But the shadow settled on them, obliquely, and was shuffled off only when Danielle rose to put on music, a Spanish soprano singing Cantaloube, her pure, agonized strains floating, their minor harmonies wavering in the small room, as if to remind them both that beauty and loss were inseparably entwined.

But do you know this idea of the imaginary homeland? Once you set out from shore on your little boat, once you embark, you’ll never truly be at home again. What you’ve left behind exists only in your memory, and your ideal place becomes some strange imaginary concoction of all you’ve left behind at every stop.

who I am in my head, very few people really get to see that. Almost none. It’s the most precious gift I can give, to bring her out of hiding. Maybe I’ve learned it’s a mistake to reveal her at all.

Just because something is invisible doesn’t mean it isn’t there. At any given time, there are a host of invisibles floating among us. There are clairvoyants to see ghosts; but who sees the invisible emotions, the unrecorded events? Who is that sees love, more evanescent than any ghost, let alone can catch it? Who are you tell me that I don’t know what love is?

Marina, feeling entitled, never really asked herself if she was good enough. Whereas he, Julius, asked himself repeatedly, answered always in the affirmative, and marveled at the wider world’s apparent inability to see the light. He would have to show them.

My everyday Appleton life, my phones calls to my father, my occasional beers with friends, my Saturday-morning jobs around the reservoir – what was all that, but the opiated husk of a life, the treadmill of the ordinary, a cage built of convention and consumerism and obligation and fear, in which I’d lolled for decades, oblivious, like a lotus eater, as my body aged and time advanced?

An inchoate ball of ambition, Julius knew that he had soon, soon, to find something to be ambitious for; otherwise he risked terminal resentment, from which there was no return.

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