Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Quotes For Today

There were two passages from The Night Watch that I wanted to share, but last night I was so tired and just wanted to put the Book A Day to bed, that I didn't include them in my post.

In the first, Kay, an ambulance driver at the height of the war in London, comes home at the end of a particularly gruesome shift. Her lover, Helen, is already asleep:

At last she grew calm enough to finish her cigarette and sit more comfortably. When she was perfectly steady, and sure the express train wouldn't come back again, she'd go to bed. She mightn't sleep, for an hour or more. Instead, she'd lie and listen to Helen's steady breathing in the darkness. She might put her fingers to Helen's wrist, and feel for the miraculous tick-tick-ticking of her pulse.
I marked that paragraph because I do the same thing, not the whiskey drinking and smoking, but I do often sit with my two fingers on my RRHB's wrist listening to his pulse. I don't even know when or how I started it; it's something I do just to reassure myself that he's there, alive, ticking, literally. It's something that makes me feel safe, which is why this resonated with me so much. Kay, the strongest woman in the book, suffers silently for the most part, so true to herself in a world that wasn't necessarily ready to accept her, but still so valiant and brave to save every piece of it that she can.

The second passage that I marked has to do with Viv, a pregnant girl whose lover is a married soldier:
The window opened on to a courtyard. She could hear typing, the ring of telephones, from rooms on the floors above. If she listened carefully, too, she could just make out, beyond those sounds, the ordinary sounds of ignore Street and portmanteau Square: cars and taxis, and men and women going shopping, going out, going home from work. They were the sort of sounds, viva thought, that you heard a thousand times, and never noticed—just as when you were well, you never thought about being well, you could only really feel what it was like to be healthy for about a minute, when you stopped being sick. But when you were sick, it made you into a stranger, a foreigner in your own land. Everything that was simple and ordinary to everyone else became like an enemy to you. Your own body became like an enemy to you, plotting and scheming against you and setting traps...
How perfect is that quote for what my life is like these days?

1 comment:

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