“Everyone is exceptional in one thing.”
“Only idiots believe something like that.”
“Yeah, well, I can eat a whole bag of cookies like it was nothing.” “I tell myself it’s going to be just two or three. I eat those and then another. And then the row, the entire row, and I put the bag back. I sit down for like a minute, less than that, and go back and eat another row. It’s half gone then. It seems right to leave it like that. It’s supposed to be just another row because there’s supposed to be another row after that. And there isn’t. I’ve eaten them all.”
I can see in the dark, you know. I’ve been here for quite a while.*
*Mr. Robinson to Benjamin in Mike Nichols’ The Graduate
She was hiding under the covers and then I was under her dress, tucked against her breasts. She tried to push me away but she liked it too much, her body taut, pushing into my face and then pulling away. I loved her like that, her lips and breasts, her hips rolling up, so bent on the edge. I liked that emptiness, holding that demand in me, hard, and I couldn’t stop.She was still wearing her panties and part of her top, or at least I thought she was, and saw her lean away, her face go to one side, eyes closed as she lifted her knees and grabbed my shoulder. I was frozen, seeing her like that, pent up, wanting to explode, me wanting nothing but that, to be there, my hand down her stomach, pulling at her top and breasts, down onto her hips, pulling her panties down, all of her naked, she turning around, pushing back, wiggling, hanging on in a desperate act, burning, her back arched and pulling me inside. It was terrifying – for a moment anyway – how much I liked it.
“When I was a kid…” Davis trailed off. “I was in the bathroom, brushing my teeth, and I pulled down my underwear, and saw this brown stain. I didn’t know what to do. I mean, I was six or something, come on. I knew I shouldn’t have done it. And I felt so bad. You have no idea. I didn’t want my mother to see. I pulled them back up. I wanted to wash them out, but I didn’t know how to do that. I changed out of them and went down to the laundry room. I was going to stuff them in the bottom of the laundry basket, and she was there, like this terrible magic. “‘What are you doing? You have to get ready for bed.’ I froze. I couldn’t even bend my knees. And she saw. She didn’t say anything. Nothing. She just looked at the stain. And then she left. She never said anything. I couldn’t sleep and didn’t want to go down for breakfast. I wanted until the last possible minute, hoping she wouldn’t be there. But she was. And still, she said nothing. And I went to school. She wasn’t the same with me after that. Or maybe it was me. She didn’t kiss me goodnight.” He stood up abruptly, looking like he needed to get sober. “Anyone need a drink? I need a drink.”
As far as the writing itself is concerned it takes next to no time at all. Much too much is written every day of our lives. We are overwhelmed by it. But when at times we see through the welter of evasive or interested patter, when by chance we penetrate to some moving detail of a life, there is always time to bang out a few pages.The thing isn’t to find the time for it – we waste hours every day doing absolutely nothing at all – the difficulty is to catch the evasive life of the thing, to phrase the words in such a way that stereotype will yield a moment of insight.
Anori moments heaped together like rocks in a caldera:
“The trail just fucking vanished.” Ethan had turned around, oblivious to the blood streaming down his thigh.
“I’m too old for this shit.” She grabbed at Apollo stupidly. “I’m not letting my cat, my longest fucking relationship that I will ever have, fall down into a fucking death like this. It’s such fucking bullshit.”
She missed her next grip and slipped forward, losing everything in her head, suddenly connected to nothing, about to fall into nothingness, and swung horribly on the rope and banged her face into the cliff. “You are the misunderstood adventurer, is that it, Ethan? You’ve sailed around the world looking for yourself and found cold and misery instead.”
He unwrapped the paper from another sandwich. “This spot is perfect. Maybe one of your iguanas will wander in.”
Dee was happily tired, oddly so, looking out over the volcano, thinking that life had ended or might go on forever.
The sound came up with the morning’s milky grey light – the birds’ songs like half played wooden flutes, a voice from a far-off radio, talking and then in song, the distant chopping of branches and trees and the imagined first hiss of the fire’s first heat, the whirr of a motor, a car or a generator, the cough of a grandmother, the crying baby needing to be fed, the sporadic confused rooster, starting and stopping again. and then the first chants from the pagoda high on the hill – all of these one.