She didn’t mind when he stared at the photo and blurted out, “This looks nothing like you!” She did mind when he added, “It’s hot.”
When she first visited Athens, she was surprised—not by the ruins, they were exactly as she had expected them to be, but by the rest of it. For all the quaint charm of the dusty agora and its tumbled columns with flowers growing up in between the cracks and butterflies hovering poetically over them, a ten minutes’ walk in any direction, and you might think for a moment you were on a dingy street in Philadelphia or Detroit.
He dreaded his birthday. He couldn’t help making an unconscious tally every year of who phoned or e-mailed and who didn’t and he preferred not to be so painfully aware of which friends and family members didn’t care enough to remember.
I do, in fact, have a moral compass. I just haven’t fine-tuned it yet.
She read that Nietzsche went insane and clutched the neck of a horse being mercilessly flogged by an irate coach driver. She could never understand why it was Nietzsche and not the coach driver who got hauled off to the asylum.
He got into nonprofit work because he loved people. He got out of nonprofit work because he hated people.
When they married, he was four times her age but they got along marvelously. Then some asshole invented Viagra.
She grew up on Disney movies, Jane Austen novels, and romantic comedies. She was disappointed, during her first kiss, to discover that the human tongue felt strangely like a giant slug in her mouth.
She was not the jealous type and never suspected him of infidelity. All the same, she was morbidly curious about his former lovers—what kind of panties they wore, what they looked like, how smart they were, what sexual techniques they had—and couldn’t bear the thought of being inferior to them in any way.
I’m glad you couldn’t see me on the phone. I cried silently every time you were talking.
Even though she loved the man she slept beside, she sometimes dreamt of someone else from her past. So her waking heart and sleeping mind were always at war.
He laughed every time he saw a statue in a park or square. At some point in time, a critical mass of the general public had so admired this person, that they immortalized him by erecting a figure to be shat upon by passing birds for centuries to come.
He worked out constantly and felt sure she was with him for his manly, rugged good looks. But she fell in love only after seeing his awkward teenage photos hidden away in a family album.
I used to fantasize that Zach would go on “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” get made over for me, and ask over the special dinner Ted taught him to make if I can ever forgive him for having been so stupid as to turn me down, he was just scared, et cetera, and now he’s realized his mistake and agonized over it, and will I give him a second chance?
Sometimes I would say no and sometimes yes, but invariably, all the Queer Eye guys gasped while watching the clip when I came on the screen and each exclaimed, “Oh she’s delightful,” then another “delicious,” and another “de-lovely!”
She was deep in discussion with the philosophy professor when his wife called. After hanging up the phone with a grimace, he told the student never to get married: “It’s like saying to someone, ‘I love you so much, I want to trap you for the rest of your life!’”
Everyone thought she refused to date him because she was “afraid of ruining the friendship.” But back when they barely knew each other, she had watched him throw himself at another girl; and she hated the thought of taking somebody’s leftovers or of being Plan B.
Many miles away from home, she bent over to pet a scruffy cat with a needful meow. But her comfort-giving backfired when the cat followed several feet behind her more than twenty blocks through the rain before finally giving up on a new friendship.
Some people suggested that I move to another town. But there’s a strange comfort in going alone all the places we used to go together: it proves you’re not necessary for this world and this life to exist.
He could not admire those who forced themselves to “do good.” But he couldn’t help admiring those from whom generosity flowed freely.
She had always thought of her father as an unreasonably harsh disciplinarian and had little if any recollection of his tenderness. Yet later on in life, her brother reminded her that when she had been very small and made what she considered to be a “gourmet” sandwich of ham, barbecue sauce, Fritos, and Tang sprinkled on top for good measure, their father had eaten it all and told her several times how good it was.