Beautiful Words, pt. 11

Torch by Cheryl Strayed is a beautiful exploration grief and its different manifestations.

“She couldn’t see David anymore in the light that she’d seen him before, and she didn’t know whether this new way of seeing him was distorted by grief or unveiled by it. Whether her life with him was fraudulent or the best thing she had. She loved him, and in equal measure, felt sickened and swaddled by his love.”

“She came to see her grief did not have an end, or if it did, she would not be delivered there. Grief was not a river or a sea, but a world, and she would have to live there now.”

“It wasn’t that she was trying to lose weight; it was that she seldom registered hunger anymore. Her sorrow had taken its place, filling her to the gills.”

“Tears came to her eyes from the realization now: how wretched she was, how cruel she was to want Bruce to be in pain, and yet she did, more than anything. If he wasn’t, she would be alone.”

“As a child she’d often wished that Karl had been dead. Not out of any kind of rancor, but instead so that she could have a place for him, a story that explained why things had gone the way they had.”

“Three beers or shots were all he needed, though he often had more, each one a seal, a lid, a cure.”

“He shifted in his chair, wanting to be two people: to be the person who demanded, Tell me what my mother was like…and also to be the person who sat still and hard and calm as a statue in his chair, as if no part of him could be reached or moved or known. He opted, on instinct, to be the latter. It was the easier person to be.”

“Feeling that if she moved too quickly, the false sense of restoration listening to her mother’s show had given her would come crashing down and her mother would be dead again.”

“She’d become adept at this over the past months, learning how to keep things at the same time as letting them go.”

“Since her mother died, that unknowingness had felt to her like a weakness, a hopeless surrender, instead of the glorious question it had been before, back when she was a daughter, a girl.”

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