We all have a natural instinct to protect children from harm. It's never fun to see a child hurt, even if it's just a scraped knee. But on the other hand, children need to take on physical challenges to learn and grow, and scraped knees and other bumps and bruises teach them valuable lessons about their own limits.
Ugly and futile: lean neck and thick hair and a stain of ink, a snail's bed. Yet someone had loved him, borne him in her arms and in her heart. But for her the race of the world would have trampled him underfoot, a squashed boneless snail. She had loved his weak watery blood drained from her own. Was that then real? The only true thing in life? His mother's prostrate body the fiery Columbanus in holy zeal bestrode. She was no more: the trembling skeleton of a twig burnt in the fire, an odour of rosewood and wetted ashes. She had saved him from being trampled underfoot and had gone, scarcely having been. A poor soul gone to heaven: and on a heath beneath winking stars a fox, red reek of rapine in his fur, with merciless bright eyes scraped in the earth, listened, scraped up the earth, listened, scraped and scraped.
I am old, Gandalf. I don't look it, but I am beginning to feel it in my heart of hearts. Well-preserved indeed! Why, I feel all thin, sort of stretched, if you know what I mean: like butter that has been scraped over too much bread. That can't be right. I need a change, or something.
J. R. R. Tolkien
We lived in Colorado, and my parents were outdoorsy mountain people. My father would always say, 'Go out and don't come back until you have something to show me.' Which meant he wanted me to come back with a scraped knee or an injury. When I went out to play, I felt like I'd better get hurt.
Listen, punk. To me you're nothin' but dogshit, you understand? And a lot of things can happen to dogshit. It can be scraped up with a shovel off the ground. It can dry up and blow away in the wind. Or it can be stepped on and squashed. So take my advice and be careful where the dog shits ya!
I don't do gentle, Mara, ' he felt compelled to warn even as he worked his way down from her lips, over her chin, to the tender spot where her neck met her shoulder. He scraped his teeth over the frantic beat of her pulse and reveled in the delicate shudder that shook her body. 'So if that's how you think this is going to go, back out now.
I want someone who will adore me so much that they cannot even walk past me without touching me in some way. I want someone who will worship me, even when.. I'm sitting around in fluffy slippers with no makeup on and hair scraped back. I'm sick and tired of being on my own. Most of the time I'm fine. Some of the time I even quite enjoy it. But at this precise moment in time I'm fed up with it. I've had enough..
I mourn my old life here. We barely scraped by, but I knew where I fit in, I knew what my place was in the tightly interwoven fabric that was our life. I wish I could go back to it because, in retrospect, it seems so secure compared to now, when I am so rich and famous and so hated by the authorities in the capitol.
The biggest machines, in those days, were already pushing the limits of what could be constructed on Arbre with reasonable amounts of money." "I hadn't known that," I said. "I always tend to assume there's an infinite amount of money out there." "There might as well be," Arsibalt said, "but most of it gets spent on pornography, sugar water, and bombs. There is only so much that can be scraped together for particle accelerators.
From depression to ceiling fans, I've been through it all. I've taken almost every step that life has to offer and invariably I've found several different endings to my Choose Your Own Adventure stories. I've lived, loved, sacrificed and scraped for this existence, this paltry little city state I call my time so far. And by God, I wouldn't change a single frame of this movie.
The troops and their ladies had first drunk champagne. There were also remains of sandwiches, and I stepped on one, which I think was either cucumber or watercress. I scraped it off on the curbing, left it there for germs. I'll tell you this, though: No germ is going to leave the Solar System eating sissy stuff like that. Plutonium! Now there's the stuff to put hair on a microbe's chest.
So worried was I that people would see through the painting into my soul - and guess at secret Alison stuff - that I scraped the paint off the canvas. It was too risky to expose what everyone hides...And yet isn't that the job of the artist? Next step is to take the risk - to work more deeply. To expose that which cannot be expressed any other way. That is art. Scary and exciting.
