Everyone thought they would be friends for decades, forever. But for most people, of course, that hadn't happened. As you got older, you realized that the qualities you valued in the people you slept with or dated weren't necessarily the ones you wanted to live with, or be with, or plod through your days with. If you were smart, and if you were lucky, you learned this and accepted this. You figured out what was most important to you and you looked for it, and you learned to be realistic.
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He will experience that prickle, that shiver of disgust that afflicts him in both his happiest and most wretched moments, the one that asks him who he thinks he is to inconvenience so many people, to think he has the right to keep going when even his own body tells him he should stop.
I have never been one of those people who feels that the love one has for a child is somehow a superior love, one more meaningful, more significant, and grander than any other.[... ] But it is a singular love, because it is a love whose foundation is not physical attraction, or pleasure, or intellect, but fear. You never known fear until you have a child, and maybe that is what tricks us into thinking that it is more magnificent, because the fear itself is more magnificent. Every day, your first thought is not "I love him" but "how is he?" The world, overnight, rearranges itself into an obstacle course of terrors.
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when your child dies, you feel everything you'd expect to feel, feelings so well-documented by so many others that I won't even bother to list them here, except to say that everything that's written about mourning is all the same, and it's all the same for a reason - because there is no read deviation from the text. Sometimes you feel more of one thing and less of another, and sometimes you feel them out of order, and sometimes you feel them for a longer time or a shorter time. But the sensations are always the same. But here's what no one says - when it's your child, a part of you, a very tiny but nonetheless unignorable part of you, also feels relief. Because finally, the moment you have been expecting, been dreading, been preparing yourself for since the day you became a parent, has come. Ah, you tell yourself, it's arrived. Here it is. And after that, you have nothing to fear again.
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You let things slide that your instincts told you not to, you scooted around the edges of your suspicions. You understood that the proof of your friendship lay in keeping your distance, in accepting what was told you, in turning and walking away when the door was shut in your face instead of trying to force it open again.
To me, the thing about friendship that makes it so singular is that it's a relationship that's central to our identity in that it doesn't necessarily benefit us in any tangible way. It's a relationship we don't have to pursue - if we decide to stop being friends one day, nothing will happen, no one's there to legislate or adjudicate it. It's two people who every day choose to keep it going, and in that way it's very powerful because it's one you choose to work on, and you choose to without any agreement; it's an unspoken bond.
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or drive up to his parents' house, one of you plugging into the car's stereo an outlandish playlist, with which you would both sing along, loudly, being extravagantly silly as adults the way you never were as children. As you got older, you realize that really, there were very few people you truly wanted to be around for more than a few days at a time, and yet here you were with someone you wanted to be around for years, even when he was at his most opaque and confusing.
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We all say we want our kids to be happy, only happy, and healthy, but we don't want that. We want them to be like we are, or better than we are. We as humans are very unimaginative in that sense. We aren't equipped for the possibility that they might be worse. But I guess that would be asking too much. It must be an evolutionary stopgap - if we were all so specifically, vividly aware of what might go horribly wrong, we would none of us have children at all.
I admired how she knew, well before I did, that the point of a child is not what you hope he will accomplish in your name but the pleasure that he will bring you, whatever form it comes in, even if it is a form that is barely recognizable as pleasure at all - and more important, the pleasure you will be privileged to bring him.
He had looked at Jude, then, and had felt the same sensation he sometimes did when he thought, really thought of Jude and what his life had been: a sadness, he might have called it, but is wasn't a pitying sadness; it was a larger sadness, one that seemed to encompass all the poor striving people, the billions he didn't know, all living their lives, a sadness that mingled with a wonder and awe at how hard humans everywhere tried to live, even when their days were so very difficult, even when their circumstances were so wretched. Life is so sad, he would think in these moments. It's so sad, and yet we all do it. We all cling to it; we all search for something to give us solace.
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And that, he sometimes felt, was why he loved being high so much: not because it offered an escape from everyday life, as so many people thought, but because it made everyday life seem less everyday. For a brief period - briefer and briefer with each week - the world was splendid and unknown.
and in those hours the world would feel very large, and the lake very empty, and the night very black, and he would wish he were back in Wyoming, waiting at the end of the road for Hemming, where the only path he had to navigate was the one back to his parent's house, where the porch light washed the night with honey.
Every traveler knows too well the endless quest for the perfect travel bag: the one that's stylish enough to carry through Paris, sturdy enough to tote around Peru, and - most important - doesn't make your shoulder sag even before you've loaded it up with everything you need for a day of sightseeing.
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