In a way fighting like this was just like using magic. You said the words, and they altered the universe. By merely speaking you could create damage and pain, cause tears to fall, drive people away, make yourself feel better, make your life worse.
Luca strode briskly away, a man escaping the dreaded front-door good-bye ritual.
Jo watched him go. A terrible feeling of emptiness came over her. Now she understood what “being on your own” meant. Not being on your own as in paying bills or raising children by yourself, but being on your own because the man you hoped would take you in his arms is walking away. I’d rather be alone with the bills, she thought as she pushed the elevator button. At least you know where you stand.
He thought women were every bit as intelligent as men, every bit as capable of figuring out how long it would take for train A to crash into train B if the two were moving toward each other at an average speed of C. They were as capable of rational thought; they just didn’t appear to be as interested in it. They were happy to apply rational argument to defend what they already believed but unlikely to be swayed by it, not if it conflicted with inclination or, worse, intuition, not if it undercut a cherished opinion or nettled their self-esteem. So many times, when Nate had been arguing with a woman, a point was reached when it became clear that no argument would alter her thinking. Her position was one she “felt” to be true; it was, as a result, impermeable.
The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. by Adelle Waldman
It was really interesting to read this “modern young man” perspective… and a little scary to hear that people have been saying it’s pretty accurate.
You spend your childhood watching TV, assuming that at some point in the future everything you see there will one day happen to you: that you too will win a Formula One race, hop a train, foil a group of terrorists, tell someone ‘Give me the gun’, etc. Then you start secondary school, and suddenly everyone’s asking you about your career plans and your long-term goals, and by goals they don’t mean the kind you are planning to score in the FA Cup. Gradually the awful truth dawns on you: that Santa Claus was just the tip of the iceberg - that your future will not be the rollercoaster ride you’d imagined, that the world occupied by your parents, the world of washing dishes, going to the dentist, weekend trips to the DIY superstore to buy floor-tiles, is actually largely what people mean when they speak of ‘life’. Now, with every day that passes, another door seems to close, the one marked PROFESSIONAL STUNTMAN, or FIGHT EVIL ROBOT, until as the weeks go by and the doors—GET BITTEN BY SNAKE, SAVE WORLD FROM ASTEROID, DISMANTLE BOMB WITH SECONDS TO SPARE—keep closing, you begin to hear the sound as a good thing, and start closing some yourself, even ones that didn’t necessarily need to be closed …
My father’s German friend, Mr. Buch, once told me I looked Turkish in profile. The comment had delighted me; I liked thinking I looked like someone from another place. I was careful not to let on, lest Sam think me vain. You were supposed to be pretty, you were supposed to be beautiful, but you were not supposed to care.
The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton DiSclafani
…she realized that there were parts of her body she’d never met, and he was introducing her to them, which felt chivalrous and empowering and like she’d been sitting in a dark room for her entire life, and now she was naked on a beach in Mallorca and maybe there was a God after all.
Sometimes writing is running downhill, your fingers jerking behind you on the keyboard the way your legs do when they can’t quite keep up with gravity.
Cath fell and fell, leaving a trail of messy words and bad similes behind her.
"…you and I and everyone we know, we were just a little too young to actually see it up close. My Lai, all that horrible tragedy. We sort of fell between the cracks."
“Yes.” It had hardly occurred to Jules to think about what it might be like not to have fallen between the cracks in the way he described. She hadn’t known what it might feel like to be inside real drama. To do something important. To be brave. What an imponderable thought: bravery.
There was a single Us now, reviling a single Them. Would the old bigotries be reborn as well, when they cleared out this Zone, and the next, and so on, and they were packed together again, tight and suffocating on top of each other? Or was that particular bramble of animosities, fears, and envies impossible to recreate? If they could bring back paperwork, Mark Spitz thought, they could certainly reanimate prejudice, parking tickets, and reruns.
There were plenty of things in the world that deserved to stay dead, yet they walked.