My mother was born in the city, my dad was an immigrant. Probably from Germany. Could have been Austria, could have been Poland. The borders were changing. My dad brought over a large family of Shatners when he was very young. Scraped together the money, got 11 brothers and sisters a passage on the boat. There's a lot of Shatners in Montreal.
reading [poetry], you know, is rather like opening the door to a horde of rebels who swarm out attacking one in twenty places at once - hit, roused, scraped, bared, swung through the air, so that life seems to flash by; then again blinded, knocked on the head - all of which are agreeable sensations for a reader (since nothing is more dismal than to open the door and get no response) ...
Now, it is very necessary that we should not flinch from seeing what is vile and debasing. There is filth on the floor, and it must be scraped up with the muck rake; and there are times and places where this service is the most needed of all the services that can be performed. But the man who never does anything else, who never thinks or speaks or writes, save of his feats with the muck rake, speedily becomes, not a help but one of the most potent forces for evil ...
The traveling salesmen fed me pills that made the lining of my veins feel scraped out, my jaw ached... I knew every raindrop by its name, I sensed everything before it happened. Like I knew a certain oldsmobile would stop even before it slowed, and by the sweet voices of the family inside, I knew we'd have an accident in the rain. I didn't care. They said they'd take me all the way.
The Witcher had a knife to his throat. He was wallowing in a wooden tub, brimfull with soapsuds, his head thrown agains the slippery rim. The bitter taste of soap lingered in his mouth as the knife, blunt as a doorknob, scraped his Adam's apple painfully and moved towards his chin with a grating sound.
My flesh was burning where the skin was scraped off my knees, and I was afraid that I couldn't be alive anymore with so much pain, and at the same time I knew I was alive because it hurt. I was afraid that death would find its way into me through this open knee and I quickly covered my knee with my hands.
Day by day and almost minute by minute the past was brought up to date. In this way every prediction made by the Party could be shown by documentary evidence to have been correct; nor was any item of news, or any expression of opinion, which conflicted with the needs of the moment, ever allowed to remain on record. All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary.
Dirk turned on the car wipers, which grumbled because they didn't have quite enough rain to wipe away, so he turned them off again. Rain quickly speckled the windscreen. He turned on the wipers again, but they still refused to feel that the exercise was worthwhile, and scraped and squeaked in protest.
But even as she told herself that, she remembered the way Cal had looked today with his shirt off while he'd stood on the ladder and scraped the side of Annie's house. Watching those muscles bunch and flex every time he moved had made her crazy and she'd finally grabbed his shirt, thrown it at him, and delivered a stern lecture on the depletion of the ozone layer and skin cancer.
Susan Elizabeth Phillips
IThe epiphany in this thought is that we simply cannot and do not create in isolation. As I paint my blank canvas others leave their mark on my masterpiece. Many have added colors and textures I knew not existed, greatly improving my creation..and yet... and yet... There are those who have punctured the fine leather and scraped at the rainbows of my mind... creating stormy patches where there were once colors beaming from the page.
The worst have scraped out the mantle of the best and wear it around as something real. It takes no genius to see that. But I moved to San Francisco because the masquerade of kindly gestures is, at least, kind. And it remains kind. And all the people who would sit back and comment on the garishness of the costumes, the hollowness of the dialogue, the lack of divine conviction, well, all those people are either dead or fifteen years old.
Jay Caspian Kang
It's not Comic Con any more. It's this huge marketplace for the motion picture and television industry. And the toy manufacturer's and the game people. One of the problems with International Comic Con is that tickets go on sale for the next year's event and the place is full of thousands and thousands of kids who have scraped together every dime to get admittance because they want to get all the freebies.
A prepared mind is always made up; it knows what it thinks and why it thinks that. When it's time to change, it just makes itself up a different way. A really made-up mind-made up properly, knowing what it knows and on what basis it knows it-is open. People close an undecided mind because they're trying to protect those sore uncertainties from getting bumped and scraped.
