Too Short for a Blog Post, Too Long for a Tweet 126

Here are two excerpts from a book I recently read, "The Bonesetter's Daughter," by Amy Tan:

And then I pulled out the second thing. It was a small photograph of a young woman wearing an embroidered headwrap and a padded winter jacket with a collar that reached up to her cheeks. I held the picture up to the light. Was it . . . ? I saw that it was indeed Precious Auntie before she had burned her face. She had dreamy eyes, daring eyebrows that tilted upward, and her mouth—such plump pouting lips, such smooth skin. She was beautiful, but she did not look the way I remembered her, and I was sorry it was not her burnt face in the photo. The more I looked, however, the more she became familiar. And then I realized: Her face, her hope, her knowledge, her sadness—they were mine. Then I cried and cried, glutting my heart with joy and self-pity.

“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that. I don’t want to make you tense. I’m just trying to get to know you. When I told the waiter this was our first date, I meant it, in a way. I want to pretend I’ve just met you, love at first sight, and I want to know who you are. I love you, Ruth, but I don’t know you. And I want to know who this person is, this woman I love. That’s all.” 

Ruth sank against his chest. “I don’t know, I don’t know,” she said softly. “Sometimes I feel like I’m a pair of eyes and ears, and I’m just trying to stay safe and make sense of what’s happening. I know what to avoid, what to worry about. I’m like those kids who live with gunfire going off around them. I don’t want pain. I don’t want to die. I don’t want to see other people around me die. But I don’t have anything left inside me to figure out where I fit in or what I want. If I want anything, it’s to know what’s possible to want.”

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