Title: Before I Fall.
Author: Lauren Oliver.
Genre: Fiction, teen, death, time travel.
Publication Date: 2010.
Summary: Samantha Kingston has it all: looks, popularity, the perfect boyfriend, and her three best friends. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it turns out to be her last. The catch: Samantha still wakes up the next morning. Living the last day of her life seven times during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death—and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing. The volumes also includes 2 short stories. In the Beginning is a story about how the Fantastic Four all came to be friends. Sixteen Candles is a glimpse into one of Sam's greatest hits—her Sweet Sixteen.
My rating: 7.5/10
♥ The thing is, you don't get to know. It's not like you wake up with a bad feeling in your stomach. You don't see shadows where there shouldn't be any. You don't remember to tell your parents that you love them or—in my case—remember to say good-bye to them at all.
If you're like me, you wake up seven minutes and forty-six seconds before your best friend is supposed to be picking you up. You're too busy worrying about how many roses you're going to get on Cupid Day to do anything more than throw on your clothes, brush your teeth, and pray to God you left your makeup in the bottom of your messenger bag so you can do it in the car.
If you're like me, your last day starts like this:
♥ "Kill me now."
"No way." Lindsay squeezes my arm. "Can't let my best friend die a virgin."
You see, we didn't know.
♥ She likes the drama, though. Funny how you can know your friends so well, but you still end up playing the same games with them.
♥ I don't especially like Alex and I don't like Anna, but anyone who's ever been through high school understands you have to stick together against parents, teachers, and cops. Its one of those invisible lines: us against them. You just know this, like you know where to sit and who to talk to and what to eat in the cafeteria, without even knowing how you know. If that makes sense.
♥ Walking into parties always gives me a good feeling: the feeling of knowing anything can happen. Most of the time nothing does, of course. Most of the time one night blends into the next, and weeks blend into weeks, and months into other months. And sooner or later we all die.
But at the beginning of the night anything's possible.
♥ The social bottom doesn't show either. It isn't because people would make fun of them, although they probably would. It's more than that. They don't hear about these parties until after they've happened. They don't know the things we know: they don't know about the secret side entrance to Andrew Roberts's guesthouse, or the fact that Carly Jablonski stashed a cooler in her garage where you can keep your beers cold, or the fact that Rocky's doesn't check IDs very closely, or the fact that Mic's stays open around the clock and makes the best egg and cheeses in the world, absolutely dripping with oil and ketchup, perfect for when you're drunk. It's like high school holds two different worlds, revolving around each other and never touching: the haves and the have-nots. I guess it's a good thing. High school is supposed to prepare you for the real world, after all.
♥ Without anyone noticing I reach my hand back and rest it on the sill, enjoying the freezing air and the sensation of a hundred pinpricks of rain. I close my eyes and promise myself I'll never forget this moment: the sound of my friends' laughter and the heat from so many bodies and the smell of rain.
♥ It's the time of the night I like best, when most people are asleep and it feels like the world belongs completely to my friends and me, as though nothing exists apart from our little circle. Everywhere else is darkness and quiet.
♥ Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya tomorrow. Tomorrow is a beautiful word, when you really think about it.
♥ It feels nice to be lying here: nice and normal. I think of all the times we must've laid in exactly this spot, waiting for Elody and Ally to finish getting ready, waiting to go out, waiting for something to happen—time ticking and then falling away, lost forever—and I suddenly wish I could remember each one singularly, like somehow if I could remember them all, I could have them back.
♥ A good friend keeps your secrets for you. A best friend helps you keep your own secrets.
♥ Falling, falling, falling.
Is it still falling if it has no end?
♥ Be honest: are you surprised that I didn't realize sooner? Are you surprised that it took me so long to even think the word—death? Dying? Dead?
Do you think I was being stupid? Naive?
Try not to judge. Remember that we're the same, you and me.
I thought I would live forever too.
♥ Here's another thing to remember: hope keeps you alive. Even when you're dead, its the only thing that keeps you alive.