This whole time, my whole life, that harsh, stony path was leading up to this one point. I followed it blindly, stumbling along the way, scraped and weary, without any idea of where it was leading, without ever realizing that with every step I was approaching the light at the end of a very long, dark tunnel. And now that I've reached it, now that I'm here, I want to catch it in my hand, hold onto it forever to look back on - the point at which my new life really began.
You grieve at first. And then slowly, with the yawning of the years, the disappeared gets scraped from your memory, the way your flesh can be peeled from your limbs. It's very harsh and extremely painful. But it gets done, square inch-by-square inch. Until, the skin that is your memory gets completely scarred and numbed. You live. The disappeared is detached from the dermis of remembering. And that is what is known as moving on.
Psyche Roxas-Mendoza The Unlamented
From the earliest times man has been engaged in a search for general rules whereby to turn the order of natural phenomena to his own advantage, and in the long search he has scraped together a great hoard of such maxims, some of them golden and some of them mere dross. The true or golden rules constitute the body of applied science which we call the arts; the false are magic.
James G. Frazer
Hope you didn't bring any spiders into the van with you, ' Simon put in. 'Hey, I'm thinking we could take you back outside and hose you down, just to make sure. You'd definitely smell better if we did, which, I mean, bonus.' Jeremy scraped both hands through his hair again, then beat them clean against his thighs. 'Believe me, Simon, if we had access to a garden hose, I'd be the first to turn it on myself. I feel foul.' 'Hate to break it to you, Archer, but that feeling is not lying to you, ' Simon said with mild relish.
It was common for my father to sit my sisters down and tell them things like, "I saw a girl working in the bank in town, and she was a girl just like you." My parents had never completed primary school. They couldn't speak English or even read that well. My parents only knew the language of numbers, buying and selling, but they wanted more for their kids. That's why my father had scraped the money together and kept Annie in school, despite the famine and other troubles.
Shebna scraped the tablet clean and began drawing circles in the soft clay. "Suppose you had six figs and you ate two. How many would-" "Four." Hezekiah answered before Shebna finished, and the tutor's thick black eyebrows rose in surprise. "And suppose I had five figs. How many would we-" "Nine." "Have you done this before?" Hezekiah thought the question was ridiculous. "I've eaten figs lots of times.
My Papa's Waltz: The whiskey on your breath Could make a small boy dizzy; But I hung on like death: Such waltzing was not easy. We romped until the pans Slid from the kitchen shelf; My mother's countenance Could not unfrown itself. The hand that held my wrist Was battered on one knuckle; At every step you missed My right ear scraped a buckle. You beat time on my head With a palm caked hard by dirt, Then waltzed me off to bed Still clinging to your shirt.
Leaves that rustled, twigs that scraped and rattled. But the thin shapes weren't falling, they were scurrying head first down the tree-trunks at a speed that seemed to leave time behind. Some of them had no shape they could have lived with, and some might never have had any skin. She saw their shriveled eyes glimmer eagerly and their toothless mouths gape with an identical infantile hunger. Their combined weight bowed the lowest branches while they extended arms like withered sticks to snatch the child. ("With The Angels")
A prickle of awareness made the hairs at the back of his neck stand. A deep chill sank into his flesh to settle around his heart, squeezing it. Skeletal fingers scraped along his spine and he wanted to look back over his shoulder, but couldn't. No, he didn't dare. If he saw what caused the sound it might be more than he could handle. Rooted to the ground, he couldn't twitch a finger or twist his head around. His lips glued together, so he couldn't speak.
Pamela K. Kinney
How is faith to endure, O God, when you allow all this scraping and tearing on us? You have allowed rivers of blood to flow, mountains of suffering to pile up, sobs to become humanity's song--all without lifting a finger that we could see. You have allowed bonds of love beyond number to be painfully snapped. If you have not abandoned us, explain yourself.We strain to hear. But instead of hearing an answer we catch sight of God himself scraped and torn. Through our tears we see the tears of God.
