Why does one begin to write? Because she feels misunderstood, I guess. Because it never comes out clearly enough when she tries to speak. Because she wants to rephrase the world, to take it in and give it back again differently, so that everything is used and nothing is lost. Because it's something to do to pass the time until she is old enough to experience the things she writes about.
At times I believed that the last page of my book and the last page of my life were one and the same, that when my book ended I'd end, a great wind would sweep through my rooms carrying the pages away, and when the air cleared of all those fluttering white sheets the room would be silent, the chair where I sat empty.
The fear of death haunted me for a year. I cried whenever anyone dropped a glass or broke a picture. But even then that passed, I was left with a sadness that couldn't be rubbed off. It wasn't that something had happened. It was worse: I'd become aware of what had been with me all along without my notice. I dragged this new awareness around like a stone tied to my ankle. Wherever I went, it followed. I used to make up little sad songs in my head. I eulogized the falling leaves. I imagined my death in a hundred different ways, but the funeral was always the same: from somewhere in my imagination, out rolled a red carpet. Because after every secret death I died, my greatness was always discovered.
Maybe the first time you saw her you were ten. She was standing in the sun scratching her legs. Or tracing letters in the dirt with a stick. Her hair was being pulled. Or she was pulling someone's hair. And a part of you was drawn to her, and a part of you resisted--wanting to ride off on your bicycle, kick a stone, remain uncomplicated. In the same breath you felt the strength of a man, and a self-pity that made you feel small and hurt. Part of you thought: Please don't look at me. If you don't, I can still turn away. And part of you thought: Look at me.
Once upon a time, there was a boy. He lived in a village that no longer exists, in a house that no longer exists, on the edge of a field that no longer exists, where everything was discovered, and everything was possible. A stick could be a sword, a pebble could be a diamond, a tree, a castle. Once upon a time, there was a boy who lived in a house across the field, from a girl who no longer exists. They made up a thousand games. She was queen and he was king. In the autumn light her hair shone like a crown. They collected the world in small handfuls, and when the sky grew dark, and they parted with leaves in their hair.Once upon a time there was a boy who loved a girl, and her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering.
15. WHENEVER I WENT OUT TO PLAY, MY MOTHER WANTED TO KNOW EXACTLY WHERE I WAS GOING TO BEWhen I'd come in, she'd call me into her bedroom, take me in her arms, and cover me with kisses. She'd stroke my hair and say, 'I love you so much,' and when I sneezed she'd say, 'Bless you, you know how much I love you, don't you?' and when I got up for a tissue she'd say, 'Let me get that for you I love you so much,' and when I looked for a pen to do my homework she'd say, 'Use mine, anything for you,' and when I had an itch on my leg she'd say, 'Is this the spot, let me hug you,' and when I said I was going up to my room she'd call after me, 'What can I do for you I love you so ,' and I always wanted to say, but never said: Love me less.