paragraphs of great stories led up to it, it would always have the last word.
Maybe it was true, and being a girl could be about interest rates and skinny jeans, riding bikes and wearing pink. Not about any one thing, but everything.
There are some things in this world you rely on, like a sure bet. And when they let you down, shifting from where you've carefully placed them, it shakes your faith, right where you stand.
That first love. And the first one who breaks your heart. For me, they just happen to be the same person.
I don't believe in failure, because simply by saying you've failed, you've admitted you attempted. And anyone who attempts is not a failure. Those who truly fail in my eyes are the ones who never try at all. The ones who sit on the couch and whine and moan and wait for the world to change for them.
That's the thing, though. You always think you want to be noticed. Until you are.
That's what this has been all about for you, correct? Make it clear. That you and me -- it was nothing more that you'll have with Spinnerbait boy, or the guy after that, or the guy after that. Right?"
"Yeah, I said, shrugging. "You're right." He just stood there, looking at me, as if I had actually changed before his eyes. But this was the girl I'd been all along. I'd just hidden her well.
Home wasn't a set house, or a single town on a map. It was wherever the people who loved you were, whenever you were together.
Let me guess," Eli said, his voice that low, even timbre, as always. "Drinking from kegs also falls under outdoor activity."
I just looked at him, standing there in jeans and the same blue hoodie he'd had on the first time I met him. Maybe it was the embarrassment, which had been bad enough before I had an audience, but I was instantly annoyed. I said, "Are we outside?" He glanced round, as if needing to confirm this. "Nope." "Then no." I turned my attention back to the keg.
I mean, at first, it was kind of disappointing. But people recover from disappointment. Otherwise we'd all be hanging from nooses. Right?
But I saw Blake earlier and he said he and Nate were taking off for an overnight business thing. So..." "... you're just going to jump their fence and their pool," I finished for her. Silence. Then Jamie said, "It's twenty-five degrees! In December! Do you know what this means?" "The apocalypse?
Once I'm done with a book, I'm done! I'm just not a sequel kind of girl. By the time I've finished a book I've read it so many times that it's time to move on.
We can all be beautiful girls.
There comes a time in every life when the world gets quiet and the only thing left is your heart.
I wasn't very happy in high school: it was a confusing and sort of sad time for me.
As I rolled over, stretching out, my only thought was to go back to the dream I'd been having, which I couldn't remember, other than that it had been good, in that distant, hopeful way unreal things can be.
That was the thing: Once, the difference between light and dark had been basic. One was good, one bad. Suddenly, though, things weren't so clear. The dark was still a mystery, something hidden, something to be scared of, but I'd come to fear the light, too. It was where everything was revealed, or seemed to be. Eyes closed, I saw only the blackness, reminding me of this one thing, the most deep of my secrets; eyes open, there was only the world that didn't know it, bright, inescapable, and somehow, still there.
Adam picks up the camera "I have to get a shot of this." The reaction in the room was swift, and unanimous: every single person except me raised their hands at once to cover their faces. The accompanying utterances, though, were varied. I heard everything from "Please no" (Maggie), to "Jesus Christ" (Wallace), to "Stop it or die" (I'm assuming it's obvious).
All I wanted -- all I'd ever wanted -- was just to get away. To be somewhere small where I could crowd in and feel safe, all four walls pressed around me, no one staring or pointing or yelling.
Even if you do make tons of new friends," I told him, "try not to forget where you came from, okay?
So I learned another system: When in doubt, keep it out -- out of earshot, out of the house -- even if this meant, really, just keeping it in.
There is always the rest of the story, right? Even if you don't know right now what it is.
It's so easy to get caught up in what people expect of you. Sometimes, you can just lose yourself.
Remy: Did you really believe, that first day, that we were meant to be together?
Dexter: You're here, aren't you?
I just started to put texting and phones in my books. I want my books to be read 20 years from now; I don't want them to be dated.
We didn't talk about our scars, the ones you could see and the ones you couldn't.
But if something was really important, fate made sure it somehow came back to you and gave you another chance.
But it was too early to know: there were always more pages to go, more words to be written, before the story was over.
All I'd wanted for so long was for someone to explain everything that had happened to me in this same way. To label it neatly on a page: this leads to this leads to this.
Nothing like being scolded by a hippie.
My first signing was at my hometown independent bookstore and everyone in the world came. It was so nice. My family was there, my parents, everybody I worked with, all my friends. So I had this great first reading with a like hundred people there.
The truth was I knew, after all those flat January days, that I deserved better. I deserved I love yous and kiwi fruits and warriors coming to my door, besotted with love. I deserved pictures of my face in a thousand expressions, and the warmth of a baby's kick beneath my hand. I deserved to grow, and to change, to become all the girls I could be over the course of my life, each one better than the last.
There is never a time or place for true love. It happens accidentally, in a heartbeat, in a single flashing, throbbing moment.."
Watching him, I thought, not for the first time that night, that maybe it should have felt strange to be with him, here, now. And yet it didn't, at all. That was one of the things about the night. Stuff that would be weird in the bright light of day just wasn't so much once you passed a certain hour. It was like the dark just evened it all out somehow.
When I was a teen, I was never really into the captain of the football team or the student body president. The guys I liked were quirky and different: They listened to music I'd never heard of, never had lunch or gas money, and could always make you laugh.
You can't act like you care about someone but not let them care about you.
When I pictured myself, it was always like just an outline in a coloring book, with the inside not yet completed. All the standard features were there. but the colors, the zigzags and plaids, the bits and pieces that made up me, Halley, weren't yet in place. Scarlett's vibrant reds and golds helped some, but I was still waiting.