How is faith to endure, O God, when you allow all this scraping and tearing on us? You have allowed rivers of blood to flow, mountains of suffering to pile up, sobs to become humanity's song-all without lifting a finger that we could see. You have allowed bonds of love beyond number to be painfully snapped. If you have not abandoned us, explain yourself. We strain to hear. But instead of hearing an answer we catch sight of God himself scraped and torn. Through our tears we see the tears of God.
The woman in charge of costuming assigned us our outfits and gave us a lecture on keeping things clean. She held up a calendar and said, "Ladies, you know what this is. Use it. I have scraped enough blood out from the crotches of elf knickers to last me the rest of my life. And don't tell me, 'I don't wear underpants, I'm a dancer.' You're not a dancer. If you were a real dancer you wouldn't be here. You're an elf and you're going to wear panties like an elf.
Percy tightened his grip on Annabeth's wrist. His face was gaunt, scraped and bloody, his hair dusted with cobwebs, but when he locked eyes with her, she thought he had never looked more handsome. "We're staying together, " he promised. "You're not getting away from me. Never again." Only then did she understand what would happen. A one-way trip. A very hard fall. "As long as we're together, " she said. She heard Nico and Hazel still screaming for help. She saw the sunlight far, f ar above-maybe the last sunlight she would ever see. Then Percy let go of his tiny ledge, and together, holding hands, he and Annabeth fell into the endless darkness.
Fat bitch, " Kessa murmured as the door scraped closed behind Mrs. Stone. "She meant well, Francesca. And you see, everyone thinks you're too thin." "Since when is Mrs. Stone an authority on appearance. I've heard you say a thousand times that she looks like an old hooker." "I never said anything of the sort. What I said was that she wears too much makeup and her clothes are indiscreet." "Which means she looks like an old hooker. Well, if that's the way a woman is supposed to look, I'd rather be too skinny." Kessa felt a flash of pleasure at the argument. Just let her mother try to push food into her now.
At last I came to college. I rushed for it with the outstretched arms of youth's aching hunger to give and take of life's deepest, and highest, and I came against the solid wall of the well-fed, well-dressed world - the frigid whitewashed wall of cleanliness. ... How I pinched, and scraped, and starved myself, to save enough to come to college! Every cent of the tuition fee I paid was drops of sweat and blood from underpaid laundry work. And what did I get for it? A crushed spirit, a broken heart, a stinging sense of poverty that I never felt before.
Alex took a silent step closer to the kitchen door and watched unseen as willow spooned instant coffee into a pair of mugs.With another yawn, she scraped her hair off her face and stretched. She looked so entirely human, so drowsy and sleep-rumpled.For a moment, Alex just gazed at her, taking in her long tumble of hair, her wide green eyes and pixieish chin. Fleetingly, he imagined her eyes meeting his, wondering what she'd look like if she smiled
There was a deep silence, only scraped on its surfaces by the faint quiver of empty seed-plumes, and broken grass-blades trembling in small air-movements they could not feel. 'Not a bird!' said Sam mournfully. 'No, no birds,' said Gollum. 'Nice birds!' He licked his teeth. 'No birds here. There are snakeses, wormses, things in the pools. Lots of things, lots of nasty things. No birds,' he ended sadly. Sam looked at him with distaste.
J. R. R. Tolkien
There was a deep silence, only scraped on its surfaces by the faint quiver of empty seed-plumes, and broken grass-blades trembling in small air-movements they could not feel. 'Not a bird!' said Sam mournfully. 'No, no birds, ' said Gollum. 'Nice birds!' He licked his teeth. 'No birds here. There are snakeses, wormses, things in the pools. Lots of things, lots of nasty things. No birds, ' he ended sadly. Sam looked at him with distaste.
Bubble gum angels swooped from top margins or scraped their wings between teeming paragraphs, maidens with golden hair dripped sea blue tears into the books spine, grape-colored whales spouted blood around a newspaper item (pasted in) listing arrivals to the endangered spieces list. Six hatchlings cried from shattered shells near an entry made on Easter. Cecilia had filled the pages with a profusion of colors and curlicues, candyland ladders and striped shamrocks.
