I have packed myself into silence so deeply and for so long that I can never unpack myself using words. When I speak, I only pack myself a little differently.
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Lola writes in her notebook: Leaf-fleas are even worse. Someone said, They don't bite people, because people don't have leaves. Lola writes, When the sun is beating down, they bite everything, even the wind. And we all have leaves. Leaves fall off when you stop growing, because childhood is all gone. And they grow back when you shrivel up, because love is all gone. Leaves spring up at will, writes Lola, just like tall grass. Two or three children in the village don't have any leaves, and those have a big childhood. A child like that is an only child, because it has a father and a mother who have been to school. The leaf-fleas turn older children into younger ones - a four-year-old into a three-year-old, a three-year-old into a one-year-old. Even a six-months-old, writes Lola, and even a newborn. And the more little brothers and sisters the leaf-fleas make, the smaller the childhood becomes.
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I'm always telling myself I don't have many feelings. Even when something does affect me I'm only moderately moved. I almost never cry. It's not that I'm stronger than the ones with teary eyes, I'm weaker. They have courage. When all you are is skin and bones, feelings are a brave thing. I'm more of a coward. The difference is minimal though, I just use my strength not to cry. When I do allow myself a feeling, I take the part that hurts and bandage it up with a story that doesn't cry, that doesn't dwell on homesickness.
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No words are adequate for the suffering caused by hunger. To this day I have to show hunger that I escaped his grasp. Ever since I stopped having to go hungry, I literally eat life itself. And when I eat, I am locked up inside the taste of eating. For sixty years, ever since I came back from the camp, I have been eating against starvation.
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Tereza's death hurt me so much, it was as if I had two heads smashing into each other. One was full of mown love, the other of hate. I wanted the love to grow back. It grew like grass and straw, all mixed up together, and turned into an icy affirmation on my brow. That was my damn stupid plant.
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