♥ I'm about to confess that I'm not sure that we're good together, but at the last second I can't. They would think I was insane. I don't even understand it myself, really. It's like the idea of him is better than the him of him.
♥ "I do love you," I say, and I really mean it. I love her, I love the ugly mustard yellow bricks of Thomas Jefferson and the magenta-tinted walls. I love Ridgeview for being small and boring, and I love everyone and everything in it. I love my life. I want my life.
♥ Here's the thing: it shouldn't be me. Lindsay's the one who drives like she's in the real-life version of Grand Theft Auto. Lindsay's the one who's always thinking of ways to punk people or humiliate them, who's always criticizing everybody. Lindsay's the one who lied about being friends with Juliet Sykes and then tortured her all those years. I didn't do anything: I just followed along.
♥ "You care now?" She jerked back at the sound of my voice like I'd reached out and slapped her. "You want to help now? You want to protect me now?
What I really wanted to say was, Where were you four days ago? Where were you when my car was spinning off the edge of a road in the middle of the night? Why weren't you thinking of me? Why weren't you there? I hate both of my parents right now: for sitting quietly in our house, while out in the darkness my heart was beating away all of the seconds of my life, ticking them off one by one until my time was up; for letting the thread between us stretch so far and so think that the moment it was severed for good they didn't even feel it.
At the same time I know that it's not really their fault, at least not completely. I did my part too. I did it on a hundred different days and in a thousand different ways, and I know it. But this makes the anger worse, not better.
♥ I'm starved for different light, a different sun, different sky. I've never really thought about it before, but it's a miracle how many kinds of light there are in the world, how many skies: the pale brightness of spring, when it feels like the whole world is blushing; the lush, bright boldness of a July noon; purple storm skies and a green queasiness just before lightning strikes and crazy multicolored sunsets that look like someone's acid trip.
I should have enjoyed them more, should have remembered them all. I should have died on a day with a beautiful sunset. I should have died on summer vacation or winter break. I should have died on any other day. Leaning my forehead against the window, I fantasize about sending my fist up through the glass, all the way into the sky, and watching it shatter like a mirror.
I think about what I'll do to survive all of the millions and millions of days that will be exactly like this one, two face-to-face mirrors multiplying a reflection into infinity. I start formulating a plan: I'll stop coming to school, and I'll jack somebody's car and drive as far as I can in a different direction every day. East, west, north, south. I allow myself to fantasize about going so far and so fast that I lift off like an airplane, zooming straight up and out to a place where time falls away like sand being blown off a surface by the wind.
Remember what I said about hope?
♥ Here's one of the things I learned that morning: if you cross a line and nothing happens, the line loses meaning. It's like that old riddle about a tree falling in a forest, and whether it makes a sound if there's no one around to hear it.
You keep drawing a line farther and farther away, crossing it every time. That's how people end up stepping off the edge of the earth. You'd be surprised at how easy it is to bust out of orbit, to spin out to a place where no one can touch you. To lose yourself—to get lost.
Or maybe you wouldn't be surprised. Maybe some of you already know.
To those people I can only say: I'm sorry.
♥ "Then what's the reason?" She doesn't say, For all the shitty things you've done. For the bathroom graffiti. For the fake email blast sophomore year: Anna Cartullo has chlamydia. She doesn't have to. She passes the joint back to me.
I take another hit. Already things are warping, certain objects blurring and others sharpening, like someone's messing with the focus on a camera. No wonder people still talk to Alex, even though he's a douche. He deals good stuff. "I don't know." Because it's easy. "I guess you need to take things out on somebody."
The words are out of my mouth before I realize they're true.
♥ ..I say, and am suddenly thrilled with the perfect, pure simplicity of it: I'm going to do it. So much easier and cleaner than Maybe I should or Won't we get in trouble? or Oh my God, I could never. Yes. Three letters.
