- When I lost her it felt like I was drowning in all the love I had yet to give. It choked me like a rag doused in kerosene, spilled out in screams and tears and in heavy, pulsing silence. Though as much as I hurt, I knew it was much worse for my dad.
- In a way, my dad was always easy to understand. He was straightforward and quiet: he walked quietly, spoke quietly: even his anger was quiet. It was his love that was booming. His love was a roaring, vociferous bellow. And after he loved Mom with the strength of the sun, and after the cancer killed her with a gentle grasp, I figured he would be hoarse for the rest of his life and wouldn't ever want another woman the way he'd wanted her.
- Relief and anguish pulsed heavily in my blood. I've wanted to see him every day. But also, I'd never want to see him again.
- I feel like I've torn open some stitches overnight. Everything inside is raw-as if I've bruised an emotional organ.
- My father knew I couldn't possibly be capable of thinking about her more. And he wouldn't try to help me think of her less either. It wouldn't help. Just like holding your breath doesn't change your body's need for oxygen.
- I think of her everywhere. She is everywhere, in every moment, and also she's in no one moment. She misses every single one of my moments and I'm not sure who that is harder for: me surviving here without her, or her without me, existing wherever she is.
- "I hate being sad in front of him because it's like he has this giant vault of sadness already and then he has to lock that all up just to take care of me. And when I think about it, I still have him, but he lost his whole world. Mom was the person he chose out of everyone, and now she's gone. I don't know. I think he doesn't like to see me cry. But it was good to talk about her. I'm scared I'll forget her. I miss her so much I need a new language for it."
- "And then she was gone, I didn't really feel like going to sleepovers and talking about boys. It's kind of like they all grew up while I put myself back together."
- I wonder how many times he could tell me he loved me before I melted into a puddle at his feet.
- "Treat your body carefully. Take care of it. Don't let anyone abuse it, and don't abuse it yourself. Every inch of your skin I made diligently, months I slaved over you. You are my masterpiece."
- 131 - It's a perfect description. I never got to fall out of love. I just had to move on.
- 132 - He only had to see me to know, whereas I can barely trust a single feeling I have.
- "I like your kind of quiet. Your heart isn't quiet."
- 146 - He stared out at the ocean for a few breaths before saying, 'Cynosure. It's a focal point of admiration.'
- 147 - It seemed to travel with her, to sweep her aloft in the power of song, so that she was moving in glory among the stars, and for a moment she, too, felt that the words Darkness and Light had no meaning, and only this melody was real.
- 155 - I never felt that way about me and Dad. We loved each other, of course, but without Mom we were both sort of lost, arms out-stretched as we tried to fumble through each day.
- 156 - How would my life be different if Dad had been home more when I was little? How would it have been different if he died when I was ten, not Mom? I feel sick at the thought, as if I've just wished for some alternate reality that would kill my father first.
- 164+part of 165 - But something irreparable has happened in my heart. This shaking of my conviction started with the sex I could barely have with Sean the other morning, and it continued ripping down the middle today with the two of them here. I know Sabrina notices the looks Elliot and I can't seem to stop sharing. Maybe she notices, too, the way Sean and I barely interact
- 165 - ...nothing else feels all that significant. It's as if life was just on hold, but not really living. Is that awful, or fantastic? I have no idea.
- Seeing him only on weekends and during the summers made it feel like I was watching a time-lapse video of a tree growing, a flower blooming, a field sprouting across the year.
- It's the smile that says, I know we've known each other forever, but it still means the world to me that you included me here. How he does that with a simple curve of his lips and eye contact, I'll never know.
- "You're in Berkeley and we're not together and I'm in this tiny Podunk town. Who else and I supposed to kiss? Something shifted in that exact moment, something that would never shift back. Who else am I supposed to kiss?
- "No, it's just..." I hesitated, my mouth sudden;y crammed with words that I didn't want to be thinking, let alone say out loud. "Doing that might not mean anything to Emma," I said, touching my lips where they tingled. "But it means everything to me."
- His tone is so offhand, so uninterested, I wanted to crack him in the forehead with the empty jar. I want to beg him to meet me halfway... Irritation with him prickles at my skin like an itch. "Try not to sound so enthusiastic."
- I'm terrified of what I'm feeling; I feel like I've just woken up. I thought I didn't want intensity, but in fact, I'm desperate for it.
- This was heading to admissions, and admissions changed things. Admissions make feelings intensify simply because they are given space to breathe, Admissions lead to love, and admitting love is like tying yourself to a train track.
- "When Elliot walked up to us... I swear that was the first time I'd seen you smile like that- with your entire body-and it made me question everything about your personality before then."