There's a real bonding in someone beating the crap out of you. -- Rolly.
Whenever something great happens, you're always kind of poised for the universe to correct itself.
He wasn't what I'd thought he was; maybe he never had been. I wasn't what I'd thought I was, either.
I mean, to me, freaking out is different. More of a running away, not telling anyone what's wrong, slowly simmering until you burst kind of thing.
Usually when I finish the draft of a book, I'm sure I'll never write another one. I'm just that tired and sick of myself. But then another idea starts percolating. It usually begins with the narrator's name, then some idea that intrigues me about her life or situation. I try to ignore it as long as I can, because I know when I start writing, I'll be right back into it, every single day. But eventually, I just have to. It's a compulsion!
Who would have thought that grieving an old relationship and enjoying a new one could happen simultaneously, in parallel? Yet another thing you only find out once it's happening to you.
Hey, think fast!' I just looked at Fave as he chucked the basketball at me with possibly the worst overhand throw I'd ever seen. It landed to my far right, then bounced past me, banging against my dad's truck. 'Do you have a vision problem of something?' I asked him. 'Just keeping you on your toes,' he replied.
Told you. Everything sounds better in the car wash.
It's all in the view. That's what I mean about forever, too. For any one of us our forever could end in an hour, or a hundred years from now. You never know for sure, so you'd better make every second count.
That was the thing. You never got used to it, the idea of someone being gone. Just when you think it's reconciled, accepted, someone points it out to you, and it just hits you all over again, that shocking.
All you could do was take on as much weight as you can bear. And if you're lucky, there's someone close enough by to shoulder the rest.
It's not always so simple, Haven. Sometimes there isn't a good guy and a bad guy. Sometimes even the ones you want to believe turn out to be liars.
Being brave and self-confident doesn't necessarily start inside...It starts with the rest of the world, and it leads back to you.
We'd start slow, the way we always did, because the run, and the game, could go on for awhile. Maybe even forever.
That was the thing. You just never knew. Forever was so many different things. It was always changing, it was what everything was really all about. It was twenty minutes, or a hundred years, or just this instant, or any instant I wished would last and last. But there was only one truth about forever that really mattered, and that was this: it was happening. Right then, as I ran with Wes into that bright sun, and every moment afterwards. Look, there. Now. Now. Now.
I was actually kind of a hot mess in high school. I did a lot of things in high school I'm not proud of. I wasn't a good student and I wasn't particularly a good daughter. I wasn't very engaged.
It's a lot easier to be lost than found.
It's a lot easier to be lost than found. It's the reason we're always searching and rarely discovered -- so many locks not enough keys.
I really just love to read, period, whether it be books or magazines or the back of the cereal box. It's the one thing I can always count on to calm me down, take me away and inspire me,
all at once.
The lizard stared up at us, and we stared back, taking each other in. He was little and defenseless, I felt sorry for him already. This was a screwed-up place he'd just come into. But he didn't have to know that. Not yet, anyway. There in that room, where it was hot and cramped, the world probably still seemed small enough to manage.
You know, when you think about it, that's kind of a weird thing. I mean it's meant to be sympathetic, right? But it's kind of not. Like you're telling the person there's nothing unique about what they're saying I considered this as a couple of kids on Rollerblades whizzed past, hockey sticks over their shoulders. "Yeah," I said, finally, "but you could also look at it the other way. Like no matter how bad things are for you, I can still relate.
What you have to decide... is how you want your life to be. If your forever was ending tomorrow, would this be how you'd want to have spent it? Listen, the truth is, nothing is guaranteed. You know that more than anybody. So dont be afraid. Be alive.
The future was one thing that could never be broken, because it had not yet had the chance to be anything.
I had this wild thought that he was the only one in all this chaos who was just like me, and that was comforting and profound all at once.
"Because the truth sometimes hurts," I said. "Yeah," he said. "So do lies, though."
I remembered Owen telling me how music had saved him in Phoenix, that it drowned everything out, and it was the same for me now. As long as I had something to listen to, I could blur the things I didn't want to think about, if not block them out completely.
That sucks, though," Wes said finally, his voice low. "You're just setting yourself up to fail, because you'll never get everything perfect." "Says who?" He just looked at me. "The world," he said, gesturing all around us, as if this party, this deck encompassed it all. "The universe. There's just no way. And why would you want everything to be perfect, anyway?" "I don't want everything to be perfect," I said. Just me, I thought. Somehow. "I just want--.
Restoring order of my personal universe suddenly seemed imperative, as I refolded my T-shirts, stuffed the toes of my shoes with tissue paper, and arranged all the bills in my secret stash box facing the same way, instead of tossed in sloppy and wild, as if by my evil twin. All week, I kept making lists and crossing things off them, ending each day with a sense of great accomplishment eclipsed only by complete and total exhaustion.
I just can't ever be a free spirit and just relax. When it comes to work, this is good. I'm very disciplined, which with writing is often half the battle, or more. But it also means that if I want to, say, play hooky and chocolate and watch Bravo all afternoon, I feel horribly guilty. I wish I could find a nice balance.
You don't want the best of times to be just one thing, forever. You have to have a lot of bests of times, each one topping the last. You know?
Because you have to just go with the flow. Your life is not your own, with people coming in and out all the time. You get mellow because you have to.
Editing is hard but nowhere NEAR as tough as facing that blank page and blinking cursor each day. You're all alone and no one else can do it. At least with editing you have someone in the trench with you.