♥ She chokes out, "Did you see their faces? Did you see?" and I realize I didn't see. I couldn't see anything, couldn't feel anything but the roaring around me, heavy and loud, and it occurs to me that I'm not sure whether this is what it's like to be really, truly alive or this is what it's like to be dead, and it strikes me as hilarious. Courtney thumps me one more time, and I see her face rising behind me in the rearview mirror, red as a sun, and I start laughing too, and the four of us laugh all the way back to Ridgeview—over eighteen miles—while the world streaks past us in a smear of blacks and grays, like a bad painting of itself.
♥ There was a tiny piece of food clinging to a strand of hair and seeing it made me feel like bursting into tears. She was Lindsay Edgecombe: she was our armor.
♥ That's a funny thing: you think, when awful things happen, everything else just stops, like you would forget to pee and eat and get thirsty, but it's not true. It's like you and your body are two separate things, like your body is betraying you, chugging on, idiotic and animal, craving water and sandwiches and bathroom breaks while your world falls apart.
♥ That's the thing about best friends. That's what they do. They keep you from spinning off the edge.
♥ "I told you, she was really upset."
"It's true though, isn't it? What I said."
"It doesn't matter if it's true." Ally shakes her head. "She's Lindsay. She's ours. We're each other's, you know?"
♥ I read once that at the edge of a black hole, time stops completely, so if you ever sailed into it, you'd just be stuck there at the lip forever, forever being torn apart, forever dying. That's what it feels like in that second. The crush of people circled around me, an endless lip, more and more people.
And there she is standing in the doorway. Juliet Sykes. Juliet Sykes—who yesterday blew her brains out with her patents' handgun
♥ One wall is almost all windows. It faces out onto the front lawn. Outside, the night looks silvery and frosted, all the trees wrapped in a shroud of ice, like they've been built out of plaster. I begin to wonder if everything in this world, the world I'm stuck in, is just a replica, a cheap imitation of the real thing. Then I sit down on the carpet—in the exact center of a perfect square of moonlight—and I cry. The first sob is almost a scream.
♥ Not then, but afterward, I started to think about time, and how it keeps moving and draining and flowing forever forward, seconds into minutes into days into years, all of it leading to the same place, a current running forever in one direction. And we're all going and swimming as fast as we can, helping it along.
My point is: maybe you can afford to wait. Maybe for you there's a tomorrow. Maybe for you there's one thousand tomorrows, or three thousand, or ten, so much time you can bathe in it, roll around in it, let it slide like coins through your fingers. So much time you can waste it.
But for some of us there's only today. And the truth is, you never really know.
♥ "Yeah, well, maybe I'm changing." I don't mean those words either, until I hear them. Then I think that they might be true, and I feel a flicker of hope. Maybe there's still a chance for me, after all. Maybe I have to change.
♥ A part of me is tempted to freak out at my mom for letting Izzy wear whatever she wants. The other kids must make fun of her.
Then again, I guess Izzy doesn't care. That's another thing that strikes me as funny: that my eight-year-old sister is braver than I am. She's probably braver than most of the people at Thomas Jefferson. I wonder if that will ever change, if it will get beaten out of her.
♥ For years that's been the buzzword of the house: Sam just wants to be left alone. Want some dinner? I'll bring it up to my room. Where are you headed? Just want to be alone. Can I come in? Just leave me alone. Stay out of my room. Don't talk to me when I'm on the phone. Don't talk to me when I'm listening to music. Alone, alone, alone.
Things change after you die, though—I guess because dying is about the loneliest thing you can do.
♥ It's weird how much people change. For example, when I was a kid I loved all of these things—like horses and the Fat Feast and Goose Point—and over time all of them just fell away, one after another, replaced by friends and Instagram and cell phones and boys and clothes. It's kind of sad, if you think about it. Like there's no continuity in people at all. Like something ruptures when you hit twelve, or thirteen, or whatever the age is when you're no longer a kid but a "young adult," and after that you're a totally different person. Maybe even a less happy person. Maybe even a worse one.
♥ Here are the basic two rules of running away successfully:
1. Go somewhere you know.
2. Go somewhere nobody else knows.
♥ So I guess this is the next best thing. And I guess that's when it starts to hit me: the whole point is, you do what you can.
