317. “When they were introduced, he made a witticism, hoping to be liked. She laughed extremely hard, hoping to be liked. Then each drove home alone, staring straight ahead, with the very same twist to their faces. The man who’d introduced them didn’t much like either of them, though he acted as if he did, anxious as he was to preserve good relations at all times. One never knew, after all, now did one now did one now did one.”
319. “Two dry mouths bumping at each other, trying to kiss, his self-conscious thoughts twisting around on themselves like a snake on a stick while he bucked and snorted dryly above her, his swollen eyes red and his face sagging so that its slack folds maybe touched, limply, the folds of her own loose sagging face as it sloshed back and forth on his pillow, its mouth working dryly. The thought was repellent.”
322. “It’s one of those unpleasant opioid feverish half-sleep states, more a fugue-state than a sleep-state, less a floating than like being cast adrift on rough seas, tossed mightily in and out of this half-sleep where your mind’s still working and you can ask yourself whether you’re asleep even as you dream. And any dreams you do have seem ragged at the edges, gnawed on, incomplete.”
326. “In short, not only was it surprising to be greeted in person with such enthusiastic words, but it was doubly surprising when the person reciting these words displayed the same kind of disengagement as, say, the checkout clerk who utters the words ‘Have a nice day’ while her expression indicates that it’s really a matter of total indifference to her whether you drop dead in the parking lot outside ten seconds from now.”
329. “What if there was something essentially wrong with Claude Sylvanshine that wasn’t wrong with other people? What if he was simple ill-suited, the way some people are born without limbs or certain organs? The neurology of failure. What if he was simply born and destined to live in the shadow of Total Fear and Despair, and all his so-called activities were pathetic attempts to distract him from the inevitable?”
330. “But what of Lenore, of Lenore’s hair? Here is hair that is clearly within and of itself every color – blond and red and jet-black-blue and honeynut – but which effects an outward optical compromise with possibility that consists of appearing simply dull brown, save for brief teasing glimpses out of the corner of one’s eye.”
349. “What if I told you she could because she’s had this happen and she totally knows it’s possible to be just a thing but just like Victor Frankl that every minute from then on minute by minute if you want you can choose to be more if you want, you can choose to be a human being and have it mean something? Then what would you say?”
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