9. “Outside the window, one lone car passed and threw a violent blast of rainwater over the sidewalk. It was a storm, by now. Looking at that rain, I was falling deeply in love with our warm bar. What could you do, with a world like that? I was in love with every minute of being alive even as I floundered.”
12. “You will be my favorite ex,” I whispered in his ear. “I’ll be your fifth former wife. We’ll mutter crazy dreams together then apart, but you will always be with me.” His breath was warm and so very human, not demonic at all. He said, “Don’t break my nose.” I said, “I won’t even break your heart.”
13. “What I feel in that kitchen is the way humans are so flawed and so perfect, and I want to share bodies. You know your old dog? That’s how I feel – I want to climb on people, breathe their breath, lick the inside of stranger’s mouths. I don’t know these two, but who do we ever know, really, past the skin? How do we get there?”
16. “In the middle of a wrist’s suicide slash-line, below the layered skin and above the pulse, there’s an acupuncture point that says, Get back to who you were meant to be. This is the heart spot, the center. Your whole life the skin on that place will stay closest to being a baby’s skin, as close as you can get anymore to the way you started, the way you once thought you’d always be.”
22. “The day Travis met Lu he was in his best suit – dark blue, pinstripes, a necktie. Women his age would see right through his sweat and pretense. Any woman his age, she’d say, “What, you work at Men’s Warehouse now?” Yeah, a woman would know a cheap suit was like an easy costume, but the girls didn’t catch on.”
25. “Where we grew up, we didn’t learn how to live. We learned how to bury the land, seal life off. There was an unacknowledged backdrop to being a kid on land that was fast turning into strip malls, when you loved trees and a silent corporate presence kept showing up to knock the trees down. It was the helpless sense that everything you ever loved could be destroyed, without debate.”
26. “And she thought, Who the hell are you, Mister? But his eyes were blue and his hair was thick, and his arms were strong and sinewy. He had a Nevada tan, desert tan, wherever he’d been living, wherever he sometimes went. He was gorgeous, that hothead. She put an orange segment in her mouth, held it out toward his mouth, leaned in, rolled on top of him, her body over his, and he bit into the orange, gulped it even, made his mouth ready for more, for her, like he’d been starving.”
27. “Come with me, Mack,” I said. “Back to my place.” I tried to pull my hand back. Our fingers were intertwined like those bloody hospital robes. I didn’t mind, even when he scared me a little. The blood that kept us alive was trapped just under our skin, racing through veins. All those cells inside and out were fighting for a way to move closer together, beyond the trap of skin, dependent on breath.”
28. “The Arboretum’s overgrown grass rustled. The branches of an apple tree shook as though an animal had jumped from one to the next. A wind slid up my thighs, in the night, under my short nightgown. Crickets and cicadas made a sound like distant laughing children, the laugh track to a sitcom that didn’t end. It was like the grass was full of tiny giggling babies. So beautiful, and creepy.”
29. “My head was so light. Wind sang through the field grass. The same wind brushed hair off my face, soft as my mother’s hand, and when the falling snow started to clump into flakes, each thick flake came down with the love of a frozen kiss, like somebody was saving up, freezing their warm love for later.”
30. “When I stand around all day, into the afternoon, I start to feel like a good bike pulled to the curb. I’m every car that’s ever idled, a motorcycle gulping its own exhaust, lurching toward open road. I’m paid to stand, and I get this feeling my body is waiting for my mind to figure out what I’m supposed to do with being alive.”
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