♥ I feel heavy with disappointment. Coming here was obliviously a bad idea, and I'm reminded of something my English teacher, Mrs. Harbor, once said during one of her random tangents. She said that the reason you can never go home again—we were studying a list of famous quotes and discussing their meaning, and that was one of them, by Thomas Wolfe, "You can't go home again"—isn't necessarily that places change, but that people do. So thing ever looks the same.
.."I used to lie here like this all summer long," I tell her. "I'd come up here and just stare at the sky."
She rolls over on her back so she's staring up as well. "Bet this view hasn't changed much, has it?"
What she says is so simple I almost laugh. She's right, of course. "No. This looks exactly the same."
I suppose that's the secret, if you're ever wishing for things to go back to the way they were. You just have to look up.
♥ There are so many things I want to tell her, so many things she doesn't know: like how I remember when she first came home from the hospital, a big pink blob with a perma-smile, and she used to fall asleep while grabbing on to my pointer finger; how I used to give her piggyback rides up and down the beach on Cape Cod, and she would tug on my ponytail to direct me one way or the other; how soft and furry her head was when she was first born; that the first time you kiss someone you'll be nervous, and it will be weird, and it won't be as good as you want it to be, and that's okay; how you should only fall in love with people who will fall in love with you back. But before I can get any of it, she's scrambling way from e on her hands and knees, squealing.
..I know my heart is breaking in that second because I know I'll never be able to tell her any of the things I need to. I don't even know where to begin. Instead I take the feather from her and zip it into one of the pockets of my North Face jacket. "I'll keep it safe," I say.
♥ "I wish nobody ever died," she says.
I feel an ache in my throat, but I manage to smile. Two conflicting desires go through me at the same time, each as sharp as a razorblade: I want to see you grow up and Don't ever change.
♥ ..but even though we're not fighting today, I felt weird tacking our usual "xxo" at the end. Somewhere—in some alternate time or place or life or something—I'm still mad at her and she's mad at me.
It amazes me how easy it is for things to change, how easy it is to start off down the same road you always take and wind up somewhere new. Just one false step, one pause, one detour, and you end up with new friends or a bad reputation or a boyfriend or a breakup. It's never occurred to me before; I've ever been able to see it. And it makes me feel, weirdly, like maybe all of these different possibilities exist at the same time, like each moment we live has a thousand other moments layered underneath it that look different.
Maybe Lindsay and I are best friends and we hate each other, both. Maybe I'm only one math class away from being a slut like Anna Cartullo. Maybe I am like her, deep down. Maybe we all are: just one lunch period away from eating alone in the bathroom. I wonder if it's ever really possible to know the truth about someone else, or if the best we can do is just stumble into each other, heads down, hoping to avoid collision. I think of Lindsay in the bathroom of Rosalita's, and wonder how many people are clutching secrets like little fists, like rocks sitting in the pits of their stomachs. All of them, maybe.
♥ Up until then it's a good day—one of the best. Close to perfect, really, even though nothing special happened at all. I guess I've probably had a lot of days like this, but somehow they're never the ones you remember. That seems wrong to me now. I think of lying in Ally's house in the dark and wondering whether I've ever had a day worth reliving. It seems to me like living this one again and again wouldn't be so bad, and I imagine that's what I'll do—just go on like this, over and over, until time winds completely down, until the universe stops.
♥ The houses are mostly set back from the street, and lit windows appear magically in the dark like hanging lanterns. It's amazing how different everything looks at night—almost unrecognizable, especially in the rain. Houses squat on their lawns, brooding and alive. It looks so different from the Ridgeview of the day, when everything is clean and polished and trimmed neatly, when everything unfolds in an orderly way, husbands heading to their cars with coffee mugs, wives following soon after, dressed in pilates gear, tiny girls in Baby Gap dresses and car seats and Lexus SUVs and Starbucks cups and normalcy. I wonder which one is the true version.