- But I feel his presence almost constantly, and no matter how much I want to talk myself out of it, I know the gentle hum of relief in my thoughts is because of him.
- The nostalgia of Tilden seems to mix with the nostalgia of Elliot and forms a potent brew in my blood, tearing through me. Even though he and I have never been here together it feels like we have. It feels like he's a part of my nuclei, entwined with my DNA.
- ..."So Venus was born of the sea with this little kernel of salty honey in her, which only caresses could bring out of the darker recesses of her body."
- It was a level of thinking I didn't really have the capacity or experience to articulate, but something about it felt familiar, in an ancient kind of way.
- I'm in a mental place where I know I'm doing Good but it just doesn't feel like it...
- "...Apparently I'm also mostly dead inside and not really great with expressing the emotions."
- If I overthought it, I would ruin it.
- He was so quiet, although I guess I was quiet, too, because I was listening so intently for any clue as to what he was thinking.
- 269 - The soul should always stand ajar.
- 270 - When he moves away, shutting the door behind me, the smile I see on his face could power a small city.
- "Macy, you know that I would make time any day for you. Any sliver of time I have is yours."
- "We've always felt this way. I'm here. You're there. Just like before, we still belong to each other."
- No, just silently melting at the sight of you.
- It's not just that it's a wedding-though I always cry at weddings. It's the song, it's the setting, it's being back in the arms of the people I love most in the whole world. It's not feeling alone for the first time in as long as I can remember
- It's been hours since I thought of my ex-fiance, but seeing Elliot now-at the altar and in his tux-makes me realize how monumentally wrong everything felt with Sean. How wrong it would feel with anyone but Elliot
- "You should worship me," I told him. He looked at me over the rims of his glasses, brows raised, "I do." I grinned, "Or be my slave." "I would." He closed the book, leaning his elbows on his long thighs, "I am." I had his full attention now.
- His kiss is an aching prayer; devotion pours from him. He sucks my bottom lip, my top, tilting his head for more, and deeper, before I pull back, reminding him with a tiny flicker of my eyes where we are and just how many people have noticed.
- "You're both young, but... if he is that person for you," Dad continued, "you won't be able to just be friends. You'll want to give him everything, to show him every way you love him."
- "I thought I would never touch you again." "I thought that too." He bites his lower lip, eyes wide. "I'll take anything you give me. Is that pathetic?"
- He groans as he sinks in, and the sound hits me somewhere ancient and savage.
- "I've loved you my whole life," Elliot continues, his lips moving against my collarbone. Slowly I open my eyes, and he looks up at me. "At least from the minute I ever thought about love, and sex, and women." ... He smiles, and the moonlight watched the sharp angle of his jaw. "I've never wanted anyone the way I want you. It took a long time before I wanted anyone else, physically, at all."
Page 374 + 375
- 374 - I haven't felt this way in so long. Or maybe I never felt this particular emotion: I want to cry.
- 375 - "What is it, Mace?" "I miss you," I tell him. "I wasn't ready. I still needed you." He would get it, now. "I miss you, too. I needed you, too." "Are you hurt? Are you lonely?" I swipe an arm across my nose. "Are you with Mom?" "Macy." I close my eyes, feeling more tears slide across my temples and into my hair. "Does she remember me?" "Macy." "Do either of you remember you had a daughter?" I;m not myself, I know I'm not, but I'm not embarrassed to be found like this, either, especially not by Dad. At least this way he'll see how loved he was.
- 382 - I've heard many people say that they don't remember what happened immediately after being told of the death of a loved one, but I remember everything. I remember, acutely, the way my broken arm hung like a sack of bones at my side. I remember the feeling of wanting to claw my skin off, of wanting to run, because running would somehow undo what the paramedics told me.
- 383 - I have an idea: We can start over. Let's go back in the car, go back to the house. I just need a second to think. We'll stay there tonight. Or, no, let's go back further. I won't forget to call in the first place. I want to go back to that other heartbreak, not this one. Today wasn't a good day to drive. If we drive today, I lose everyone. If we drive today, I won't be a daughter anymore.
- I picked at my cuticles until they bled. I cut off my hair with kitchen shears. I woke up at noon and counted the minutes until I could go back to bed.
- Elliot kisses me once, and then ducks, kissing my chest over my heart. "I've been waiting for you to come home for eleven years. I'll go anywhere you go."
- 402 - We aren't even dancing; we're just swaying in place again, like we did at the wedding. But tonight, we have no secrets remaining, and no scary conversations looming. The past decade seems like a foggy blur, like we took a long road trip from one point of the earth and back again, traveling in a wide circle, destined to end up here.
- 403 - "Favorite word?" he whispers. I didn't even hesitate: "You."