One of pleasures of parenting, future reader: parent can positively influence kid, make moment kid will remember for rest of life, moment that alters his/her trajectory, opens up his/her heart + mind.
Then I’m a paunchy guy in a room, with a note pinned to his sleeve:
“You were alone in the world,” it says, “and did a kindness for someone in need. Good for you. Now post this module, and follow this map to the home of Mrs. Ken Schwartz. Care for her with some big money that will come in the mail. Find someone to love. Your heart has never been broken. You’ve never done anything unforgivable or hurt anyone beyond reparation. Everyone you’ve ever loved you’ve treated like gold.
The time he’d cheated on Syl, Syl had seen through him, broken off their engagement, and cheated on him with Charles, which had fried his ass possibly worse than any single other ass frying he’d ever had, in a life that, it recently seemed, was simply a series of escalating ass fries.
If they ever get around to building The Short Story Museum, I think they’d better carve this over the doorway: ‘A short story works to remind us that if we are not sometimes baffled and amazed and undone by the world around us, rendered speechless and stunned, perhaps we are not paying close enough attention.
I was back to feeling myself which, believe me, is no picnic.
Why were we made just so, to find so many things that happened every day pretty?
Ma was out back, head in hands, weaving in and out of her heaped-up crap. It was both melodramatic and not. I mean, when Ma feels something deeply, that’s what she does: melodrama. Which makes it, I guess, not melodrama?
The thing about girls? Suzanne said. Is we are more content-driven.
Don’t be afraid to be confused. Try to remain permanently confused. Anything is possible. Stay open, forever, so open it hurts, and then open up some more, until the day you die, world without end, amen.
Then, the massive hands lifted the new people up to a pair of giant indescribable lips and whispered, in a fundamentally untranslatable Creator-language, something that meant, approximately: THIS TIME, BE KIND TO ONE ANOTHER. REMEMBER: EACH OF YOU WANTS TO BE HAPPY. AND I WANT YOU TO. EACH OF YOU WANTS TO LIVE FREE FROM FEAR. AND I WANT YOU TO. EACH OF YOU ARE SECRETLY AFRAID YOU ARE NOT GOOD ENOUGH. BUT YOU ARE, TRUST ME, YOU ARE.