He was often heard lamenting his metabolism and the fact that he could not lose weight. Yet it was difficult for people to make out exactly what he was saying, since this often occurred while his mouth was full of fried green tomatoes.
When she fell very ill, she wanted to go home, and would have gone home. But the fourteen hour flight back seemed as unfathomable as staying around, waiting it out, and carrying on.
When traveling, she loved the big cities without the best museums or theatres. There was something very comforting about generic urbanity: streets crowded with disgruntled locals late on their way somewhere else, the seeming superfluity of two of the same shops appearing on the same block, and the convenience of cheap cafes.
Anytime she was in Italy and ordered a cappuccino after ten a.m., the barristas heckled her mercilessly in their mother tongue and said amongst themselves she must be German. She always just barely restrained herself from explaining to them that she was not, in fact German, but rather she came from America: a land in which no one had the power to arbitrarily regulate what you could and could not drink at any given hour of the day.
She was saying everything he didn’t want to hear. But he hadn’t stopped listening.
He was completely exhausted and falling apart when he reached home. Although his first thoughts of the trip were painful impressions left by strangely uncomfortable moments, he felt contented when looking back over the photographs he had taken and could only attribute this to the inexplicable effects of nostalgia.
The local high school stated that the current economic crisis necessitated a shorter school week of longer days. With four empty, unsupervised Fridays a month, she predicted the teenage pregnancy rate would skyrocket.
“You’ve got to be a bit more like me,” Walter’s friend told him, “and get a stiff upper lip.”
“That lip’s about to be a lot stiffer,” Walter answered, “right after I punch you in the face.”
They ate chocolate in Bruges, cheese in Parma, and paella in Seville. At the end of the trip, they both agreed none of these was really markedly better than when they had eaten them at home.
He thought the language barrier worked the other way around. He tended to have much more success with women who couldn’t understand a word he was saying.
She asked her instructor whether or not Aeneas had ever really loved Dido, and he answered: “Yes, of course; but just because two people love each other doesn’t mean they’re good for each other.” She suddenly stopped hating her ex-boyfriend.
I sat there before my ex-lover’s new wife, knowing I looked like another world to her. I felt like an ambassador from a place she wished to know nothing about and I was fairly certain she hated my shoes.
They had tried everything to make their neighbor next door turn down his music—all to no avail. Now every time the walls began to throb with the night’s unsolicited soundtrack, they just looked at each other, spastically flung themselves around in a parody of passionate dance, and then got back to whatever they’d been doing before.
She overheard some girls gossiping about the too-short skirts she wore. For a moment, she was embarrassed but the next day she paired something skimpy with four-inch heels and dared them to roll their eyes.
Big, round tears rolled silently down her cheeks as she packed away all her belongings. She wasn’t sad to leave, she just didn’t want to go home.
His parents felt very guilty about having exposed him to so many of their arguments and wondered how much they had damaged him. He saw things differently: all those years spent trying to understand both sides of the story were what led him to become a lawyer.
She rushed to fill her new home with fine furniture, antiques, and paintings. When the house went into foreclosure, she felt doubly depressed thinking she could have afforded to keep it with simpler furnishings and actually lost it by trying to perfect it.
He couldn’t comprehend the fuss over uniqueness in art or the commonly-held belief that what was repetitive was mechanistic, common, and of little value. He considered the fact that eating, drinking, pissing, and bathing were daily occurrences as proof that repetition could also be deeply human and an invaluable necessity for our continued existence.
Allison was terrified she might be pregnant when Bridget stepped in with a quick run to CVS for a pregnancy test, with so many hugs while Allison cried, with clothes when Allison’s swelling belly could no longer be contained by her own dresses and pants.
After the baby was delivered, Allison couldn’t stand the sight of Bridget anymore because it reminded her of her weakest moments and her deepest shame.
His parents sent him to a religious school where weekly chapel held in a massive gym was mandatory. By accident, one day he discovered the world beneath the bleachers where all the disenfranchised students slept or studied undisturbed during the hour of singing and sermons.