I think if you're going to show a true representation of any one life, it can't be about any one thing. I try to see more of a full picture, with the romance just a single part.
It's gonna be okay," I said. It was the first time in a long time that I believed it. "It will."
What you do in your dreams is never your choice.
What you do in your dreams is never your choice. But it made me happy anyway.
Lissa lowered her voice and added, "I might not even go to school anyway. I might defer and join the Peace Corps and go to Africa and shave my head and dig latrines."
"Shave your head?" I said, because, really, this was the most ludicrous part of the whole thing. "You? Do you have any idea how ugly most people's bare heads are? They've got all kinds of bumps, Lissa. And you won't know until it's too late and you're flat-out bald.
As long as I didn't say it aloud, it wasn't real.
I don't think anyone would think that an ellipsis represents doubt or anything. I think it's more, you know, hinting at the future. What lies ahead.
It's never something huge that changes the everything, but instead the tiniest of details, irrevocably tweaking the balance of the universe while you're busy focusing on the big picture.
It's hard to be nice when the rest of the world is so mean.
What did it feel like, I wondered, to love someone that much? So much that you couldn't even control yourself when they came close, as if you might just break free of whatever was holding you and throw yourself at them with enough force to easily overwhelm you both.
Life is long. Just because you don't get your chance right when you want or expect it doesn't mean it won't come. Fate doesn't punch a time clock or consult a schedule.
Everything hurt. I closed my eyes, pressing my cheek to the street, and waited. What for, I didn't know. To be rescued. Or found. But no one came. All I'd ever thought I wanted was to be left alone. Until I was.
I'm really interested in the idea of anomynity and familiarity. And sunglasses, you know, are so indicatitve of that. I mean, they're worn by some people to hide themselves. But they're also a fashion statement, meant to be noticed. So there's a dichotomy there.
There were so many places in my time with Rogerson that I wished I could go back to, hitting the stop button at just one moment to stop everything that came after. I had so many If Onlys, but each place I thought to stop meant missing something that came later. I needed it all, in the end, to make my own story find its finish.
So," she went on, "it got me thinking about what cost beauty. Or for that matter, what cost anything? Would you trade love for beauty? Or happiness for beauty? Could a gorgeous person with a mean streak be a worthy trade? And if you did make the trade, decide you'd take that beautiful swan and hope it wouldn't turn on you, what would you do if it did?
It's the things you fight for and struggle with before earning that have the greatest worth.
Look at it this way: I might be saying you're fat, but at least I'm not punching you in the face.' Are those the only options?' Not always. Just sometimes.
Nate: "And," he said, "boys at twelve aren't exactly slick with the ladies." Ruby: "'Slick with the ladies'?" I said. "Are you twelve?"
Each time, I think I'm never going to write another book. It never gets easier.
He shook his head. "Some people think that they like music, but they have no idea what it's really about. They're kindding themselves. Then there are people who feel strongly about music, but just aren't listening to the right stuff. They're misguided. And then there are people like me."
"People like you," I said. "What kind of people are those?" "The kind who live for music and are constantly seeking it out, anywhere they can. Who can't imagine a life without it. They're enlightened.
But as I dropped my hand from my eyes to say this to Jamie, I realized I couldn't see him anymore. My view was blocked by my sister, who had moved to stand between us, one hand stretched out behind her, toward me.
You're not supposed to have it all figured out in high school. If you knew it all, and it was the best, it's all downhill from there.
She knew I could tell with one glance, one look, one simple instant. It was her eyes. Despite the thick makeup, they were still dark-rimmed., haunted, and sad. Most of all though, they were familiar. The fact that we were in front of hundreds of strangers changed nothing at all. I'd spent a summer with those same eyes-scared, lost, confused-staring back at me. I would have known them anywhere.
And guys don't get attached, guys don't give themselves over completely, and guys lie. That's why they should be handled with great trepidation, not trusted, and held at arm's length whenever possible.
I wasn't ready to think about the other yet: that it wasn't that I wasn't right for Macon, but that maybe he wasn't right for me. There was a difference. Even for someone who things didn't come easy for, someone like me.
It was like reaching for someone's hand, then missing their fingers, or even their arm, and hitting their shoulder instead. But no matter. You hang on tight anyway.
I was tired of hanging on, taking the torn pieces to make something whole with them.
Clearly, sharing something could take you a long way, or at least to a different place than you'd planned. Like a friendship or a family, or even jsut alone on a curb on a Saturday, trying to get your bearings as best you can.
Some things don't last forever, but some things do.
A life isn't just the pages you know, it's everything.
This is the problem with dealing with someone who is actually a good listener. They don't jump in on your sentences, saving you from actually finishing them, or talk over you, allowing what you do manage to get out to be lost or altered in transit. Instead, they wait, so you have to keep going.
And I wondered if, in the end, this is how all disputes are settled, with a shared silence as things become equal. You take something from me, I take something from you. We all want balance, one way or another.
Why don't you ever wait a second and see what I'm planning, or thinking, before you burst in with your opinions and ideas? You never even give me a chance.
I got back in my car, starting the engine, then drove off. It wasn't until I pulled onto the highway that it all really sunk it, how temporary our friendship had been. We'd been on our breaks, after all, but it wasn't our relationships that were on pause: it was us. Now we were both in motion again, moving ahead. So what if there were questions left unanswered. Life went on. We knew that better than anyone.
Monica's about sick, she's almost inconsolable.
