“Love is so painful, how could you ever wish it on anybody? And love is so essential, how could you ever stand in its way?”
“You can’t know what it is like for us now—you will always be one step behind.
Be thankful for that.
You can’t know what it was like for us then—you will always be one step ahead.
Be thankful for that, too.
Trust us: There is a nearly perfect balance between the past and the future. As we become the distant past, you become a future few of us would have imagined.
It’s hard to think of such things when you are busy dreaming or loving or screwing. The context falls away. We are a spirit-burden you carry, like that of your grandparents, or the friends from your childhood who at some point moved away. We try to make it as light a burden as possible. And at the same time, when we see you, we cannot help but think of ourselves. We were once the ones who were dreaming and loving and screwing. We were once the ones who were living, and then we were the ones who were dying. We sewed ourselves, a thread’s width, into your history.
We were once like you, only our world wasn’t like yours.
You have no idea how close to death you came. A generation or two earlier, you might be here with us.
We resent you. You astonish us.”
“He has no idea how beautiful the ordinary becomes once it disappears.”
“The world is full of people who think different is synonymous with wrong.”
“Freedom isn’t just about voting and marrying and kissing on the street, although all of these things are important. Freedom is also about what you will allow yourself to do.”
“People like to say being gay isn’t like skin color, isn’t anything physical. They tell us we always have the option of hiding.
But if that’s true, why do they always find us?”
“They should be going to sleep, but good company is the enemy of sleep.”
“They beat the shit out of me. But you know what? I didn’t need that shit inside of me. I’m glad it’s gone.”
“Anticipation is no longer needed- because the moment is now.”
“We often believe the truest measure of a relationship is the ability to lay ourselves bare. But there’s something to be said for parading your plumage as well, finding truth as much in the silly as the severe. Your humor is your compass and your shield. You can hone it into a weapon or you can pull its strands out to make your very own cotton-candy blanket. You can’t exist on a diet of humor alone, but you can’t exist on a diet without it, either.”
“Along the way, they didn’t say much, but their relationship has reached that stage where silence is comfortable, not threatening. Silence only harms when there are things that aren’t being said, or when there’s the fear that the well is empty and there’s nothing left to say. Neither is the case here. They still have plenty to say to each other, just not anything right now.”
“One of the many horrible things about dying the way we died was the way it robbed us of the outdoor world and trapped us in the indoor world. For every one of us who was able to die peacefully on a deck chair, blanket pulled high, as the wind stirred his hair and the sun warmed his face, there were hundreds of us whose last glimpse of the world was white walls and metal machinery, the tease of a window, the inadequate flowers in a vase, elected representatives from the wilds we had lost. Our last breaths were of climate-controlled air. We died under ceilings. Either the wallpaper goes, or I do. It makes us more grateful now for rivers, more grateful for sky.”
“There are all these moments you don’t think you will survive. And then you survive.”
“It is hard to stop seeing your son as a son and to start seeing him as a human being.
It is hard to stop seeing your parents as parents and to start seeing them as human beings.
It’s a two-sided transition, and very few people manage it gracefully.”
“There is the sudden. There is the eventual. And in between, there is the living.”
“With some people, the minute you start talking, it feels like you’ve known them for years. It only means that you were supposed to meet sooner. You’re feeling all the time you should have known each other, but didn’t. That time still counts. You can definitely feel it.”
“Your humor is your compass and your shield. You can hone it into a weapon or you can pull its strands out to make your very own cotton-candy blanket. You can’t exist on a diet of humor alone, but you can’t exist on a diet without it, either.”
“We wish we could show you the world as it sleeps. Then you’d never have any doubt about how similar, how trusting, how astounding and vulnerable we all are.”
“This is the problem with having a barrier between you and everyone else—you see it, but they don’t. They talk to you, but you can’t talk back to them. They care about things like the weather and what you’re shopping for, and you don’t care about a single thing. It is so obvious to you, and it is infuriating that they don’t understand. It just highlights that you’re the one who’s defective, you’re the one who can’t be normal, you’re the one who has to suffer while everyone else gets to live out their delusions. We know. We’ve been there.”
“This is the power of a kiss:
It does not have the power to kill you. But it has the power to bring you to life.”
“The fewer connections you have to the world, the easier it is to leave.”
“So many of us had to make our own families. So many of us had to pretend when we were home. So many of us had to leave. But every single one of us wishes we hadn’t had to. Every single one of us wishes our family had acted like our family, that even when we found a new family, we hadn’t had to leave the other one behind. Every single one of us would have loved to have been loved unconditionally by our parents.”
“Stupid arbitrary shit means the president of the United States can wait six years before even saying the disease’s name. Stupid arbitrary shit means it will take a movie star to die and a hemophiliac teenager to die before ordinary people start to mobilize, start to feel that the disease needs to be stopped. Tens of thousands of people will die before drugs are made and drugs are approved. What a horrible feeling that is, to know that if the disease had primarily affected PTA presidents, or priests, or white teenage girls, the epidemic would have been ended years earlier, and tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of lives would have been saved. We did not choose our identity, but we were chosen to die by it.”
“But does he see everything, or only what he wants to be seeing? This is always one of the great questions of love.”
“You spend so much time, so much effort, trying to hold yourself together.
And then everything falls apart anyway.”
David Levithan - Two boys kissing (Knopf-2013)