♥ That's the whole problem with sacrifice. It's a pain, literally.
♥ And I'm suddenly angry at Juliet—so angry I could punch her. I don't see how she can be so selfish. No matter what—no matter how bad things are—she has a choice. Not all of us are so lucky.
♥ "It was—it would have been instant. Painless."
"Painless?" I repeat, my voice shaking. "Painless? You don't know that. You can't know that." There's a fist in my throat. "Is that what they said? They said it was painless? Like it was peaceful? Like it was okay?"
Kent reaches for my hand across the table. "Sam..."
"No." I scrape my chair back from the table ad stand up. My whole body is bivrating with rage. "No. Don't tell me it's going to be okay. Don't tell me it didn't hurt her. You don't know—you have no idea—none of you have any idea how much it hurts. It hurts—"
♥ "That was a big insult in second grade. And Phil was so surprised, and he looked so ridiculous standing there with mashed potato and chives smeared all over him, that I just started laughing and laughing, and it was the first time I'd laughed since I'd heard the news about—about my grandfather." He pauses. "Do you remember what I said to you that day?"
The memory is there, a balloon swelling from somewhere so far inside me I thought it was lost, the whole scene clear and perfect now.
"You're my hero," we both say at the same time. I don't hear Kent move, but all of a sudden his voice is closer, and he's found my hands in the dark, and he's cupping them in his.
"I vowed after that day that I would be your hero too, no matter how long it took," he whispers.
♥ "Do you want any breakfast, Sam?" my mom asks. I never eat breakfast at home, but my mom still asks me every day—when she catches me before I duck out, anyway—and in that moment I realize how much I love the little everyday routines of my life: the fact that she always asks, the fact that I always say no because there's a sesame bagel waiting for me in Lindsay's car, the fact that we always listen to "No More Drama" as we pull into the parking lot. The fact that my mom always cooks spaghetti and meatballs on Sunday, and the fact that once a month my dad takes over the kitchen and makes his "special stew," which is just hot-dog pieces and baked beans and lots of extra ketchup and molasses, and I would never admit to liking it, but it's actually one of my favorite meals. The details that are my life's special pattern, like how in handwoven rugs what really makes them unique are the tiny flaws in the stitching, little gaps and jumps and stutters that can never be reproduced.
So many things become beautiful when you really look.
♥ Lindsay, mean and funny and ferocious and loyal and mine.
♥ ..but today I'm not going to do anything wrong. I don't want to take any chances. It's like the game we used to play when we were little, where we had to avoid all the cracks in the sidewalk or else it meant we'd kill off our mothers. Even if you didn't believe it, you made sure you were stepping correctly, just in case.
♥ It's strange to think about—those little scraps of paper, snippets of words, half compliments and backhanded compliments and broken promises and semi-wishes and almost expressions of what you really want to say: they never tell the full story or even half of it. A room full of words that are nearly the truth but not quite, each note fluttering off the stem of its rose like a broken butterfly wing.
♥ "That's what you get got ordering the mystery meat." Ally makes a face at my roast beef, which I've ordered despite the fact that it's borderline unacceptable. Things That Don't Matter When You've Lived the Same Day Six Times and Died on at Least Two of Them: lunch meats and their relative coolness.
♥ Elody jumps in. "It was a joke, Sam. Yesterday you said you were scared Juliet would bite you if you went too close. You said she probably had rabies."
That's what really breaks me—right then, when Elody says that. Or rather, when she reminds me that I said tat: yesterday, six days ago, a whole different world ago. How is it possible, I think, to change so much and not be able to change anything at all? That's the very worst thing about all of this, a feeling of desperate hopelessness, and I realize my question to Elody is the question that's been tearing me up all along. What's the point? If I'm dead—if I can't change anything, if I can't fix it—what's the point?
♥ I shiver, thinking about how easy it is to be totally wrong about people—to see one tiny part of them and confuse it for the whole, to see the cause and think it's the effect or vice versa.