If it will be an intolerable thing to suffer the heat of fire for a year or a day, or an hour, what will it be to suffer ten thousand times more for ever? What if thou wert to suffer Lawrence 's death, to be roasted upon a gridiron; or to be scraped or pricked to death as other martyrs were; or if thou wert to feed upon toads for a year together? If thou couldst not endure such things as these, how wilt thou endure the eternal flames ?
It's a bit burned, ' my mother would say apologetically at every meal, presenting you with a piece of meat that looked like something - a much-loved pet perhaps - salvaged from a tragic house fire. 'But I think I scraped off most of the burned part, ' she would add, overlooking that this included every bit of it that had once been flesh. Happily, all this suited my father. His palate only responded to two tastes - burned and ice cream - so everything suited him so long as it was sufficiently dark and not too startlingly flavorful. Theirs truly was a marriage made in heaven, for no one could burn food like my mother or eat it like my dad.
When my father was 17, he went to Montreal and found these submarine sandwich shops that were really successful, and weren't in Toronto [his home town]. So he went to my grandparents and said: "Look, you have to give me the seed money to open up one of these places. We'll make a fortune. They've got lines going round the block. There's nothing like that here." And my grandfather's response was: "Look, I'm sure these sandwiches are really good, and if we scraped the money together we could make a lot of money and your mother and I would be really proud of you, but you need to find something that has magic in it for you." It was off of that conversation that my father went to college on a music scholarship, started a film club and became one of the most successful directors of all time.
Hellooo." I held out my arm. "An amethyst woman with blue hair is telling you this." She reached out and scraped her short nails over my arm. I snatched my arm back. "Ow." Not body makeup." She frowned and peered at the roots of my hair. "A good die-job or you've really got blue hair." For now," I said. "I'm half Drow." She raised an eyebrow. Dark Elves." Uh-huhhhh." During the day I look normal, like you." With an amused look she held up her arm, showing her dark, golden skin. "You're Kenyan and Puerto Rican?
It is only rather recently that science has begun to make peace with its magical roots. Until a few decades ago, it was common for histories of science either to commence decorously with Copernicus's heliocentric theory or to laud the rationalism of Aristotelian antiquity and then to leap across the Middle Ages as an age of ignorance and superstition. One could, with care and diligence, find occasional things to praise in the works of Avicenna, William of Ockham, Albertus Magnus, and Roger Bacon, but these sparse gems had to be thoroughly dusted down and scraped clean of unsightly accretions before being inserted into the corners of a frame fashioned in a much later period.
The whole right side of his face was smashed in, concave forehead and crushed cheekbone and one eye bugging precariously from a broken socket. He was purplish-black, and dirty white: Maggots seethed from every pore and crawled across him in excited wriggly piles, blowflies waving and blooming and wilting, the bits of bone they'd scraped clean glinting like tiny mosaic tiles. Scraps of jeans and a leather jacket clung to the sticky seething mess of his flesh. He was big, big shouldered, a good foot taller; chit-chitter, he went, even standing still.
Joan Frances Turner
When the little mouse, which was loved as none other was in the mouse-world, got into a trap one night and with a shrill scream forfeited its life for the sight of the bacon, all the mice in the district, in their holes were overcome by trembling and shaking; with eyes blinking uncontrollably they gazed at each other one by one, while their tails scraped the ground busily and senselessly. Then they came out, hesitantly, pushing one another, all drawn towards the scene of death. There it lay, the dear little mouse, its neck caught in the deadly iron, the little pink legs drawn up, and now stiff the feeble body that would so well have deserved a scrap of bacon. The parents stood beside it and eyed their child's remains.
