We're an Ag college," I explain to them. "Not as good as the one in Yanco but we have livestock." "Cows?" Anson Choi asks, covering his nose. "Pigs, too. And horses. Great for growing tomatoes. The Cadets are wanna-be soldiers. City people. They may know how to street fight but they don't know how to wade through manure. "I'm going to throw up," one of the guys says. "Don't feel too bad," I explain. "Some of our lot did while they were laying out this stuff. Actually, right there where you're standing.
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Come here," she says. "No, you come here." "I said it first." "Rock paper scissors." "No. Because you'll do nerdy calculations and work out what I chose the last six times and then you'll win." Will pushes away from the table and his hand snakes out and he pulls her toward him and Tom figures that Will was always going to go to her first.
My body becomes a raft and there's this part of me that wants just literally to go with the flow. To close my eyes and let it take me. But I know sooner or later I will have to get out, that I need to feel the earth beneath my feet, between my toes - the splinters, the bindi-eyes, the burning sensation of hot dirt, the sting of cuts, the twigs, the bites, the heat, the discomfort, the everything. I need desperately to feel it all, so when something wonderful happens, the contrast will be so massive that I will bottle the impact and keep it for the rest of my life.
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This is the best night of my life," Raffy says, crying. "Raffy, half our House has burnt down," I say wearily. "We don't have a kitchen." "Why do you always have to be so pessimistic?" she asks. "We can double up in our rooms and have a barbecue every night like the Cadets." Silently I vow to keep Raffy around for the rest of my life.
Sometimes Thomas Mackee will stick an earphone into my ear and ask me to listen to a song. When I get over the revulsion of putting something in my ear that's been in his, I sit back and let the music take over, and for a half hour there's something comforting about someone's heart beating at the same rhythm as mine.
What do you think would happen if we kissed right here, right now?" he asks, digging his hands into the pockets of his khaki pants, grinning right back at me. "I think it would cause a riot." "Well, you know me," he says, lowering his head towards me. "Causing a riot is what I do best." Santangelo approaches before Griggs gets any closer and pulls him away. "Are you guys insane?" he says, irritated. "It's called peaceful coexistence, Santangelo. You should try it and if it works we may sell the idea to the Israelis and Palestinians," I say, throwing his own words back at him.
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It's a weird smile, but it reaches his eyes and I bottle it. And I put it in my ammo pack that's kept right next to my soul and Justine's spirit and Siobhan's hope and Tara's passions. Because if I'm going to wake up one morning and not be able to get out of bed, I'm going to need everything I've got to fight this disease that could be sleeping inside of me.
Then he holds her and for a moment I hear total silence; that totally silent part of a cry that announces that the most horrible grief is going to follow. And it does, and he's muffling it, but I can hear and I want someone to come over and jab her with a sedative because its pitch pierces my soul.
Play me something that makes me feel; This soul inside me is made of steel. Brain is breathing, but heart's not beating And, babe, I need you to make things real. Walk inside me without silence, Kill the past and change the tense. Empty gnawing and the ache is soaring; Take me places that make more sense.
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Memory is a funny thing. It tricks you into believing that you've forgotten important moments, and then when you're raking your brain for a bit of information that might make sense of something else, it taps you on the head and says, "Remember when you told me to put that memory in the green rubbish bin? Well, I didn't, I put it in the black recycling tub, and it's coming your way again.
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My father took one hundred and thirty-two minutes to die. I counted. It happened on the Jellicoe Road. The prettiest road I'd ever seen, where trees made breezy canopies like a tunnel to Shangri-La. We were going to the ocean, hundreds of miles away, because I wanted to see the ocean and my father said that it was about time the four of us made that journey. I remember asking, 'What's the difference between a trip and a journey?' and my father said, 'Narnie, my love, when we get there, you'll understand, ' and that was the last thing he ever said.
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He is the most beautiful creature I have ever seen and it's not about his face, but the life force I can see in him. It's the smile and the pure promise of everything he has to offer. Like he's saying, 'Here I am world, are you ready for so much passion and beauty and goodness and love and every other word that should be in the dictionary under the word life?' Except this boy is dead, and the unnaturalness of it makes me want to pull my hair out with Tate and Narnie and Fitz and Jude's grief all combined. It makes me want to yell at the God that I wish I didn't believe in. For hogging him all to himself. I want to say, 'You greedy God. Give him back. I needed him here.
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I like looking at his face when he speaks. Sometimes he spit, actually he spits all the time, but I think that's passionate. He loves words and he rolls them around in his mouth like a luscious plum, slobbering on the sides, and then he'll use his hands, touching his mouth as if he's taking the words out throwing them to us.