and then I began to drift, fighting tears. I used to come here with Miriam. Miriam, my heart's desire. What was troubling her this morning? Maybe Kate had reproached her on the phone for leaving me? How dare Kate. Oh yeah? Go for it, my darling. Remind her of what she's missing. No, don't.
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We could never agree about Boogie and I didn't share Miriam's reverence for professors. In fact, just in case I haven't mentioned it before, the pride of my office wall is my framed high-school graduation certificate, lit from above. Miriam has reproached me for it. "Take it down, darling, " she once pleaded. But it still hangs there.
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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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Miriam felt astonished at herself. It was a new thing for her to step out so independently. Somehow, in the past month a tough little root of determination had been growing in her. Whether it was strong enough to support the desperate plan she had undertaken she would soon find out.
Elizabeth George Speare
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She suddenly began to jump up and down, screaming at the top of her lungs. "The arks are after me! The arks are after me! Help me, the arks are after me!" .... "The arks! You don't understand, I have the ring and the arks are after me!" .... (and so the police officer is puzzled long enough for Miriam and Seth to escape)
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Greymalkin was no demon familiar; she was a rambunctious cat with the playful temperament of a kitten. On those occasions when Greymalkin decided the Tarot were her playthings, Miriam knew any attempt at a reading would lead to chewed cards, overturned candles, and incense ash tracked across her tablecloth in the form of tiny gray pawprints.
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Is this, Miriam wonders, what they call the march of history? And even if she doesn't fully understand, it doesn't mean she can't appreciate the need, the periodic need for some people to resort to gasoline, rags, and matches. Doesn't it always come to this? Isn't history as much about tearing things down as it is about building things up?
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They WERE walking alongside the road, they WERE hit by a car, and now they ARE dead. It doesn't work. Are is present tense. Dead is - well, dead is past, isn't it? Present tense modifying past; being modifying non-being. Language, in this instance" - and here Miriam makes a garbled noise in her throat- "fails.
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As Miriam released my hand I felt that she and Midwife Bell had returned to a more primitive world, where men never intruded and even their role in conception was unknown. Here the chain of life was mother to daughter, daughter to mother. Fathers and sons belonged in the shadows with the dogs and livestock, like the retriever growling at Midwife Bell's unfamiliar car from the window of my neighbours' living room.
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Prison left me with some strange little tics.' She has taken all the door off their hinges in all the apartments she has lived in since. It's not that she has anxiety attacks about small spaces, she says, it's just that she starts to sweat and go cold. 'This apartment is perfect for me, ' she says, looking around the open space. 'How about elevators?' I ask, recalling the schlepp up the stairs. 'Exactly, ' she replies, 'I don't like them much either.' One day, years later, her husband Charlie was fooling around at home, playing the guitar. Miriam said something provocative and he stood up suddenly, lifting his arm to take off the guitar strap. He was probably just going to say 'That's outrageous', or tickle her or tackle her. But she was gone. She was already down in the courtyard of the building. She does not remember getting down the stairs-it was an automatic flight reaction.
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Beyond all of that, I could see the wall I had seen from inside the train, the wall that runs along the train line. I assumed that there, behind it, was the west, and I was right. I could have been wrong, but I was right.' If she had any future it was over there, and she needed to get to it. I sit in the chair exploring the meaning of dumbstruck, rolling the word around in my mind. I laugh with Miriam as she laughs at herself, and at the boldness of being sixteen. At sixteen you are invulnerable. I laugh with her about rummaging around for a ladder in other people's sheds, and I laugh harder when she finds one. We laugh at the improbability of it, of someone barely more than a child poking around in Beatrix Potter's garden by the Wall, watching out for Mr McGregor and his blunderbuss, and looking for a step-ladder to scale one of the most fortified barriers on earth. We both like the girl she was, and I like the woman she has become. She says suddenly, 'I still have the scars on my hands from climbing the barbed wire, but you can't see them so well now.' She holds out her hands. The soft parts of her palms are crazed with definite white scares, each about a centimeter long. The first fence was wire mesh with a roll of barbed wire along the top.
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