Everything he feels, he feels strongly. Too strongly, sometimes. I think he freaks people out.
It's always very pure, that last moment before an ugly, unsettling truth hits someone. The most stark of before-and-afters.
So while it seemed like you were seeing everything, you really weren't. Just bits and pieces that looked like a whole.
I'm all about shrimpburgers, reading, and going to the beach.
We make such messes in this life, both accidently and on purpose. But wiping the surface clean doesn't really make anything any neater. It just masks what is below. It's only when you really dig down deep, go underground, that you can see who you really are.
I honestly don't have many creative outlets. I'm not crafty -- although motherhood has forced me to try to be -- and I can only draw trees, beaches, and clouds. I'm a so-so cook except for deviled eggs. Writing has always been the one thing I feel that I am pretty good at doing. But it's enough, thank goodness.
There are worse addictions than reality TV, chocolate and coffee.
So much had happened that morning. Yet it was this image, this moment, that i kept going back to hours later, after we'd made it safely to the walkway and gone our separate ways to classes. How it felt to have the world moving beneath me, a hand gripping mine, knowing if i fell, at least i wouldn't do it alone.
There's this other half of him I don't know of, it's like he is trying to keep it a secret... if he would just let me inside so I can help.
I drove off, with my friends watching me go, all of them grouped on Lissa's hood. As I pulled onto the road, I glanced into the rearview and saw them: they were waving, hands moving through the air, their voices loud, calling out after me. The square of that mirror was like a frame, holding this picture of them saying good-bye, pushing me forward, before shifting gently out of sight, inch by fluid inch, as I turned away.
Fine," he repeated, and I wondered why it was I kept coming back to this, again and again, a word that you said when someone asked how you were but didn't really care to know the truth.
But as long as something is never even started, you never have to worry about it ending. It has endless potential.
It was so quiet, I could hear my own breathing, loud in my ears. Outside, the ocean was crashing, waves hitting sand, then pulling back to sea. I thought of everything being washed away, again and again. We make such messes in this life, both accidentally and on purpose. But wiping the surface clean doesn't really make anything any neater. It just masks what is below. It's only when you really dig down deep, go underground, that you can see who you really are.
I hoped this was true. Even if it wasn‟t, all I could do was hand over what I could, with the hope of something in return. But of course, this was easier said than done.
Wake up, Caitlin, Mr. Lensing had said. But what he didn't understand was that this dreamland was preferable, walking through this life half-sleeping, everything at arm's length or farther away.
Maybe it was a stupid exercise, and you couldn't grow things in winter. But there was something I liked about he idea of those seeds, buried so deep, having at least a chance to emerge. Even if you couldn't see it beneath the surface, molecules were bonding, energy pushing up slowly, as something worked so hard, all alone, to grow.
Self respect, Colie. If you don't have it, the world will walk all over you.
But she wouldn't. I knew that already. My mother and I had an understanding: we worked together to be as much in control of our shared world as possible. I was suposed to be her other half, carrying my share of the weight. In the last few weeks, I'd tried to shed it, and doing so sent everything off kilter. So of course she would pull me tighter, keeping me in my place, because doing so meant she would always be sure, somehow, of her own.
Life's too short to worry about the little things. Enjoy what you have today, not what you might get tomorrow.
That's the thing about someone who rarely gets upset: when they do, you notice.
I'd learn that it's not just where you go, but how you choose to get there. So I pulled that sign off the green bike -- ENJOY YOUR RIDE! -- and went inside to take the first step toward doing just that.
The further you go, the more you have to be proud of. At the same time, in order to come a long way, you have to be behind to begin with. IN the end, though maybe it's not how you reach a place that matters. Just that you get there at all.
I was beginning to see, though, that the unknown wasn't always the greatest thing to fear. The people who know you best can be risker, because the words they say and things they think have the potential to be not only scary but true, as well.
Maybe" she said. "I just wish we'd have a little mishap.It would be reassuring.
If you expect the worst, you'll never be disappointed.
Life shouldn't be about the either or. We're capable of more than that, you know?
The basic fact is that no, this isn't ideal. Very few things are. Sometimes, you have to manufacture your own history. Give fate a push,so to speak.
I am coming to terms with the fact that loving someone requires a leap of faith, and that a soft landing is never guaranteed.
Even if you couldn't see it beneath the surface, molecules were bonding, energy pushing up slowly, as something worked do hare, all alone to grow.
And no relationship is perfect, ever. There are always some ways you have to bend, to compromise, to give something up in order to gain something greater.
Some things are meant to be broken. Imperfect. Chaotic.
I just stood there, looking at her. My head was spinning, my mouth dry, and all I could think about was that I wanted to go someplace safe, someplace I could be alone and okay, and that this was impossible. My old life had changed and my new one was still in progress, altering by the second. There was nothing, nothing to depend on. And why was I surprised?
Her life was perfect. But as was often the case, the rest of us were still adjusting.
The language of solace, and comets, and the girls we all become, in the end.
Look," he said, "the point is there's no way to be a hundred percent sure about anyone or anything. So you're left with a choice. Either hope for the best, or just expect the worst."
If you expect the worst, you're never disappointed," I pointed out. Yeah, but who lives like that?
But what he didn't understand was that this dreamland was preferable,walking through this life half-sleeping,everything at arm's length or farther away.
I understood those mermaids.I didn't care if they sang to me.All I wanted was to block out all the human voices as they called me name again and again,pulling me upward into light,to drown.
