A few passages

by bethanybump

A few passages that stayed with me from Chang-rae Lee’s “On Such a Full Sea”

“But let’s suppose another way of considering her, which was that she had a special conviction of imagination. Few of us do, to be honest. We wish and wish and often with fury but never very deeply. For if we did, we’d see how the world can sometimes be split open, in just the way we hope. That it and we are, in fact, unbounded. Free.”

1401_SBR_FULLSEA_COVER.jpg.CROP.original-original“And so Fan, driving, listened to the tale of those first days for Quig and his family. Despite the awful details, his telling must have helped her relax at the wheel, the way music can allow our instincts to take over the countless mechanical operations that you couldn’t possibly orchestrate if you had to think through each one. Perhaps it’s the same for a storyteller, the sound of one’s own voice caretaking this turn and the next, and allowing the full flow.”

“Fan would have expected that one or two of the Girls would have long rebelled at spending a life in a room, would have begged, say, the dentist, to help them steal away, but the funny thing about this existence is that once firmly settled we occupy it with less guard than we know. We watch ourselves routinely brushing our teeth, or coloring the wall, or blowing off the burn from a steaming yarn of soup noodles, and for every moment there is a companion moment that elides onto it, a secret span that depends the original’s stamp. We feel ever obliged by everyday charges and tasks. They conscript us more and more. We find world enough in a frame. Until at last we take our places at the wheel, or wall, or line, having somewhere forgotten that we can look up.”

“Fan saw how much he was resisting, and to bolster him placed her hand beside his on the cafe table, the simple sight of which seemed to calm him down, the two opposing forms differently sized but too similar in the proportions of the fingers to the palm, the chafed, uneven rises of knuckle, the way their thumbs turned a little too far inward, for their being anything else but true kin.”