For every situation there is a proper distance. Growing up is just a matter of gaining perspective.

Two sides to every story. It's all a matter of perspective source

Susan at first seemed more of a presence than a personality.

Even when she was hung over, her posture suggested a perfect alignment between heaven and earth.

Meanwhile, Susan looked carefully into each of our faces. She was actually waiting for us to answer, to give reasons why people fall in love and get married.

Nobody knows, I wanted to say. Nobody really knows. But that doesn’t mean you’re allowed to not do it.

Every dinner party by the end is a bit of a defeat. After the halfway mark, when everybody is still in high-spirits, some even intoxicated, and the dessert still hasn’t arrived, there is a moment when it seems like we are the most interesting dinner party in Manhattan tonight, we love each other, and we should do this all the time, why don’t we do this all the time? Everybody is calculating when they can invite everybody to their house for the next dinner party.

But then there is the subtle shift downward. Somebody is a little too drunk. The bird, which was a bronze talismanic centerpiece, golden and thriving, is revealed as a collection of crazy bones. 


Rezvan and I stayed engaged for two years. He seemed to think of engagement as an alternative to marriage rather than as a lead-up to it. I didn’t mind, actually. I just wanted to be with him
The bank of the Vistula
In one of Stasselova’s lectures he had taken great pains to explain to us that language did not describe events, it handled them, as a hand handles an object, and that in this way language made the world happen under its supervision.

The line people draw between the things they consider
this and the things they consider that is the perimeter of their sphere of intimacy. You see? Everything inside is this; everything inside is close, is intimate.


They looked alike, though racially they were obviously not identical. [...] I wondered how that would be, to be a father and to stare across a table, through the crackling candlelight, and see your own face, younger, broadened and transformed by both time and race. How interesting it would be to see the future that precisely.

These were extremely wealthy people, and money moved through the room as if it were oxygen, or time—in such abundance it was no longer visible.


When I think back on my childhood and young adulthood it seems the whole enterprise was awash with attempting to understand other people and get them to understand you, loving them and getting them to love you.
World party

This is the whole problem with words. There is so little surface area to reveal whom you might be underneath, how expansive and warm, how casual, how easygoing, how cool, and so it all comes out a little pathetic and awkward and choked.

One of the things Stadbakken had been struggling to teach us that fall was that a building ought to express two things simultaneously. The first was permanence, that is, security and well-being, a sense that the building will endure through all sorts of weather and calamity. But it also ought to express an understanding of its mortality, that is, a sense that it is an individual and, as such, vulnerable to its own passing away from this earth. Buildings that don’t manage this second quality cannot properly be called architecture, he insisted. Even the simplest buildings, he said, ought to be productions of the imagination that attempt to describe and define life on earth, which of course is an overwhelming mix of stability and desire, fulfillment and longing, time and eternity.


If a person could measure these things, I’d say she had the upper hand in the relationship, but not by too much, just a little, just enough to offset what feminists used to call the “slide toward male dominance” in the culture at large and create a perfectly symmetrical, very powerful little system within a system, a neat counterbalance. I used to think of them as a “productive” couple, meaning their marriage seemed to give them energy rather than drain it away.

Rebecca Lee - Bobcat and other stories (Algonquin-2013)