♥ This reminds me of what I said to Kent only two days ago—I don't think I can be fixed—but now I know I was wrong. Everyone can be fixed. It has to be that way, it's the only thing that makes sense.
♥ And it all seems absurd now, the chance and randomness of it. One person shoots up and the other spirals downward—random and meaningless. As simple as being in the right place, or the wrong place, or however you want to look at it. As simple as getting a craving for Diet Pepsi one day at a pool party, and getting swept away; as simple as not saying no.
..the randomness of things, the way everything can change in a second; the right place at the right time, or at the wrong time; time; that enormous truck coming at us, its big metal grill shining like teeth, the impression of lights an hugeness. The only thing you can see: headlights, size, a sense of power. Not revenge. Chance. Stupid, dumb, blind chance. Just a part of the strange mechanism of the world, with its fits and coughs and starts and random collisions.
♥ Maybe before you die it's your ghosts that you see.
♥ I feel a sense of emptiness so deep it stops feeling like emptiness and starts feeling like relief. I imagine this is what it would be like to get carried off on a wave. This is what it would feel like in the moment that the thin, dark edge of shore ducks its head beyond the horizon, when you roll over and see only stars and sky and water, folding in on you like an embrace. When you spread your arms and think, Okay.
♥ ..but I know she's lying.
Ad now I realize Lindsay's not fearless. She's terrified. She's terrified that people will find out she's faking, bullshitting her way through life, pretending to have everything together when really she's just floundering like the rest of us. Lindsay, who will bite at you if you even look in her direction the wrong way, like one of those tiny attack dogs that are always barking and snapping at the air before they're jerked backward on the chains that keep them in one place.
..She wants me to tell her it's okay. She needs me to tell her that. I can't, though. Instead I say, quietly, "People would like you anyway, Lindz." I don't say, if you stopped pretending so much, but I know she understands. "We'd still love you no matter what."
She balls up her fists and squeezes out, "Thanks." Then she turns and heads up to the house. The light falling on her face makes her skin look wet, but I'm not sure whether she's crying or whether it's the snow.|
♥ "Kent." I wrap my fingers around the collar of his shirt. No matter how close he's standing, it isn't close enough. "Are you ever afraid to go to sleep? Afraid of what comes next?"
He smiles a sad little smile and I swear it's like he knows. "Sometimes I'm afraid of what I'm leaving behind," he says.
Then we're kissing again, our bodies and mouths moving together so seamlessly it's like we're not even kissing, just thinking about kissing, thinking about breathing, everything right and natural and unconscious and relaxed, a feeling not of trying but of complete abandonment, letting go, and right then and there the unthinkable happens: time does stand still after all. Time and space recede and blast away like a universe expanding forever outward, leaving only darkness and the two of us on its peripgery, darkness and breathing and touch.
♥ I remember I once saw this old movie with Lindsay; in it the main character was talking about how said it is that the last time you have sex you don't know it's the last time. Since I've never even had a first time, I'm not exactly an expert, but I'm guessing it's like that for most things in life—the last kiss, the last laugh, the last cup of coffee, the last sunset, the last time you jump through a sprinkler or eat an ice-cream cone, or stick your tongue out to catch a snowflake. You just don't know.
But I think that's a good thing, really, because if you did know it would be almost impossible to let go. When you do know, it's like being asked to step off the edge of a cliff: all you want to do is get down on your hands and knees and kiss the solid ground, smell it, hold on to it.
I guess that's what saying good-bye is always like—like jumping off an edge. The worst part is making the choice to do it. Once you're in the air, there's nothing you can do but let go.
♥ Outside the cold burns my lungs and makes the pain in my throat worse. I take a deep breath, sucking in the smells of wood fires and gasoline. The sun is beautiful, long and low on the horizon like it's stretching itself, like it's shaking off a nap, and I know underneath this weak winter light is the promise of days that last until eight P.M. and pool parties and the smell of chlorine and burgers on the grill; and underneath that is the promise of trees lit up in red and orange like flames and spiced cider, and frost that melts away by noon—layers upon layers of life, always something more, new, deeper. It makes me feel like crying, but Lindsay's already parked in front of the house, waving her arms and yelling, "What are you doing?" so instead I just keep walking, one foot in front of the other, one, two, thee, and I think about letting go—of the trees and the grass and sky and the red-streaked clouds on the horizon—letting it all drop away from me like a veil. Maybe there will be something spectacular underneath.
