18. Your life is before you. Be careful of the choices you make now that you could regret later. This regret is the subject of an old poem whose author has been forgotten. I hope you’ll never have reason to apply it to yourself.

Across the fields of yesterday,
He sometimes comes to me
A little lad just back from play-
The boy I used to be.
He looks at me so wistfully
When once he’s crept within;
It is as if he hoped to see
The man I might have been.

Some people’s self-esteem was secretly improved when they discovered that their then-lovers had killed themselves over them.

It was snowing when I got off the bus at Flax Hill. Not quite regular snowfall, not exactly a blizzard. This is how it was: The snow came down heavily, settled for about a minute, then the wind moved it – more rolled it, really – onto another target. One minute you were covered in snow, then it sped off sideways, as if a brisk, invisible giant had taken pity and brushed you down.

In a patriarchal society, one of the most important functions of the institution of the family is to make feel like a somebody whenever he is in his own yard a man who is a nobody whenever he is in his employer’s yard.

1 2 3