Why did popular songs always focus on romantic love? Why this preoccupation with first meetings, sad partings, honeyed kisses, heartbreak, when life was also full of children’s births and trips to the shore and longtime jokes with friends? Once Maggie had seen on TV where archaeologists had just unearthed a fragment of music from who knows how many centuries B.C., and it was a boys lament for a girl who didn’t love him back. Then besides the songs there were the magazine stories and the novels and the movies, even the hair-spray ads and the pantyhose ads. It struck Maggie as disproportionate. Misleading, in fact.
And she thought what a clean, simple life she would have led if it weren’t for love.
‘Reading is the first to go,’ my mother used to say, meaning that it was a luxury the brain dispensed with under duress. She claimed that after my father died she never again picked up anything more demanding than the morning paper. At the time I had thought that was sort of melodramatic of her, but now I found myself reading the same paragraph six times over, and I still couldn’t have told you what it was about.
Once upon a time, there was a woman who discovered she had turned into the wrong person.
It’s hard being a man. Have you ever thought about that? Anything that’s bothering them, men think they have to hide it. They think they should seem in charge, in control; they don’t dare show their true feelings. No matter if they’re hurting or desperate or stricken with grief, if they’re heartsick or they’re homesick or some huge dark guilt is hanging over them or they’re about to fail big-time at something—‘Oh, I’m okay,’ they say. ‘Everything’s just fine.’
You know why I like to talk to you, Delia? You never interrupt with your experiences. Not jiggling your foot till you get a chance to jump in with your life history.
The very thing that attracts you to someone can end up putting you off.
When I get up in the morning I think, boy, only fourteen more hours and I can be back to sleep again
He was wondering if there was some cryptic, cultish mark on his door that told all the crazy people he’d have trouble saying no.
She loved them so much that she felt a kind of hollowness on the inner surface of her arms whenever she looked at them–an ache of longing to pull them close and hold them tight against her.