This Lullaby is only a few words, a simple run of chords, quiet here in this spare room, but you can hear it, hear it, wherever you may go, even if I let you down, this lullaby plays on.
The first thing I did when I got inside was turn on the kitchen light. Then I moved to the table, putting my dad's iPod on the speaker dock, and a Bob Dylan song came on, the notes familiar. I went into the living room, hitting the switch there, then down the hallway to my room, where I did the same. It was amazing what a little noise and brightness could do to a house and a life, how much the smallest bit of each could change everything. After all these years of just passing through, I was beginning to finally feel at home.
Relationships dont always make sense. Especially from the outside.
I knew I had to keep him to myself, as I'd slowly begun to keep everything. We had secrets now, truths and half-truths, that kept her always at arm's length, behind a closed door, miles away.
So say I'm your mom.' 'What?' I said. 'I'm your mom,' he repeated. 'Now tell me you want to quit modeling.' I could feel myself blushing. 'I can't do that,' I said. 'Why not?' he asked. 'Is it so hard to believe? You think I'm not a good role-player?' 'No,' I said. 'It's just -- ' 'Because I am. Everyone wanted me to be their mother in group.' I just looked at him. 'I just… It's weird.' 'No, it's hard. But not impossible. Just try it.' A week earlier, I hadn't even known what color his eyes were. Now, we were family. At least temporarily.
Oh for God's sake,' Heather said, 'I wish you two would just go out, fail miserably as a couple, and get it over with.
Teenagers are a great audience and they are fearless about asking what they want to know.
We had just heard that story recounted so many times over the years that it was easy to take the details and fold them into our own sparse memories.
I paused, only just now realizing that the subject was hitting a little close to home. "You know, getting hurt. Putting herself out there, opening up to someone." Yeah," he said adding some cheese straws to the cart, "but risk is just part of relationships. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't." I picked up a box of cheese straws, examining it. "Yeah," I said. "But it's not all about chance, either.
Love is so unpredictable. Sometimes you'll know a man for years and then one day, boom! Suddenly you see him in a different way. And other times, it's that first date, that first moment. That's what makes it so great.
He's getting dumped. And he doesn't even know it yet. He's probably eating a cheeseburger or flossing or picking up his dry cleaning, and he has no idea. No inkling.
I think I'm way too much of a control freak to co-author anything with anyone. I have a hard enough time writing with myself! I admire people that can do it, but it's not for me.
She bought seeds and raided nurseries and mulched and composted and spent full days with her hands full of earth, coaxing life our of the dry, dull grass my father had spent years pushing a mower over.
Funny how a beautiful song could tell such a sad story.
Fifteen minutes later, a meeting was called. "Okay, look." Deb's face was dead serious. "I know I just joined this project, and I don't want to offend anyone. But I'm going to be honest. I think you've been going about this all wrong." "I'm offended," Dave told her flatly.
I'm sorry," I heard him say again. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a sudden blur of movement as he slid out of his seat, left some bills for the breakfast he wouldn't eat, and walked away. And as he did, I thought again of those mornings in the hallway at school, way back in ninth grade. Everything had started in such sharp detail, each aspect pronounced and clear. Obviously, endings were different. Harder to see, full of shapes that could be one thing or another, with all the things that you were once so sure of suddenly not familiar, if they were even recognizable at all.
Okay," he said. He took a breath. "What would you do, if you could do anything?" I took a step toward him, closing the space between us. "This." I said. And then I kissed him.
It wasn't like I was some expert on the meaning of being supportive. Was it being loyal even against your better judgement? Or, like Olivia, was it making your displeasure known from the start, even when someone didn't want to hear it?
Love can make up for a lot.
Accepting all the good and bad about someone. It's a great thing to aspire to. The hard part is actually doing it.
Anyone who attempts is not a failure.
Silence is so freaking loud.
But unfriendly is usually one of those things you pick up on right away. You know, like B.O. There's no hiding it if it's there.
What must it be like to be so genuine, so fragile, your entire world of thoughts so easy to read on your face? I couldn't even imagine.
How weird was it that so many bits and pieces, all diverse, could make something whole. Something with potential. 'Perfect.'
It was so risky and so scary, and yet at the same time, so beautiful. Maybe the truth was, it shouldn't be easy to be amazing. Then everything would be. It's the things you fight for and struggle with before earning that have the greatest worth. When something's difficult to come by, you'll do that much more to make sure it's even harder -if not impossible- to lose.
One word could change the whole world.
What you need, what you deserve, is a guy who adores you for what you are. Who doesn't see you as a project, but a prize. you know?
Very quietly, I heard a voice in my ear.It said, in a weird, cheesy, right-out-of-one-of-my-mother's-novels way, "Ah. Wemeet again." I turned my head, just slightly, and right there, practically on top of me, was theguy from the car dealership. He was wearing a red Mountain Fresh Detergent T-shirt -- not just fresh: mountain fresh! -- it proclaimed, and was smiling at me. "Oh,God," I said. "No, it's Dexter.
I knew, in the silence that followed, that anything could happen here. It might be too late: again, I might have missed my chance. But I would at least know I tried, that I took my heart and extended my hand, whatever the outcome.
"Okay," he said. He took a breath. "What would you do, if you could do anything?" I took a step toward him, closing the space between us. "This," I said. And then I kissed him.
Like a blinking cursor on an empty page, it was just the first thing. The beginning of the beginning. But at least it was done.
If June was the beginning of a hopeful summer, and July the juice middle, August was suddenly feeling like the bitter end.
