Maybe I was destined to forever fall in love with people I couldn’t have. Maybe there’s a whole assortment of impossible people waiting for me to find them. Waiting to make me feel the same impossibility over and over again.
Nothing had changed. I was the stupid one again. I was the girl who never understood who she was to people.
I need to figure out the secret. I need to work out how to keep things flying back to me instead of always flying away.
That's the difference between you and Greta. She has better things to do. She gets involved in clubs, activities. She has friends. But you? You slump around in that room of yours--
I used to think maybe I wanted to become a falconer, and now I'm sure of it, because I need to figure out the secret. I need to work out how to keep things flying back to me instead of always flying away.
You could try to believe what you wanted, but it never worked. Your brain and your heart decided what you were going to believe and that was that. Whether you liked it or not.
I like the word clandestine. It feels medieval. Sometimes I think of words as being alive. If clandestine were alive, it would be a pale little girl with hair the color of fall leaves and a dress as white as the moon.
It's the most unhappy people who want to stay alive, because they think they haven't done everything they want to do. They think they haven't had enough time. They feel they've been shortchanged.
I suppose I'm in that very small group of people who are not waiting for their own story to unfold. If my life was a film, I'd have walked out by now.
But you don't know what it was like. It was just the two of us that afternoon, and then . . . and then it was just me.
When people mentioned it to me, they thought they were talking about some casual relative of mine. For most people that's what an uncle was. They had no idea how I felt about Finn. No idea that hearing them talk about AIDS, like that was the important part of the story--more important than who Finn was, or how much I loved him, or how much he was still breaking my heart every single hour of every single day--made me want to scream.
If you close your eyes when you sing in Latin, and if you stand right at the back so you can keep one hand against the cold stone wall of the church, you can pretend you're in the Middle Ages. That's why I did it. That's what I was in it for.
People didn’t know everything then. There were things people had never seen before. Places nobody had ever been. You could make up a story and people would believe it...also maybe it seems like it would be okay not to be perfect. Nobody was perfect back then. Just about everyone was defective, and most people had no choice except to stay that way.
I stared hard, trying to find a pattern. Thinking if I kept looking hard enough, maybe the pieces of the world would fit back together into something I could understand.
...I felt the wall between the world of secrets and the real world start to collapse. I felt the girls from the portrait becoming us and us becoming them...
There was a flicker of something in Greta's look. I couldn't tell whether it was a flicker of love or regret or meanness.
…there’s just something beautiful about walking on snow that nobody else has walked on. It makes you believe you’re special, even though you know you’re not.
The day my mother gave us the keys, she also made me and Greta sign a form so that the bank knew our signatures. To get in we had to show our key and sign something so they would know it was really us. I was worried that my signature wouldn't look the same. I wasn't sure when that thing would happen that made it so you always signed your name exactly the same, but it hadn't happened to me yet. So far I'd only had to sign something three times. Once for a code of conduct for the eighth grade field trip to Philadelphia, once for a pact I made with Beans and Frances Wykoski in fifth grade that we'd never have boyfriends until high school. (Of the three of us, I'm the only one who kept that pact.)
Maybe you had to be dying to finally get to do what you wanted.I fidgeted around with the puzzle pieces for a while longer, but I wasn't lucky. Nothing seemed to fit without a whole lot of work.Then I had this thought: What if it was enough to realize that you would die someday, that none of this would go on forever? Would that be enough?
I really wondered why people were always doing what they didn't like doing. It seemed like life was a sort of narrowing tunnel. Right when you were born, the tunnel was huge. You could be anything. Then, like, the absolute second you were born, the tunnel narrowed down to about half the size. . . . I figured that, on the day you died, the tunnel would be so narrow, you'd have squeezed yourself in with so many choices, that you just got squashed.
Then, who is Matilda?' I asked.Toby tilted his cup and poked at the slush with his straw. 'I suppose Matilda's the girl who felt like home.
I dream about people who don't need to have sex to know they love each other. I dream about people who would only ever kiss you on the cheek.
But they gave me Finn. He said it like maybe it was worth the trade. Like it was something he would do again if he had the choice. Like he would take a man's legs and give away years of his own freedom if it was the only way. I thought how that was wrong and terrible and beautiful all at the same time.
That's the secret. If you always make sure you're exactly the person you hoped to be, if you always make sure you know only the very best people, then you won't care if you die tomorrow.
I told my mother he looked like a deflated balloon. Greta said he looked like a small gray moth wrapped in a spider's web. That's because everything about Greta is more beautiful, even the way she says things.
They segued into a more general piece about AIDS. As usual, they started out with footage of some kind of sweaty nightclub in the city with a bunch of gay men dancing around in stupid leather outfits. I couldn't even begin to imagine Finn dancing the night away like some kind of half-dressed cowboy. It would have been nice if for once they show some guys sitting in their living rooms drinking tea and talking about art or movies or something. If they showed that, then maybe people would say, Oh, okay, that's not so strange.