What do you think they're going to do to us when they find us guilty?" she says after a few minutes of silence have passed."Honestly?""Does now seem like the time for honesty?"I look at her from the corner of my eye. "I think they're going to force us to eat lots of cake and then take an unreasonably long nap.
My very photogenic mother died in a freak accident (picnic, lightning) when I was three, and, save for a pocket of warmth in the darkest past, nothing of her subsists within the hollows and dells of memory, over which, if you can still stand my style (I am writing under observation), the sun of my infancy had set: surely, you all know those redolent remnants of day suspended, with the midges, about some hedge in bloom or suddenly entered and traversed by the rambler, at the bottom of a hill, in the summer dusk; a furry warmth, golden midges.
Frank stared at her. "But you throw Ding Dongs at monsters."Iris looked horrified. "Oh, they're not Ding Dongs."She rummaged under the counter and brought out a package of chocolate covered cakes that looked exactly like Ding Dongs. "These are gluten-free, no-sugar-added, vitamin-enriched, soy-free, goat-milk-and-seaweed-based cupcake simulations.""All natural!" Fleecy chimed in."I stand corrected." Frank suddenly felt as queasy as Percy.
I'm going on a diet. (Crud, I know)I am going to be cranky. I am going to be irritable.I am going to be moody and sad and mean. And, yes, I am going to be hungry. Please don't feed me, even if I try to bite you. Please don't tease me, I may hurt you.Please don't try to encourage me, I may growl and snap at you. Please don't help me, I may blame you for everything aggravating in the known universe. Please don't be offended by my scowl, I cannot smile. But most importantly, please keep your distance until this trial is over to prevent any unnecessary casualties. Thank you for your understanding.
So began my love affair with books. Years later, as a college student, I remember having a choice between a few slices of pizza that would have held me over for a day or a copy of On the Road. I bought the book. I would have forgotten what the pizza tasted like, but I still remember Kerouac. The world was mine for the reading. I traveled with my books. I was there on a tramp steamer in the North Atlantic with the Hardy Boys, piecing together an unsolvable crime. I rode into the Valley of Death with the six hundred and I stood at the graves of Uncas and Cora and listened to the mournful song of the Lenni Linape. Although I braved a frozen death at Valley Forge and felt the spin of a hundred bullets at Shiloh, I was never afraid. I was there as much as you are where you are, right this second. I smelled the gunsmoke and tasted the frost. And it was good to be there. No one could harm me there. No one could punch me, slap me, call me stupid, or pretend I wasn’t in the room. The other kids raced through books so they could get the completion stamp on their library card. I didn’t care about that stupid completion stamp. I didn’t want to race through books. I wanted books to walk slowly through me, stop, and touch my brain and my memory. If a book couldn’t do that, it probably wasn’t a very good book. Besides, it isn’t how much you read, it’s what you read. What I learned from books, from young Ben Franklin’s anger at his brother to Anne Frank’s longing for the way her life used to be, was that I wasn’t alone in my pain. All that caused me such anguish affected others, too, and that connected me to them and that connected me to my books. I loved everything about books. I loved that odd sensation of turning the final page, realizing the story had ended, and feeling that I was saying a last goodbye to a new friend.
You don't scare me, Cadence Jones. I've lived with crazy, I've ridden with crazy, I've vacationed with crazy, I've visited crazy in various hospitals, I've sat in on therapy sessions with crazy. Frankly, I think women who don't have major emotional disorders are really very dull.