Book Leaving the Sea

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The clock stopped at 3:15 a long time ago, and unless you stand beneath the tower youd think the little hand had fallen off, because its perfectly hidden beneath the big hand. Mathers son wont go to school there, because they live far away from Rollingwood now. Mather doesnt even know where the public schools are in his new neighborhood. Its not so much a neighborhood as an exit off the freeway, but its pretty, in its way, with circular grass parks and housing staggered down the middle. In the spring, its one of his favorite parts of town. Something about the absence of trees makes the light seem perfect. Its hard to imagine that hell still be in the same apartment, at the same job, in the same city, when the boy starts kindergarten in a few years. But of course the boy will attend kindergarten wherever his mother is living at the time, so Mather isnt even sure why hes thinking about the schools in his neighborhood. Mather points out landmarks to the boythe old Rotterman Dam and the shipping depot built of natural black bricksbut the boy doesnt look.more...

Quote #2731306
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No one else waited outside today. No one else was stupid enough to sit and freeze on a granite ledge in middle Germany, watching the trains come in. People here knew where their loved ones were. A loved ones coordinates were simply available. Such was the nature, the very definition, of a loved one. People didnt need to risk exposure and illness waiting outside and wondering, letting their minds work up end-time scenarios.more...

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A reply popped into his inbox a few minutes later, saying that all ten students were paid in full. No one had canceled at the last minute. No one had written in for a refund. That was a lot of money to be paid in full, only to not board the ship, or to board the ship and not attend class. In the afternoon workshop session he asked his students if anyone knew of this C. L. Levy, but none of them did. Man or woman?more...

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Alma asks in a careful voice. Mather explains that nothing has, but Maureen is still not back and this isnt like her and its causing problems for him. Hes home with the boy now when he needs to be at work. He might even lose his job because of this. Im sorry to hear that your child is an inconvenience to you, Alma says. Mather curses at her, freely and at length, and Alma hangs up. Then he calls her right back. Alma Ryan. Mather explains that he is sorry and he needs her help. Alan is no inconvenience to him.more...

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I mean up until yesterday. Was there a C. L. Levy yesterday and now there is not one today? But we havent put into port yet. No one has left the ship. Fleming paused. It does stretch the imagination, he admitted.more...

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Was that a real thing? Was there a form you could fill out? Listen, said Edward. I would understand completely if you didnt feel comfortable going forward, if you maybe wanted to try somewhere else. Please, please, try somewhere else. You sound like Frederick now. Get the person to believe her rejection is actually her own idea. Classic Frederick.more...

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We made okay time. Maybe were a half hour slow, and I dont need to tell you what that means. Boom! someone yelled from the crowd, to an eruption of laughter. Boom is right, replied Frederick. But its not funny. The laughter stopped.more...

Quote #2731300
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Is there, for each of us, a culprit who will have had it coming when we go? Well, of course, not every death needs to serve as a punishment of others, even while an attractive ecology is suggested by such a theory. So many things would suddenly be explained. Yet some deathsmy own, for instancemight be independent events, not designed as rebukes or scolds for anyone on earth. Deaths not really meant to trigger guilt in anyone. Deaths perhaps not meant to cause any feelings. Self-contained events without impact. Certainly the ecology of death would need to sustain variety in this regard.more...

Quote #2731299
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Head in this direction, sir, even if it takes you over a cliff. Waiting for you, maybe, will be someone who cares. Trust us. Julian cleaned up in the patients bathroom. On the way out a nurse flagged him over to the doctors office, where his very own doctor, who he hadnt seen for days, was hanging film in a light box. The doctor greeted Julian and waved him over to a stool. Julian, instead, stepped up to the light box.more...

Quote #2731298
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He entered the colleagues shadow, and even though it was not a real shadow but a dark spill at her feet, as if something awful had flushed from a bag attached to her waist, it was her shadow nonetheless and Thomas was gaining ground. How to get ahead at work: Pretend youre moving backward. How to get fat: Swallow your own laughter. This was how his parents used to dance, shying away from each other as if to say: Im sorry, Im sorry, Im sorry. So it was that he inched into her shadow, and suddenly the air was cool and clean and he found himself breathing in fast little gulping thrills. Had anything more intensely dramatic happened ever? This is real life, folks, Thomas wanted to say. Make no mistake, it is on! As strategic as Thomas was, the colleague seemed to be choosing that other, uh, unexamined path, and even though she must have smelled and sensed and very nearly goddamn tasted Thomas, she trilled about indifferently and took, if it was possible, even less notice of the ridiculously fine gentleman nearly riding inside her clothing.more...

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