I have some questions about betrayal," I said. "Think about this: A person who calls you his best friend, and says he has dinner plans with you, goes off with a beautiful woman, saying he'll be back directly, then makes you wait half an hour because he's kissing the woman in the alley. Is that betrayal?" "Oh, Lord." Eldric tossed back his wine.
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There's such a thing as being irritatingly ethical, ' said Eldric. 'That's you, right now.' That's a pleasant change. Witches are rarely accused of being irritatingly ethical. 'I've swigged.' I handed the bottle to Eldric. 'Or is it swug?' 'Swug, ' said Eldric. 'It is in bad-boy circles, at least.' He swug. 'It tastes much better outside church.' 'It's the picnic principle, ' I said. 'Things taste better outdoors. And if it's a forbidden thing, so much the better.
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When Rose takes to screaming, she starts loud, continues loud, and ends loud. Rose has a very good ear and always screams on the same note. I'd tested her before I burnt the library, and our piano along with it. Rose screams on the note B flat. We don't need a piano anymore now that we have a human tuning fork.
Life and stories are alike in one way: They are full of hollows. The king and queen have no children: They have a child hollow. The girl has a wicked stepmother: She has a mother hollow. In a story, a baby comes along to fill the child hollow. But in life, the hollows continue empty.
Once we got to eating, the idea of happiness returned to me. Not the feeling, the idea. Would a regular girl be happy simply eating a hot meal with a great deal of chew to it? Maybe happiness is a simple thing. Maybe it's as simple as the salty taste of pork, and the vast deal of chewing in it, and how, when the chew is gone, you can still scrape at the bone with your bottom teeth and suck at the marrow.
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This is what I want. I want people to take care of me. I want them to force comfort upon me. I want the soft-pillow feeling that I associate with memories of being ill when I was younger, soft pillows and fresh linens and satin-edged blankets and hot chocolate. It's not so much the comfort itself as knowing there's someone who wants to take care of you.
I think about the Old Ones, that they have a past but no history. I think about the inevitability of death, and whether it's not that very inevitability that inspires us to take photographs and make scrapbooks and tell stories. That that's how we humans find our way to immortality. This is not a new thought; I've had such thoughts before. But I have a new thought now. That that's how we find our way toward meaning. Meaning. If you're going to die, you want to find meaning in life. You want to connect the dots.
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We laughed a lot and I grew warmer still, lovely and warm. I do realize that some of that warmth was due to the wine, but there was much more to it than that. There are two distinct aspects to Communion wine: one aspect is the wine itself, the other is the idea of communion. Wine is certainly warming, but communion is a great deal more so.
I don't mind the disapproving ones so much. It's the tolerant ones I can't stand, the ones who smile at Rose, who speak to her ever so slowly and gently. They don't realize how very intelligent Rose really is. They're just terrifically pleased with themselves. Look at me! they all but shout. See how broad-minded I am! How wonderfully progressive, how fantastically twentieth century!
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Guess what it is that turns plants to coal. Pressure. Guess what it is that turns limestone to marble. Pressure. Guess what it is that turns Briony's heart to stone. Pressure. Pressure is uncomfortable, but so are the gallows. Keep your secrets, wolfgirl. Dance your fists with Eldric's, snatch lightning from the gods. Howl at the moon, at the blood-red moon. Let your mouth be a cavern of stars.
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It is true that I can trip over anything and nothing "" a speck of dust, a patch of sunlight, an idea. I move through life like a person with one eye, through a landscape that looks flat, but is really tricked out with hidden depths and shallows. It didn't use to be so, but no matter. I navigate the world well enough in my own way.
The handkerchief dabbed at my forehead. 'Ouch! You'll have a fine-looking bruise tomorrow.' 'Then you'll be able to distinguish me from Rose.' The handkerchief paused. 'I could tell you apart from the beginning. You're quite different to each other, you know.' Perhaps he could tell, in the obvious ways. The odd one was Rose; the other odd one was Briony.
When we were small, Rose and I used to play a game called connect the dots. I loved it. I loved drawing a line from dot number 1 to dot number 2 and so on. Most of all, I loved the moment when the chaotic sprinkle of dots resolved itself into a picture. That's what stories do. They connect the random dots of life into a picture. But it's all an illusion. Just try to connect the dots of life. You'll end up with a lunatic scribble.
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There are no preconditions for jealousy. You don't have to be right, you don't have to be reasonable. Take Othello. He was neither right nor reasonable, and Desdemona ended up dead. I wouldn't mind Leanne ending up dead. I wouldn't mind exploding her into fireworks of peacock and pearl.