♥ I can't stop thinking about how strange life is..—about how complex and connected everything is, all threaded together like some vast, invisible netting—and how sometimes you can think you're doing the right thing, but it's actually terrible and vice versa.
..As we pull out of the parking lot, it occurs to me that maybe it's not so complicated at all. Most of the time—99 percent of the time—you just don't know how and why the threads are looped together, and that's okay. Do a good thing and something bad happens. Do a bad thing and something good happens. Do nothing and everything explodes.
And very, very rarely—by some miracle of chance and coincidence, butterflies beating their wings just so and all the threads hanging together for a minute—you get the chance to do the right thing.
♥ I've never done anything like this before, and I'm surprised by how easy I'm finding it. Letting go is easy: it's all downhill.
♥ As usual they've left the porch light on for me, so that when I come home I won't have to fumble in my bag for my keys. They'll be making plans for tomorrow, maybe wondering what to do for breakfast or whether to wake me up before noon, and for a moment grief for everything I am losing—have lost already, lost days ago in a split second of skidding and tearing where my life ripped away from its axis—overwhelms me, and I put my head down on the steering wheel and wait for the feeling to pass. It does. The pain ebbs away. My muscles relax, and once again I'm struck by the rightness of things.
♥ "See you layer," I say loudly to all of them in general, and Elody glances over her shoulder at me, but she may be looking at someone else. Lindsay flaps a hand in my direction, and Ally doesn't hear me at all. It reminds me of leaving my house for the last time this morning, how in the end it's impossible to understand the finality of certain things, certain words, certain moments.
♥ ..because that's when I realized that time doesn't matter. That's when I realized that certain moments go on forever. Even after they're over they still go on, even after you're dead and buried, those moments are lasting still, backward and forward, on into infinity. They are everything and everywhere all at once.
They are the meaning.
♥ We'd stopped saying hi months earlier, and I didn't miss her. But sometimes I missed having somebody, anybody else but Lindsay. Lindsay was all-consuming, exhilarating, and also exhausting, a dense star burning with ideas and moods. She locked me in her orbit. I couldn't have escaped if I'd tried.
♥ The funny thing was that over time we grew to love Elody's weird outfits and the way she snorted when she laughed, just like we grew to love Ally's obsessive love of reality TV and the fact that she was a total label whore and terrible at math. I guess that's kind of how love works: it changes how you see things. Tt changes what other people look like to you.
Lindsay liked to joke we were the opposite of that Agatha Christie book, And Then There Were None. We kept adopting stragglers. Out little circle kept expanding. But I was glad I didn't feel lonely anymore, ever, not after Elody joined the group.
And isn't that the whole point?
~~In the Beginning.
♥ It was August, a month before the start of our junior year, the middle-slog of high school when schoolwork actually matters and nothing is new and exciting anymore but you're not really old enough to matter.
♥ Ally had a little bit of frosting on her cheek. I wanted to tell her but not then—just then, with the sun smoldering behind the trees and the smell of wet leaves and wood fires, the wind just the right amount of cool and my three best friends next to me, everything was perfect.
♥ Dimly I was aware of more sparks in the darkness. Chris Marmon had found the rest of Kent's birds and was lighting them one by one, watching them sail off the deck and burn up before they could land, but I didn't care anymore. It didn't matter. Kent didn't matter, and neither did old wishes. Nothing mattered but us and that moment, the feel of the music in my skin and teeth.
"We're going to live forever, you know that?" Lindsay said, her voice tangled up somewhere close to me, our fingers interlaced as we reached for the sky.
"I know," I said, burning up a thousand wishes in that instant, crumbling them all to ash.