It was up to him to pay back to the world in beauty and caring what Leslie had loaned him in vision and strength.
She had tricked him. She had made him leave his old self behind and come into her world, and then before he was really at home in it but too late to go back, she had left him stranded there--like an astronaut wandering about on the moon. Alone.
Sometimes it seemed to him that his life was delicate as a dandelion. One little puff from any direction, and it was blown to bits.
Shh," he said. "Look." "Where?" "Can't you see'um?" he whispered. "All the Terabithians standing on tiptoe to see you." "Me?" "Shh, yes. There's a rumor going around that the beautiful girl arrving today might be the queen they've been waiting for.
We need a place," she said, "just for us. It would be so secret that we would never tell anyone in the whole world about it." ... She lowered her voice almost to a whisper. "It might be a whole secret country," she continued, "and you and I would be the rulers of it.
It wasn't so much that he minded telling Leslie that he was afraid to go; it was that he minded being afraid. It was as though he had been made with a great piece missing - one of May Belle's puzzles with this huge gap where somebody's eye should have been. Lord, it would be better to be born without an arm than to go through life with no guts.
That was the rule that you never mixed up troubles at home with life at school. When parents were poor or ignorant or mean, or even just didn't believe in having a TV set, it was up to their kids to protect them.
It's crazy isn't it?" She shook her head. "You have to believe it, but you hate it. I don't have to believe it, and I think it's beautiful." She shook her head again. "It's crazy.
Leslie was one of those people who sat quietly at her desk, never whispering or daydreaming or chewing gum, doing beautiful schoolwork, and yet her brain was so full of mischief that if the teacher could have once seen through that mask of perfection, she would have thrown her out in horror.
Miss Edmunds was one of his secrets. He was in love with her. Not the kind of silly stuff Ellie and Brenda giggled about on the telephone. This was too real and too deep to talk about, even to think about very much.
Church always seemed the same. Jess could tune it out the same way he tuned out school, with his body standing up and sitting down in unison with the rest of the congregation but his mind numb and floating, not really thinking or dreaming but at least free.
... Jess believed, that she thought he was the best. It was not the kind of best that counted either at school or at home, but it was a genuine kind of best. He kept the knowledge of it buried inside himself like a pirate treasure. He was rich, very rich, but no one could know about it for now except his fellow outlaw, Julia Edmunds.