"That’s what the world is, after all: an endless battle of contrasting memories."
There is always one person you love who becomes that definition. It usually happens retrospectively, but it happens eventually. This is the person who unknowingly sets the template for what you will always love about other people, even if some of these loveable qualities are self-destructive and unreasonable. The person who defines your understanding of love is not inherently different than anyone else, and they’re often just the person you happen to meet the first time you really, really, want to love someone. But that person still wins. They win, and you lose. Because for the rest of your life, they will control how you feel about everyone else.
Dreams are always crushing when they don’t come true. But it’s the simple dreams that are often the most painful because they seem so personal, so reasonable, so attainable. You’re always close enough to touch, but never quite close enough to hold and it’s enough to break your heart.
Lost opportunities, lost possibilities, feelings we can never get back. That’s part of what it means to be alive. But inside our heads - at least that’s where I imagine it - there’s a little room where we store those memories. A room like the stacks in this library. And to understand the workings of our own heart we have to keep on making new reference cards. We have to dust things off every once in awhile, let in fresh air, change the water in the flower vases. In other words, you’ll live forever in your own private library.
People have a habit of inventing fictions they will believe wholeheartedly in order to ignore the truth they cannot accept.
People come, people go - they’ll drift in and out of your life, almost like characters in a favorite book. When you finally close the cover, the characters have told their story and you start up again with another book, complete with all new characters and adventures. Then you find yourself focusing on the new ones, not the ones from the past.
Have you ever lost someone you love and wanted one more conversation, one more chance to make up for the time when you thought they would be here forever? If so, then you know you can go your whole life collecting days, and none will outweigh the one you wish you had back.
You should know that there is something worse than hate and that is unlove. Because hate is anger over something lost, hate is passion, hate is misguided, it’s caring for the wrong things but it is still caring. But unlove, unlove is to unkiss, to unremember, to unhold, to undream, to undo everything that ever was and leave smooth stone behind in its wake. No fire. No fury. Just, nothing. And that is worse than hate.
I have a theory that every time you make an important choice, the part of you left behind continues the other life you could have had.
There are two kinds of fears: rational and irrational — or in simpler terms, fears that make sense and fears that don’t
The unreal is more powerful than the real. Because nothing is as perfect as you can imagine it. Because its only intangible ideas, concepts, beliefs, fantasies that last. Stone crumbles. Wood rots. People, well, they die. But things as fragile as a thought, a dream, a legend, they can go on and on. If you can change the way people think. The way they see themselves. The way they see the world. You can change the way people live their lives. That’s the only lasting thing you can create.
and in the beginning, my lungs had too much air in them, whenever you were near, like I could never breathe out enough. And in the end, my throat closed, whenever you were far, like I could never breathe in again.
It hurts to let go. Sometimes it seems the harder you try to hold on to something or someone the more it wants to get away. You feel like some kind of criminal for having felt, for having wanted. For having wanted to be wanted. It confuses you, because you think that your feelings were wrong and it makes you feel so small because it’s so hard to keep it inside when you let it out and it doesn’t coma back. You’re left so alone that you can’t explain. Damn, there’s nothing like that, is there? I’ve been there and you have too. You’re nodding your head.
And perhaps there is a limit to the grieving that the human heart can do. As when one adds salt to a tumbler of water, there comes a point where simply no more will be absorbed.
By now you should know enough about loss to realize that you never really stop missing someone — you just learn to live around the huge gaping hole of their absence.
It’s all right to love someone who doesn’t love you back, as long as they’re worth you loving them. As long as they deserve it.
I keep thinking you already know. I keep thinking I’ve sent you letters that were only ever written in my mind.
It’s not like a stab wound you can protect me from. It’s a million little paper cuts every day.
You can’t just make me different and then leave. You can’t. You can’t change me and make my whole life centered around you, then leave.
Sometimes we become attached to what’s familiar, and sometimes we hold on to things that are safe and predictable, even if they are bad for us.
When we die, these are the stories still on our lips. The stories we’ll only tell strangers, someplace private in the padded cell of midnight. These important stories, we rehearse them for years in our head but never tell. These stories are ghosts, bringing people back from the dead. Just for a moment. For a visit. Every story is a ghost.
Until this moment, I had not realized that someone could break your heart twice, along the very same fault lines.
He was gone, and I did not have time to tell him what I had just now realized: that I forgave him, and that she forgave us, and that we had to forgive to survive in the labyrinth. There were so many of us who would have to live with things done and things left undone that day. Things that did not go right, things that seemed okay at the time because we could not see the future. If only we could see the endless string of consequences that result from our smallest actions. But we can’t know better until knowing better is useless. And as I walked back to give Takumi’s note to the Colonel, I saw that I would never know. I would never know her well enough to know her thoughts in those last minutes, would never know if she left us on purpose. But the not-knowing would not keep me from caring, and I would always love Alaska Young, my crooked neighbor, with all my crooked heart.