Sure, there was no guarantee any of these things would actually happen as he envisioned. But maybe that wasn‟t the point.It was the planning that counted, whether it ever came to fruition or not.
May you always have the answers to each other's most important questions.
Life is full of screwups. You're supposed to fail sometimes. It's a required part of the human existance.
Life is full of screwups," he said, chucking another paper at the split-level before taking the corner. "You're supposed to fail sometimes. It's a required part of the human existence.
I can't sit and twiddle my thumbs. I have to start writing even if it's miserable some days.
Lifestyle is an terrible, unpleasant put to not have a very finest buddy.
Are those the only options? Nothing or forever?
I took in a breath. "What's the one thing you'd do," I asked. "if you could do anything?" Pass," he said. For a second I was sure I'd heard wrong. "What?" He cleared his throat. "I said, I pass." Why?" He turned his head and looked at me. "Because." Because why?" Because I just do.
In my group of friends, I was always the one who remembered everything. The stories, the boys my friends and I dated, all the details. So I think a part of me was always filing them away, although at the time I wasn't sure why.
It's funny how two people can grow up in the same town, go to the same school, have the same friends, and end up so totally different. Family, or lack of it, counts for more than you'd think.
But something, somehow, had made all these paths converge. You couldn't find it on a checklist, or work it into the equation. It just happened.
There's just something obvious about emptiness, even when you try to convince yourself otherwise.
You know, when it works, love is pretty amazing. It's not overrated. There's a reason for all those songs.
These were always the weirdest trips for me, when it was midnight or even later, and we pulled up to a dark house, trying to be quiet. Like a robbery in reverse, creeping around to leave something rather than take it.
Looking at her, I thought again how beautiful she was -- even in jeans and a T-shirt, no makeup, she was breathtaking. So much so that it was hard to believe she could ever have looked at herself and seen anything else.
Don't give me no rotten tomato, 'cause all I ever wanted was your sweet potato.
I've always written in first person. It gives the readers more insight.
In a way, I was almost happy to see her. The worst part of me, out in the flesh. Blinking back at me in the dim light, daring me to call her a name other than my own.
Sorry? For what, Mom?"
She looked at me, eyes widening, "For not protecting you," she said. All this time I'd been the one with everything to hide, everything to be ashamed of. It hadn't even occurred to me that someone else might think to take the blame. "I should have known what was happening. I should have known just by looking at you.
In Anger Management,' he said,'we had to do all this role-playing stuff. You know, to get used to handling things in a less volatile way.' 'You role-played,' I said, trying to picture this. 'I had to. It was court-ordered.
Love is needing someone. Love is putting up with someone's bad qualities because they somehow complete you.
I think as a writer one of the benefits is that you can put things that you're interested in into your books. I always have put a lot of food and restaurants because I was a waitress and I love to eat.
Sometimes, you have to manufacture your own history. Give fate a push, so to speak.
But it's important to acknowledge that while we may make mistakes, in the long run, we may also learn from them.
The fate of your heart is your choice and no one else gets a vote.
You could just tell when a person belonged somewhere. That is something you can't fake, no matter how hard you try.
But when you're alone in the world, really alone, you have no choice but to be open to suggestions.
Once she'd loved my filet mignon, my carnivore inklings, but now she was a vegan princess, living off of beans. She'd given up the cheese and bacon, sworn off Burger King, and when I wouldn't do the same she gave me back my ring. I stood there by the romaine lettuce, feeling my heart pine. Wishing that this meatless beauty still would be all mine. She turned around to go to checkout, fifteen items or less. And I knew this was the last go-round, so this is what I said. ... "Don't you ever give me no rotten tomato, 'cause all I ever wanted was your sweet potato.
An empty frame, in which the picture is always changing, makes a statement about how time is always passing. It doesn't really stop, even in a single image. I t just feels that way.
I realized how truly hard it was, really, to see someone you love change right before your eyes. Not only is it scary, it throws your balance off as well.
I would miss Colby, but it wasn't going anywhere. All the more reason why I should.
In the end, though, maybe it's not how you reach a place that matters. Just that you get there at all.
See," he began, leaning back into the booth, "I was at this car dealership today, and I saw this girl. It was an across-a-crowded-room kind of thing. A real moment, you know?" I rolled my eyes. Chloe said, "And this would be Remy?" "Right. Remy," he said, repeating my name with a smile. Then, as if we were happy honeymooners recounting our story for strangers he added, "Do you want to tell the next part?" "No," I said flatly.
I don't live in New York or California. I'm in the grocery store, at the park with my kids, and I'm a normal person. I'm feeding my chickens and agonizing about my next book!
Okay. Enough." I got out of the closet, brushing myself off, then turned around to face her. "This is happening. So you need to go downstairs, face your fears, and make the best of it, and everything will be okay." She narrowed her eyes at me. "When did you suddenly become so positive?" "Just get out of there.
When you had to do something, you had to do it. And eventually, if you were lucky, you did it well.
Norman picked up a sketch, glanced at it, then put it back down on the table. "I saw Bea Williamson this morning," he said in a low voice. "Lurking about looking for cut glass."
"Oh, of course," Mira said with a sigh. "Did she have it with her?" Norman nodded solemnly. "Yep. I swear, I think it's almost gotten ... bigger." Mira shook her head. "Not possible." "I'm serious," Norman said. "It's way big." I kept waiting for someone to expand on this, but since neither of them seemed about to, I asked, "What are you talking about?" They looked at each other. Then, Mira took a breath. "Bea Williamson's baby," she said quietly, as if someone could hear us, "has the biggest head you have ever seen." Norman nodded, seconding this. "A baby?" I said. "A big-headed baby," Mira corrected me. "You should see the cranium on this kid. It's mind-boggling.
