Most people carry that pain around inside them their whole lives, until they kill the pain by other means, or until it kills them. But you, my friends, you found another way: a way to use the pain. To burn it as fuel, for light and warmth. You have learned to break the world that has tried to break you.
She still had her bad days, no question, when the black dog of depression sniffed her out and settled its crushing weight on her chest and breathed its pungent dog breath in her face. On those days she called in sick to the IT shop where, most days, she untangled tangled networks for a song. On those days she pulled down the shades and ran dark for twelve or twenty-four or seventy-two hours, however long it took for the black dog to go on home to its dark master.
Like wine, Provençal magic had its own distinctive terroir. It was rich and chaotic and romantic. It was a night-magic, confabulated out of moons and silver, wine and blood, knights and fairies, wind and rivers and forests. It concerned itself with good and evil but also with the vast intermediate realm in between, the realm of mischief.
As a teenager in Brooklyn Quentin had often imagined himself engaged in martial heroics, but after this he knew, as a cold immutable fact, that he would do anything necessary, sacrificing whatever or whomever he had to, to avoid risking exposure to physical violence. Shame never came into it. He embraced his new identity as a coward. He would run in the other direction. He would lie down and cry and put his arms over his head or play dead. It didn't matter what he had to do, he would do it and be glad.