"One thing I’ve learned in all these years is not to make love when you really don’t feel it; there’s probably nothing worse you can do to yourself than that."
"Listen to them again: ‘I love you.’ Subject, verb, object: the unadorned, impregnable sentence. The subject is a short word, implying the self-effacement of the lover. The verb is longer but unambiguous, a demonstrative moment as the tongue flicks anxiously away from the palate to release the vowel. The object, like the subject, has no consonants, and is attained by pushing the lips forward as if for a kiss. ‘I love you.’ How serious, how weighted, how freighted it sounds."
Julian Barnes, A History of the World in 10½ Chapters
"Some people think only intellect counts: knowing how to solve problems, knowing how to get by, knowing how to identify an advantage and seize it. But the functions of intellect are insufficient without courage, love, friendship, compassion, and empathy."
"Hope is not about proving anything. It’s about choosing to believe this one thing, that love is bigger than any grim, bleak shit anyone can throw at us."
"All his life he would hold this moment as exemplary of what love was. It was not wanting anything more, nor was it expecting people to exceed what they had just accomplished; it was simply feeling so complete."
"You put together two people who have not been put together before. Sometimes it is like that first attempt to harness a hydrogen balloon to a fire balloon: do you prefer crash and burn, or burn and crash? But sometimes it works, and something new is made, and the world is changed. Then, at some point, sooner or later, for this reason or that, one of them is taken away. And what is taken away is greater than the sum of what was there. This may not be mathematically possible; but it is emotionally possible."
"When you find somebody you love, all the way through, and she loves you—even with your weaknesses, your flaws, everything starts to click into place. And if you can talk to her, and she listens, if she makes you laugh, and makes you think, makes you want, makes you see who you really are, and who you are is better, just better with her, you’d be crazy not to want to spend the rest of your life with her."
Dear Chris →
When her son Christopher was three his father died in an unimaginable way. Here is the letter Amanda Patterson promised to write to her son on the eve of his eighteenth birthday.
‘When will we get another Mark?’
Your question undid me. You are five and it is two years since your father died.
‘Never,’ I answered, with half a smile. I loved the idea of simply ordering a replacement husband for me, and father for you.
You are sleeping. The sky is a squid ink smudge between the blinds. I am crying. Will I ever make any sense of what happened?
I promise that I will write you a letter about him when you are 18.
All my love
It is 11p.m. You will be 18 tomorrow. I have to finish this…. Click here to read the rest