Then Carol slipped her arm under her neck, and all the length of their bodies touched fitting as if something had prearranged it. Happiness was like a green vine spreading through her, stretching fine tendrils, bearing flowers through her flesh. She had a vision of a pale white flower, shimmering as if seen in darkness, or through water. Why did people talk of heaven, she wondered
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The law was not society, it began. Society was people like himself and Owen and Brillhart, who hadn't the right to take the life of another member of society. And yet the law did. "And yet the law is supposed to be the will of society at least. It isn't even that. Or maybe it is collectively, " he added, aware that as always he was doubling back before he come to a point, making things as complex as possible in trying to make them certain.
He did look like an Italian of the worse type, though Vic didn't think he was, and it was an insult to the Italian race to assume that he was. He resembled no particular race, only an amalgamation of the worst elements of various Latin peoples. He looked as if he had spent all his life dodging blows that were probably aimed at him for good reason.
Carol raised her hand slowly and brushed her hair back, once on either side, and Therese smiled because the gesture was Carol, and it was Carol she loved and would always love. Oh, in a different way now because she was a different person, and it was like meeting Carol all over again, but it was still Carol and no one else. It would be Carol, in a thousand cities, a thousand houses, in foreign lands where they would go together, in heaven and in hell. Therese waited. Then as she was about to go to her, Carol saw her, seemed to stare at her incredulously a moment while Therese watched the slow smile growing, before her arm lifted suddenly, her hand waved a quick, eager greeting that Therese had never seen before. Therese walked toward her.
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It had all happened in that instant she had seen Carol standing in the middle of the floor, watching her. Then the realization that so much had happened after that meeting made her feel incredibly lucky suddenly. It was so easy for a man and woman to find each other, to find someone who would do, but for her to have found Carol-
Was it love or wasn't it that she felt for Carol? And how absurd it was that she didn't even know. She had heard about girls falling in love, and she knew what kind of people they were and what they looked like. Neither she nor Carol looked like that. Yet the way she felt about Carol passed all the tests for love and fitted all the descriptions.
The word 'marriage' lingered in Guy's ears, too. It was a solemn word to him. It had the primordial solemnity of holy, love, sin. It was Miriam's round terra cotta-coloured mouth saying, 'Why should I put myself out for you?' and it was Anne's eyes as she pushed her hair back and looked up at him on the lawn of her house where she planted crocuses. It was Miriam turning from the tall thin window in the room in Chicago, lifting her freckled, shield-shaped face directly up to his as she always did before she told a lie, and Steve's long dark head, insolently smiling.
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For the hundredth time, he examined his face in the bathroom mirror, patiently touched every scratch with the styptic pencil, and repowdered them. He ministered to his face and hands objectively, as if they were not a part of himself. When his eyes met the staring eyes in the mirror, they slipped away as they must have slipped away, Guy thought, that first afternoon on the train, when he had tried to avoid Bruno's eyes.
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She knew what bothered her at the store... It was that the store intensified things that had always bothered her, as long as she could remember. It was the pointless actions, the meaningless chores that seemed to keep her from doing what she wanted to do, might have done-and here it was the complicated procedures with moneybags, coat checkings, and time clocks that kept people from even serving the store as efficiently as they might-the sense that everyone was incommunicado with everyone else and living on an entirely wrong plane, so that the meaning, the message, the love, or whatever it was that each life contained, never could find its expression.
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But there were too many points at which the other self could invade the self he wanted to preserve, and there were too many forms of invasion: certain words, sounds, lights, actions his hands or feet performed, and if he did nothing at all, heard and saw nothing, the shouting of some triumphant inner voice that shocked him and cowed him.
I should love to do a novel... about one abnormal character seeing present-day life, very ordinary life, yet arresting through it, abnormality, until at the end the reader sees, and with little reluctance, that he is not abnormal at all, and that the main character might as well be himself.
I had depressing thoughts that the theme, even though I had thought of it, was better than I was as a writer. Henry James or Thomas Mann could easily write it, but not I. 'I'm thinking of writing it from the point of view of someone at the hotel who observes her, ' I said, but this did not fill me with much hope. Then my friend, who is not a writer, suggested I try it from the omniscient author's point of view.
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January. It was all things. And it was one thing, like a solid door. Its cold sealed the city in a gray capsule. January was moments, and January was a year. January rained the moments down, and froze them in her memory: [...]Every human action seemed to yield a magic. January was a two-faced month, jangling like jester's bells, crackling like snow crust, pure as any beginning, grim as an old man, mysteriously familiar yet unknown, like a word one can almost but not quite define.
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I should love to do a novel, about one abnormal character seeing present-day life, very ordinary life, yet arresting through it, abnormality, until at the end the reader sees, and with little reluctance, that he is not abnormal at all, and that the main character might as well be himself.
But there was not a moment when she did not see Carol in her mind, and all she saw, she seemed to see through Carol. That evening, the dark flat streets of New York, the tomorrow of work, the milk bottle dropped and broken in her sink, became unimportant. She flung herself on her bed and drew a line with a pencil on a piece of paper. And another line, carefully, and another. A world was born around her, like a bright forest with a million shimmering leaves.
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