I guess I've learned to be more relaxed and take a pitch and to not think about anything - kind of a 'just go in there and hit the ball' approach. This is the most relaxed I've felt. Maybe it's because it's my fourth year here. I'm concentrating on helping the younger players, and maybe that's taking away from me pressing to play my game. I see how stressed they are at times, and I don't want to be stressed, too.
I'm stuck in the middleOf the dream and the realityNot able to tell the differenceNot able to wake upDid I dream you into my lifeOr were you always realAnd were you always presentWithin the endlessness of timeSomething tells me, we came togetherA set of dreamers, a couple even,We're separated by many milesBut we are bonded to one anotherI'm stuck in love and I'm really helplessThere is no you to be touched with fingersBut here you are, my dream and my realityAnd I touch you perfectly with my heart.
But that wasn't the chief thing that bothered me: I couldn't reconcile myself with that preoccupation with sin that, so far as I could tell, was never entirely absent from the monks' thoughts. I'd known a lot of fellows in the air corps. Of course they got drunk when they got a chance, and had a girl whenever they could and used foul language; we had one or two had hats: one fellow was arrested for passing rubber cheques and was sent to prison for six months; it wasn't altogether his fault; he'd never had any money before, and when he got more than he'd ever dreamt of having, it went to his head. I'd known had men in Paris and when I got back to Chicago I knew more, but for the most part their badness was due to heredity, which they couldn't help, or to their environment, which they didn't choose: I'm not sure that society wasn't more responsible for their crimes than they were. If I'd been God I couldn't have brought myself to condemn one of them, not even the worst, to eternal damnation. Father Esheim was broad-minded; he thought that hell was the deprivation of God's presence, but if that is such an intolerable punishment that it can justly be called hell, can one conceive that a good God can inflict it? After all, he created men, if he so created them that ti was possible for them to sin, it was because he willed it. If I trained a dog to fly at the throat of any stranger who came into by back yard, it wouldn't be fair to beat him when he did so.If an all-good and all-powerful God created the world, why did he create evil? The monks said, so that man by conquering the wickedness in him, by resisting temptation, by accepting pain and sorrow and misfortune as the trials sent by God to purify him, might at long last be made worthy to receive his grace. It seem to me like sending a fellow with a message to some place and just to make it harder for him you constructed a maze that he had to get through, then dug a moat that he had to swim and finally built a wall that he had to scale. I wasn't prepared to believe in an all-wise God who hadn't common sense. I didn't see why you shouldn't believe in a God who hadn't created the world, buyt had to make the best of the bad job he'd found, a being enormously better, wiser and greater than man, who strove with the evil he hadn't made and who might be hoped in the end to overcome it. But on the other hand I didn't see why you should.
All right," said Susan. "I'm not stupid. You're saying humans need... fantasies to make life bearable."REALLY? AS IF IT WAS SOME KIND OF PINK PILL? NO. HUMANS NEED FANTASY TO BE HUMAN. TO BE THE PLACE WHERE THE FALLING ANGEL MEETS THE RISING APE."Tooth fairies? Hogfathers? Little—"YES. AS PRACTICE. YOU HAVE TO START OUT LEARNING TO BELIEVE THE LITTLE LIES."So we can believe the big ones?"YES. JUSTICE. MERCY. DUTY. THAT SORT OF THING."They're not the same at all!"YOU THINK SO? THEN TAKE THE UNIVERSE AND GRIND IT DOWN TO THE FINEST POWDER AND SIEVE IT THROUGH THE FINEST SIEVE AND THEN SHOW ME ONE ATOM OF JUSTICE, ONE MOLECULE OF MERCY. AND YET—Death waved a hand. AND YET YOU ACT AS IF THERE IS SOME IDEAL ORDER IN THE WORLD, AS IF THERE IS SOME...SOME RIGHTNESS IN THE UNIVERSE BY WHICH IT MAY BE JUDGED."Yes, but people have got to believe that, or what's the point—"MY POINT EXACTLY.
I pull my foot back again, but Four's hands clamp around my arms, and he pulls me away from her with irresistible force. I breathe through gritted teeth, staring at Molly's blood-covered face, the color deep and rich and beautiful, in a way. She groans, and I hear a gurgling in her throat, watch blood trickle from her lips. "You won," Four mutters. "Stop." I wipe the sweat from my forehead. He stares at me. His eyes too wide; they look alarmed. "I think you should leave," he says. "Take a walk." I'm fine," I say. "I'm fine now," I say again, this time for myself.I wish I could say I felt guilty for what I did.I don't.
Wait a second," Four says. I turn toward him, wondering which version of Four I'll see now-the one who scolds me, or the one who climbs Ferris wheels with me. He smiles a little, but the smile doesn't spread to his eyes, which look less tense and worried."You belong here, you know that?" he says. "You belong with us. It'll be over soon, so just hold on, okay?"He scratches behind his ear and looks away, like he's embarrassed by what he said. I stare at him. I feel my heartbeat everywhere, even in my toes. I feel like doing something bold, but I could just as easily walk away. I am not sure which option is smarter, or better. I am not sure that I care.I reach out and take his hand. His fingers slide between mine. I can't breathe. I stare up at him, and he stares down at me. For a long moment, we stay that way. Then I pull my hand away and run after Uriah and Lynn and Marlene. Maybe now he thinks I'm stupid, or strange. Maybe it was worth it.