I couldn't help but think, as I watched him, of the barrels of toxic fluids that had accrued behind Hal's bike shop where the scrub lining the railroad tracks had offered local companies enough cover to dump a stray contaner or two. Everything had been sealed up, but things were beginning to leak out. I had come to both pity and respect Len in the years since my mother left. He followed the physical to try to understand things that were impossible to comphrehend. In that, I could see, he was like me.
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APAAlice Sebold Quotes. (n.d.). Jar of Quotes. Retrieved , from JarofQuotes.com Web site: https://www.jarofquotes.com/view.php?id=i-couldnt-help-but-think-as-i-watched-him-barrels-toxic-fluids-that-had-accrued-behind-hals-bike-shop-where-scrub-lining-railroad-tracks-had-alice-sebold
ChicagoAlice Sebold Quotes. Jar of Quotes, 2019. https://www.jarofquotes.com/view.php?id=i-couldnt-help-but-think-as-i-watched-him-barrels-toxic-fluids-that-had-accrued-behind-hals-bike-shop-where-scrub-lining-railroad-tracks-had-alice-sebold, accessed .
MLA"Alice Sebold Quotes." Jar of Quotes, 2019. . https://www.jarofquotes.com/view.php?id=i-couldnt-help-but-think-as-i-watched-him-barrels-toxic-fluids-that-had-accrued-behind-hals-bike-shop-where-scrub-lining-railroad-tracks-had-alice-sebold
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Now I am in the place I call this wide wide Heaven because it includes all my simplest desires but also the most humble and grand. The word my grandfather uses is comfort. So there are cakes and pillows and colors galore, but underneath this more obvious patchwork quilt are places like a quiet room where you can go and hold someone's hand and not have to say anything. Give no story. Make no claim. Where you can live at the edge of your skin for as long as you wish.
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Sometimes Holly seemed like she wasn't paying attention, and other times she was gone when I went looking for her. That was when she went to a part of heaven we didn't share. I missed her then, but it was and odd sort of missing because by then I knew the meaning of forever. I could not have what I wanted most: Mr. Harvey dead and me living. Heaven wasn't perfect. But I came to believe that if I watched closely, and desired, I might change the lives of those I loved on Earth.
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She was unaware that she was somewhat of a celebrity up in heaven. I had told people about her, what she did, how she observed moments of silence up and down the city and wrote small individual prayers in her journal, and the story had travelled so quickly that women lined up to know she had found where they'd been killed. She had fans in heaven..... Meanwhile, for us, she was doing important work, work that most people on Earth were too frightened even too contemplate.
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Almost everyone in heaven has someone on Earth they watch, a loved one, a friend or even a stranger who was once kind, who offered warm food or a bright smile when one of us had needed it. And when I wasn't watching I could hear the others talking to those they loved on Earth: just as fruitlessly as me, I'm afraid. A one-sided card cajoling and coaching of the young, a one way loving and desiring of their mates, a single-sided card that could never get signed.
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He tunneled into stories where weak men changed into strong half-animals or used eye beams or magic hammers to power through steel or climb up the sides of skyscrapers. He was the Hulk when angry and Spidey the rest of the time. When he felt his heart hurt he turned into something stronger than a little boy, and he grew up this way. A heart that flashed from heart to stone, heart to stone. As I watched I thought of what Grandma Lynn liked to say when Lindsey and I rolled our eyes or grimaced behind her back. "Watch out what faces you make. You'll freeze that way.
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These were the lovely bones that had grown around my absence: the connections-sometimes tenuous, sometimes made at great cost, but often magnificent-that happened after I was gone. And I began to see things in a way that let me hold the world without me in it. The events that my death wrought were merely the bones of a body that would become whole at some unpredictable time in the future. The price of what I came to see as this miraculous body had been my life.
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We lay there with our bodies touching, and as I shook, a powerful knowledge took hold. He had done this thing to me and I had lived. That was all. I was still breathing. I heard his heart. I smelled his breath. The dark earth around us smelled like what it was, moist dirt where animals lived their daily lives. I could have yelled for hours.
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