Sunday, September 11, 2011
185. the LOVER'S DICTIONARY
I read this in between two giant, wordy books. Because of this, I was amazed that such a short novel, consisting of seemingly-random definition of words, could contain such a poignant love story.
"I don't normally do this kind of thing," you said.
"Neither do I," I assured you. ...
Measure the hope of that moment, that feeling.
Everything else will be measured against it.(opening word)
Love is a kind of abstraction. And then there are those nights when I sleep alone, when I curl into a pillow that isn't you, when I hear the tiptoe sounds that aren't yours. It's not as if I can conjure you there completely. I must embrace the idea of you instead.(5)
There are times when I doubt everything. When I regret everything you've taken from me, everything I've given you, and the waste of all the time I've spent on us.(6)
I want my books to have their own shelves," you said, and that's how I knew it would be okay to live together.(22)
I love the vagueness of words that involve time. ...
It is easy for me to say it took me awhile to know. That is about as accurate as I can get. There were sneak previews of knowing, for sure. Instances that made me feel, oh, this could be right. But the moment I shifted from a hope that needed to be proven to a certainty that would be continually challenged? There's no pinpointing that.
Perhaps it never happened. Perhaps it happened while I was asleep. Most likely, there's no single event. There's just the steady accumulation of awhile.(24)
There has to be a moment at the beginning when you wonder whether you're in love with the person or in love with the feeling of love itself.
If the moment doesn't pass, that's it -- you're done.
And if the moment does pass, it never goes that far. It stands in the distance, ready for whenever you want it back. Sometimes it's even there when you thought you were searching for something else, like an escape route, or your lover's face.(28)
I spent all this time building a relationship. Then one night I left the window open, and it started to rust.(64)
Really, we should use this more as a verb. You daunted me, and I daunted you. Or would it be that I was daunted by you, and you were daunted by me? That sounds better. ... The key is to never recognize these imbalances. To not let the dautingness daunt us.(67)
The natural state. Our moods change. Our lives change. Our feeling for each other change. Our bearings change. The song changes. The air changes. The temperature of the shower changes.
Accept this. We must accept this.(98)
These words will ultimately end up being the barest of reflections, devoid of the sensations words cannot convey. Trying to write about love is ultimately like trying to have a dictionary represent life. No matter how many words there are, there will never be enough.(120)
It scares me how hard it is to remember life before you. I can't even make the comparisons anymore, because my memories of that time have all the depth of a photograph. It seems foolish to play games of better and worse. It's simply a matter of is and is no longer.(128)
I try not to think about us growing old together, mostly because I try not to think about growing old at all. Both things -- the years passing, the years together -- are too enormous to contemplate. But one morning, I gave in. You were asleep, and I imagined you older and older. Your hair graying, your skin folded and creased, your breath catching. And I found myself thinking: If this continues, if this goes on, then when I die, your memories of me will be my greatest accomplishment. Your memories will be my most lasting impression.(161)
Cue the imaginary interviewer:
Q: So when all is said and done, what have you learned here?
A: The key to a successful relationship isn't just in the words, it's the choice of punctuation. When you're in love with someone, a well-placed question mark can be the difference between bliss and disaster, and a deeply respected period or a cleverly inserted ellipsis can prevent all kinds of exclamations.(162)
First Edition, 2011
Book borrowed from the library
Book qualifies for: 100+ Reading Challenge
Book idea from Rummanah @ Books in the Spotlight. Thanks! I should have read it sooner than I did. Her convincing review is HERE