The worst thing you can do if you miss or need someone is let them know it.
Like I, of all people, didn't know better than to lead a total stranger to the point where they could hurt me most, knowing how easily they'd be able to find their way back to it.
Only a weak person needed someone else around all the time.
This was our common ground, the secret we shared but never spoke aloud.
This was our common ground, the secret we shared but never spoke aloud. I should have been with him; she should have left him alone. Shoulda, coulda, woulda. It's so easy in the past tense.
There was only so much space between us, not even a real distance if measured in miles or feet or even inches, all the things that told you how far you'd come or had left to go. But it was a big space, if only for me. And as I moved forward to him covering it, he waited there on the other side. It was only the last little bit I has to go, but in the end, I knew it would be all I would truly remember. So as I kissed him, bringing this summer and everything else full circle, I let myself fall, and was not scared of the ground I knew would rise up to meet me.
Wherever you will go,
I will let you down, But this lullaby goes on.
It's always been hard to call myself a writer. I think a part of me still thinks it's too good to be true.
I walked over, my eyes scanning Luna Blu, my house, and Dave's. But it was the building behind them, that empty hotel, that had the tiniest light, provided by one word, written in fluorescent paint. Maybe it wasn't what was once there, in real life. But in this one, it said it all: STAY.
When he first put his arms around me, it was tentative, like maybe he expected I'd pull away. When I didn't, he moved in closer, his hands smoothing over my shoulders, and in my mind I saw myself retreating a million times when people tried to do this same thing: my sister or my mother, pulling back and into myself, tucking everything out of sight, where only I knew where to find it. This time, though, I gave in. I let Wes pull me against him, pressing my head against his chest, where I could feel his heart beating, steady and true.
Sitting there, watching my sister, I wondered which was harder, in the end. The act of telling, or who you told it to. Or maybe if, when you finally got itout, the story was really all that mattered.
Because a song can take you back instantly to a moment, or a place, or even a person. no matter what else has changed in you or the world, that one song stays the same, just like that moment.
Apologies come in all shapes and sizes. You can give diamonds, candy, flowers, or just your deepest heartfelt sentiment.
As impossible, in fact, as keeping the moon... So I looked down the line at all my friends, knowing I would always remember this. And then I turned my gaze back up to the sky, and put my faith in that moon and its return.
For as long as I could remember, other people had either overshadowed me or left me out in the open, alone. But Mac, as Layla had said all those weeks ago, was always somewhere nearby. He left me enough space to stand alone, but stood at the ready for the moment that I didn't want to. It was the perfect medium, I was learning. Like he was my saint, the one I'd been waiting for.
I listened for the voice I knew so well, the one I always heard at the beginning. Good girl, Macy! You're doing great! You know the first steps are the hardest part! They were. Sometimes I felt so out of sync, it was all could do not to quit after a few strides. But I kept on, as I did now. I had to, to get to the next part, this part, where I finally caught up with Wes, my shadow aligning itself with his, an dhe turned to look at me, pushing his hair our of his eyes.
I hoped that Grace would be a little bit of the best of all of us: Scarlett's spirit, and my mother's strength, Marion's determination, and Michael's sly humor. I wasn't sure what I could give, not just yet. But I would know when I told her about the comet, years from now, I would know. And I would lean close to her ear, saying the words no one else could hear, explaining it all. The language of solace and comets, and the girls we all become, in the end.
The choices you make now, the people you surround yourself with, they all have the potential to affect your life, even who you are, forever.
Because it is so hard, in any life, to believe in what you can't fully understand.
We laughed ourselves silly, taking back our shared past, gently, piece by piece.
On the whole, I think I spent a lot of high school just trying to stay under the radar: I don't think I was all that memorable.
Just wait a second. We can't leave it like this." But this too, wasn't true. Leaving was easy. It was everything else that was so damned hard.
But I'd long ago learned not to be picky in farewells. They weren't guaranteed or promised. You were lucky, more than blessed, if you got a good-bye at all.
I'd been convinced I was on the outside, but really, I'd always been within arm's reach. All I had to do was ask, and I, too, would be easily brought back, surrounded and immersed, finding myself safe, somewhere in between.
Then what are you like, Annabel?" he shot back. "A liar, like you told me that first day? Come on. That was the biggest lie of all.
Maybe if I'd agreed to do the debutante thing like she wanted. Or taken up pageants instead of riding jump bikes with a bunch of grungy boys. I'd always tell her, why can't I do both? Who says you have to be either smart or pretty, or into girly stuff or sports? Life shouldn't be about the either or. We're capable of more than that, you know?
It was always late at night, when everything and everyone else was quiet, that those voices would rise like ghosts, soft and haunting, filling your mind until sleep finally came.
Just like that, with one phone call, she was a daughter again.
But there was only one truth about forever that really mattered, and that was this: it was happening.
The specifics of what, exactly, these terms meant were never explained; as with any fantasy, vagueness was part of the appeal.
I just thought to my self, all of a sudden, that we had something in common. A natural chemistry, if you will. And I had a feeling that something big was going to happen. To both of us. That we were, in fact, meant to be together.
As Isabel acted out her date, both of them laughing, I stayed in the kitchen, out of sight, and pretended she was telling me, too. And that, for once, I was part of this hidden language of laughter and silliness and girls that was, somehow, friendship.
