When it's gone, you'll know what a gift love was. You'll suffer like this. So go back and fight to keep it.
The anticipation and dread he felt at seeing her was also a kind of sensual pleasure, and surrounding it, like an embrace, was a general elation--it might hurt, it was horribly inconvenient, no good might come of it, but he had found out for himself what it was to be in love, and it thrilled him.
Finally he spoke the three simple words that no amount of bad art or bad faith can every quite cheapen. She repeated them, with exactly the same slight emphasis on the second word, as though she were the one to say them first. He had no religious belief, but it was impossible not to think of an invisible presence or witness in the room, and that these words spoken aloud were like signatures on an unseen contract.
The cost of oblivious daydreaming was always this moment of return, the realignment with what had been before and now seemed a little worse.
If life was a dream, then dying must be the moment when you woke up. It was so simple it must be true. You died, the dream was over, you woke up. That's what people meant when they talked about going to heaven. It was like waking up.
He knew these last lines by heart and mouthed them now in the darkness. My reason for life. Not living, but life. That was the touch. And she was his reason for life, and why he must survive.
There's a taste in the air, sweet and vaguely antiseptic, that reminds him of his teenage years in these streets, and of a general state of longing, a hunger for life to begin that from this distance seems like happiness.
Above all, she wanted to look as though she had not given the matter a moment's thought, and that would take time.
He would work through the night and sleep until lunch. There wasn't really much else to do. Make something, and die.
He saw it for the first time: on the day he died he would be wearing unmatching socks, there would be unanswered e-mails, and in the hovel he called home there would still be shirts missing cuff buttons, a malfunctioning light in the hall, and unpaid bills, uncleared attics, dead flies, friends waiting for a reply and lovers he had not owned up to.
A story was a form of telepathy. By means of inking symbols onto a page, she was able to send thoughts and feelings from her mind to her reader's. It was a magical process, so commonplace that no one stopped to wonder at it.
At that moment, the urge to be writing was stronger than any notion she had of what she might write.
The childhood of a spoiled prince could be framed within half a page, a moonlit dash through sleepy villages was one rhythmically emphatic sentence, falling in love could be achieved in a single word - a glance. The pages of a recently finished story seemed to vibrate in her hand with all the life they contained.
She had lolled about for three years at Girton with the kind of books she could equally have read at home--Jane Austen, Dickens, Conrad, all in the library downstairs, in complete sets. How had that pursuit, reading the novels that others took as their leisure, let her think she was superior to anyone else?
For children, childhood is timeless. It is always the present. Everything is in the present tense. Of course, they have memories. Of course, time shifts a little for them and Christmas comes round in the end. But they don’t feel it. Today is what they feel, and when they say ‘When I grow up,’ there is always an edge of disbelief—how could they ever be other than what they are?
He was thinking of that time, the way one does on long journeys when rootlessness and boredom, lack of sleep or routine can summon from out of nowhere random stretches of the past, make them as real as a haunting. --Solar
At best he read popular science magazines like the Scientific American he had now, to keep himself up-to-date, in layman's terms, with physics generally. But even then his concentration was marred, for a lifetime's habit made him inconveniently watchful for his own name. He saw it as if in bold. It could leap out at him from an unread double page of small print, and sometimes he could sense it coming before the page turn.
These memories sustained him, but not so easily. Too often they reminded him of where he was when he last summoned them. They lay on the far side of a great divide in time, as significant as B.C. and A.D. Before prison, before the war, before the sight of a corpse became a banality.
She knew enough to recognize that memories were crowding in, and there was nothing he could do. They wouldn’t let him speak. She would never know what scenes were driving that turmoil.
This was when he first suspected that the kindly child-loving God extolled by his headmistress might not exist. As it turned out, most major world events suggested the same. But for Theo’s sincerely godless generation, the question hasn’t come up. No one in his bright, plate-glass, forward-looking school ever asked him to pray, or sing an impenetrable cheery hymn. There’s no entity for him to doubt. His initiation, in front of the TV, before the dissolving towers, was intense but he adapted quickly. These days he scans the papers for fresh developments the way he might a listings magazine. As long as there’s nothing new, his mind is free. International terror, security cordons, preparations for war — these represent the steady state, the weather. Emerging into adult consciousness, this is the world he finds.
I've heard it argued that long ago pain begat consciousness...Adversity forced awareness on us, and it works, it bites us when we go too near the fire, when we love too hard. Those felt sensations are the beginning of the invention of the self...God said, Let there be pain. And there was poetry. Eventually.
Adversity forced awareness on us, and it works, it bites us when we go too near the fire, when we love too hard. Those felt sensations are the beginning of the invention of the self. And if that works, why not feeling disgust for shit, fearing the cliff edge and strangers, remembering insults and favours, liking sex and food? God said, Let there be pain. And there was poetry. Eventually.
When he thought of her, it rather amazed him, that he had let that girl with her violin go. Now, of course, he saw that her self-effacing proposal was quite irrelevant. All she had needed was the certainty of his love, and his reassurance that there was no hurry when a lifetime lay ahead of them. Love and patience- if only he had had them both at once- would surely have seen them both through.
When love dies and marriage lies in ruins, the first casualty is honest memory, decent, impartial recall of the past. Too inconvenient, too damning of the present. It's the spectre of old happiness at the feast of failure and desolation. So, against that headwind of forgetfulness I want to place my little candle of truth and see how far it throws its light.
Dearest Cecilia, You’d be forgiven for thinking me mad, the way I acted this afternoon. The truth is I feel rather light headed and foolish in your presence, Cee, and I don’t think I can blame the heat.
Either I've always spoken to her from the heart in times like this, or I never have and I don't know what it means.
She had not thought it would be so easy to slip into the old roles. Cambridge had changed her fundamentally and she thought she was immune. No one in her family, however, noticed the transformation in her, and she was not able to resist the power of their habitual expectations.
When the wounded were screaming, you dreamed of sharing a little house somewhere, of an ordinary life, of a family line, connection. All around him, men were walking silently with their thoughts, reforming their lives, making resolutions. If I ever get out of this lot... They could never be counted, the dreamed-up children, mentally conceived on the walk into Dunkirk, and later made flesh.
They were beyond the present, outside time, with no memories and no future. There was nothing but obliterating sensation, thrilling and swelling, and the sound of fabric on fabric and skin on fabric as their limbs slid across each other in this restless, sensuous wrestling. ... They moved closer, deeper and then, for seconds on end, everything stopped. Instead of an ecstatic frenzy, there was stillness. They were stilled not by the astonishing fact of arrival, but by an awed sense of return - they were face to face in the gloom, staring into what little they could see of each other's eyes, and now it was the impersonal that dropped away.
Sex is a different medium, refracting time and sense, a biological hyperspace as remote from conscious existence as dreams, or as water is from air
But soon I loved her completely and wished to possess her, own her, absorb her, eat her. I wanted her in my arms and in my bed, I longed she would open her legs to me