Humph.' She peered down suspiciously as he parted the leaves to reveal the choke. 'That doesn't look very tasty.' 'That's because it isn't, ' he said. 'Pay heed: the artichoke is a shy vegetable. She covers herself in spine-tipped leaves that must be carefully peeled away, and underneath shields her treasure with a barricade o' soft needles. They must be tenderly, but firmly, scraped aside. Ye must be bold, for if yer not, she'll never reveal her soft heart.' He finished cutting away the thistles and placed the small, tender heart on the center of her plate. She wrinkled her nose. 'That's it? But it's so small.' 'Ah, and d'ye judge a thing solely upon size alone?' She made a choking sound.
I came to feel a tenderness for them all. This was something new to me. It gave me a curious pleasure to touch them, to help them in and out of the chair, to shave their weather-toughened old faces. They had known hard use, nearly all of them. You could tell it by the way they held themselves and moved. Most of all you could tell it by their hands, which were shaped by wear and often by the twists and swellings of arthritis. They had used their hands forgetfully, as hooks and pliers and hammers, and in every kind of weather. The backs of their hands showed a network of little scars where they had been cut, nicked, thornstuck, pinched, punctured, scraped, and burned. Their faces told that they had suffered things they did not talk about.Every one of them had a good knife in his pocket, sharp, the blades whetted narrow and concave, the horn of the handle worn smooth.
The child, screaming for refuge, senses how feeble a shelter the twig hut of grown-up awareness is. They claim strength, these parents, and complete sanctuary. The weeping earth itself knows how desperate is the child's need for exactly that sanctuary. How deep and sticky is the darkness of childhood, how rigid the blades of infant evil, which is unadulterated, unrestrained by the convenient cushions of age and its civilizing anesthesia. Grownups can deal with scraped knees, dropped ice-cream cones, and lost dollies, but if they suspected the real reasons we cry they would fling us out of their arms in horrified revulsion. Yet we are small and as terrified as we are terrifying in our ferocious appetites.
In the shower today I tried to think about the best advice I'd ever been given by another writer. There was something that someone said at my first Milford, about using style as a covering, but sooner or later you would have to walk naked down the street, that was useful... And then I remembered. It was Harlan Ellison about a decade ago. He said, "Hey. Gaiman. What's with the stubble? Every time I see you, you're stubbly. What is it? Some kind of English fashion statement?" "Not really." "Well? Don't they have razors in England for Chrissakes?" "If you must know, I don't like shaving because I have a really tough beard and sensitive skin. So by the time I've finished shaving I've usually scraped my face a bit. So I do it as little as possible." "Oh." He paused. "I've got that too. What you do is, you rub your stubble with hair conditioner. Leave it a couple of minutes, then wash it off. Then shave normally. Makes it really easy to shave. No scraping." I tried it. It works like a charm. Best advice from a writer I've ever received.
He scraped through the dark sand to the center house, two stories, both pouring bands of light into the fog. There was warmth and gaiety within, through the downstairs window he could see young people gathered around a piano, their singing mocking the forces abroad on this cruel night. She was there, proptected by happiness and song and the good. He was separated from her only by a sand yard and a dark fence, by a lighted window and by her protectors. He stood there until he was trembling with pity and rage. Then he fled, but his flight was slow as the flight in a dream, impeded by the deep sand and the blurring hands of the fog. He fled from the goodness of that home, and his hatred for Laurel throttled his brain. If she had come back to him, he would not be shut out, an outcast in a strange, cold world.
Dorothy B. Hughes
We are, not metaphorically but in very truth, a Divine work of art, something that God is making, and therefore something with which He will not be satisfied until it has a certain character. Here again we come up against what I have called the 'intolerable compliment.' Over a sketch made idly to amuse a child, an artist may not take much trouble: he may be content to let it go even though it is not exactly as he meant it to be. But over the great picture of his life-the work which he loves, though in a different fashion, as intensely as a man loves a woman or a mother a child-he will take endless trouble-and would doubtless, thereby give endless trouble to the picture if it were sentient. One can imagine a sentient picture, after being rubbed and scraped and re-commenced for the tenth time, wishing that it were only a thumb-nail sketch whose making was over in a minute. In the same way, it is natural for us to wish that God had designed for us a less glorious and less arduous destiny; but then we are wishing not for more love but for less.
