This too will pass. Four forty-five. Zig, zag. Tick. Tock. Sometimes bitterness makes a grab for Leah. Pulls her down, holds her. What was the point of it all? Three years of useless study. Out of pocket, out of her depth. It was only philosophy in the first place because she was scared of dying and thought it might help and because she could not add or draw or remember lists of facts or speak a language other than her own. In the university prospectus, an italic script over a picture of the Firth of Forth: Philosophy is learning how to die. Philosophy is listening to warbling posh boys, it is being more bored than you have ever been in your life, more bored than you thought it possible to be. It is wishing yourself anywhere else, in a different spot somewhere in the multiverse which is a concept you will never truly understand. In the end, only one idea reliably retained: time as a relative experience, different for the jogger, the lover, the tortured, the leisured. Like right now, when a minute seems to stretch itself into an hour. Otherwise useless. An unpaid, growing debt. Along with a feeling of resentment: what was the purpose of preparing for a life never intended for her?
- NW, Zadie Smith
"National identity is the last bastion of the dispossessed. But the meaning of identity is now based on hatred, on hatred for those who are not the same. Hatred has to be cultivated as a civic passion. The enemy is the friend of the people. You always want someone to hate in order to feel justified in your own misery. Hatred is the true primordial passion. You don’t love someone for your whole life - that impossible hope is the source of adultery, matricide, betrayal of friends… But you can hate someone for your whole life, provided he’s always there to keep your hatred alive. Hatred warms the heart."
- The Prague Cemetery
"I have won so many battles and yet I am a failure. A time comes when something breaks inside, and there is no more energy or will. They say you must live, but life becomes a burden that inevitably ends in suicide."
- The Prague Cemetery
"To imagine that we are a necessary part of the order of the universe is, for well-read people like us, the same as superstition is for uncultured people. You cannot change the world through ideas. People with few ideas are less likely to make mistakes; they follow what everyone else does and are no trouble to anyone; they’re successful, make money, find good jobs, enter politics, receive honors; they become famous writers, academics, journalists. Can people who are so good at looking after their own interests really be stupid? I’m the stupid one, the one who wanted to go tilting at windmills."
- The Prague Cemetery
There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket - safe, dark, motionless, airless - it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.
-C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
On their first date, they saw a film, and Ester kept the cinema ticket, at first just in her purse and later in an envelope with everything else – a few postcards, a beer mat on which he had written his telephone number, a dried flower from a walk they had taken, and a dead leaf she had found in her hair afterwards.
She still has these things. She keeps them in the drawer of her bedside table and looks through them sometimes, putting the dry flower to her nose. She handles the envelope’s contents reverently as if these were the memorabilia of a dead pop star rather than the man she married, the man she still lives with.”
In the night, there will be a storm. It will be brief, if a little violent, and hardly anyone will even realise it has occurred, although they might hear it raging, thundering, in their dreams.
In the morning, by the time people are up and about, the sun will be out again, and the rain-soaked pavements will be dry, and there will be very little evidence of damage.”