Sorry!' Dave's friend yelled when he saw me. 'That was my-' But i wasn't listening as,instead,i took every bit of the anger and stress of the last few minutes and days put it behind the ball, throwing it overhead at the basket as hard as i could. It went flying, hitting the backboard and banging through the netless hoop at full speed before shooting back out and nailing Dave Wade squarely on the forehead. And just like that, he was down.
I love YA, and it's been a really good fit for me. But at some point, I would like to try something else: a collection of short stories, or writing about something other than high school. A
lot has happened to me since I was eighteen.
Well, it's New Year's now but I don't feel that way anymore. I wonder if you do either. Something's happening to me. It's like I'm shrinking smaller and smaller and I can't stp it. There's just os much wrong that I can't imagine the shame in admitting even the tiniest part of it. When you left it was like there was this huge gap to fill, but instead of spreading wide enough to do it I just fell right in, and I'm still falling. Like I'm half-asleep, and I can't wake up, can't wake up.
Life is an awful, ugly place to not have a best friend.
Forever was so many different things. It was always changing, it was what everything was really about. It was twenty minutes, or a hundred years, or just this instant, or any instant I wished would last and last. But there was only one truth about forever that really mattered, and that was this: it was happening.
Yeah. I mean, acknowledging is easy. Something happened or it didn't. But understanding... that's where things get sticky.
Just me and the future, finally together. Now there was a happy ending I could believe in.
Sometimes it seems safer to hold it all in, where the only person who can judge is yourself.
You know, I think I knew you for about three weeks before I ever really saw you smile. And then one day, Morgan said something and you laughed, and I remember thinking it was really cool because it meant something. You're not the kind of person who smiles for nothing, Colie. I have to earn every one.
This is a 911? You know you only text that when someone is dead or dying. You scared the crap out of me.
I hadn't said goodbye. It had been easier, like always, to just disappear, sparing myself the messy details of another farewell. Now, my fingers hovered over my track pad, moving the cursor down to his comment section before I stopped myself. What was the point? Anything I said now would only be an afterthought.
Elizabeth who goes by her middle name.
Odd how it was so easy for a stranger to assume such familiarity. Especially when those who were supposed to know you best often didn't, not at all.
I always wished I could move around and switch schools. It was hard to have these radical transformations. You'd think, 'I will be a totally different person tomorrow,' but it never worked.
When you have a kid, you sign on for the whole package: good, bad, everything in between. you can't just dip in and out, picking and choosing the parts you want and quitting when it's not perfect.
Music is a total constant. That's why we have such a strong visceral connection to it, you know? Because a song can take you back instantly to a moment, or a place, or even a person. No matter what else has changed in your or the world, that one song says the same, just like that moment.
Yes, it sucked getting dumped. But wasn't it better to just be brutally honest? To admit that your feeling for someone is never going to be powerful enough to justify taking up any more of their time? I was doing him a favor, really. Freeing him up for a better opportunity. In fact, I was a practically a saint, if you really thought about it. Exactly.
And that was as far as he got before i heard it. The thumping of footsteps, running up the lawn toward me: It seemed like I could hear it through the grass, like leaning your ear to a railroad track and feeling the train coming, miles away. As the noise got closer I could hear ragged breaths, and then a voice. It was my mother.
If something doesn't work exactly right, or maybe needs some special treatment, you don't just throw it away. Everything can't be fully operational all the time. Sometimes, we need to have the patience to give something the little nudge it needs.
I hated high school. I was not the greatest student, participated in no activities, and spent most of my time hanging out in my parking lot.
Because if you were the problem, chances were you could also be the solution. The only way to find out was to take another shot.
Grieving doesn't make you imperfect. It makes you human.
That was the hard thing about grief, and the grieving. They spoke another language, and the words we knew always fell short of what we wanted them to say.
My point is, there are a lot of people in the world. No one ever sees everything the same way you do; it just doesn't happen. So when you find one person who gets a couple of things, especially if they're important ones... you might as well hold on to them. You know?
Morris was not the type to offer a hug or even hold your hand. But there was something in his quiet indignation at the universe then -- and Luke, now -- that was just the kind of comfort I needed. "I'm such a mess," I said. "We're almost off the island and I didn't even ask you where you were going." He shrugged. "No place. Wherever you are.
The girl in the tight black dress was passing by us now, eyeing Wes and walking entirely too slowly. "Hi," she said, and he nodded at her but didn't reply. Knew it, I thought.
Honestly," I said. What?" Come on. You have to admit, it's sort of ridiculous." What is?" Now that I had to define it, I found myself struggling for the right words. "You know," I said, then figured Kristy had really summed it up best. "The sa-woon." The what?
"You want me to give her a key?" the guy asked.
"I want you to give her a possibility," she told him, looking at my necklace again. "And that's what a key represents. An open door, a chance. You know?"
He was not my boyfriend. On the other hand, he wasn't just a friend either. Instead, our relationship was elastic, stretching between those two extremes depending on who else was around, how much either of us had to drink, and other varying factors. This was exactly what I wanted, as commitments had never really been my thing. And it wasn't like it was hard, either. The only trick was never giving more than you were willing to lose.
The true story...is the realization that no time in your life is ever perfect, that even the best memories have cracks you might not see.
As for me, I was just trying to get it right, whatever that means. But now I finally felt I was on my way. Everyone had a forever, but given a choice, this would be mine. The one that began in this moment, with Wes, in a kiss that took my breath away, then gave it back -- leaving meastounded, amazed and most of all, alive.