Percy, let me go" she croaked. "You can't pull me up." His face was white with effort. She could see in his eyes that he knew it was hopeless. "Never, " he said. He looked up at Nico, fifteen feet above. "The other side, Nico! We'll see you there. Understand?" Nico's eyes widened. "But-" "Lead them!" Percy shouted. "Promise me!" "I-I will." Below them, the voice laughed in the darkness. Sacrifices. Beautiful sacrifices to wake the goddess. Percy tightened his grip on Annabeth's wrist. His face was gaunt, scraped and bloody, his hair dusted with cobwebs, but when he locked eyes with her, she thought he had never looked more handsome. "We're staying together, " he promised. "You're not getting away from me. Never again." Only then did she understand what would happen. A one-way trip. A very hard fall. "As long as we're together, " she said. She heard Nico and Hazel still screaming for help. She saw sunlight far, far above- maybe the last sunlight she would ever see. Then Percy let go of his ledge, and together, holding hands, he and Annabeth fell into the endless darkness.
The Old Woman asked, "Here you are, dear Youth, you are looking at the Garden and do not know that it is an evil Garden. Here you are waiting for the Beautiful Woman and do not know that her beauty is destructive. You have been living in my room for two years and never before have you become so engrossed as you have today. Apparently your turn has come too. Go away from the window before it is too late, do not breathe the evil fragrance of these deceitful flowers and do not wait for the Beautiful Woman to appear below your window and enchant you. She will come, she will enchant you, and you will follow her against your will. Speaking thus, the Old Woman lit two candles on the table where some books were lying, banged the window shut and drew the curtain tightly across the window. The curtain rings scraped lightly along the bronze curtain rod, and the yellow linen of the curtain fluttered and once again lay motionless - and the room became cheerful, comfortable and peaceful. And it seemed that there was no longer any garden beyond the window, nor was there any sorcery in the world, and everything was simple, ordinary, and would remain so once and for all. ("The Poison Garden")
She was very ugly - the ugliest person you ever saw in your life! Her hair was scraped into a bun, sticking straight out at the back of her head like a teapot handle; and her face was round and wrinkly, and she had eyes like two little black boot-buttons. And her nose! - she had a nose like two potatoes. She wore a rusty black dress right up to the top of her neck and right down to her button boots, and a rusty black jacket and a rusty black bonnet, all trimmed with trembly black jet, with her teapot-handled of a bun sticky out at the back. And she carried a small brown case and a large black stick, and she had a very fierce expression indeed on her wrinkly, round, brown face. But what you noticed most of all was that she had one huge front Tooth, sticking right out like a tombstone over her lower lip. You never, in the whole of your life, ever saw such a Tooth!
All I know was that Dirva stayed with Liro in the days immediately after, and that it was Liro who slowly coaxed him back from the jaws of grief. Dirva had Liro, he had no one else, and it was then that I began to understand that the things we need from others make their own kind of sense, have their own logic, create their own legitimacy regardless of what we've been taught. If he hadn't had Liro, I am not sure Dirva would have been able to patch himself back together. I am grateful for this, but in the years since, I cannot help but wonder at the sacrifice it required of Liro. It is not easy to hold someone through their grief. It is hard to see someone you love in pain, in irreparable pain. It takes an extraordinary type of kindness, a rare patience, to let the loss run its course. We always want to help, but there are times when there is no help, and the pressure to take help only makes things harder on the ones trapped in mourning. I don't know what transpired between them. I don't. But I do know that Dirva left him without explanation, reappeared without warning, and that there was nothing for Liro to do but offer himself up. I never knew Liro well, but he seemed to me a very bright man. Like anyone who scraped a childhood by on the street and survived to adulthood, he had a watchfulness about him and an uncannily honed feel for other people. Liro knew the moment Dirva set foot in the City what he would need, and what he would take, and Liro let him take it anyway.