A fragment for my friend-- If your soul left this earth I would follow and find you Silent, my starship suspended in night.
First we only want to be seen, but once we’re seen, that’s not enough anymore. After that, we want to be remembered.
No one ever thinks they’re awful, even people who really actually are. It’s some sort of survival mechanism.
No more Internet. No more social media, no more scrolling through litanies of dreams and nervous hopes and photographs of lunches, cries for help and expressions of contentment and relationship-status updates with heart icons whole or broken, plans to meet up later, pleas, complaints, desires, pictures of babies dressed as bears or peppers for Halloween. No more reading and commenting on the lives of others, and in so doing, feeling slightly less alone in the room. No more avatars.
She had never entirely let go of the notion that if she reached far enough with her thoughts she might find someone waiting, that if two people were to cast their thoughts outward at the same moment they might somehow meet in the middle.
The beauty of this world where almost everyone was gone. If hell is other people, what is a world with almost no people in it?.
She was thinking about the way she’d always taken for granted that the world had certain people in it, either central to her days or unseen and infrequently thought of. How without any one of these people the world is a subtly but unmistakably altered place, the dial turned just one or two degrees.
Dr. Eleven: What was it like for you, at the end? Captain Lonagan: It was exactly like waking up from a dream.
We traveled so far and your friendship meant everything. It was very difficult, but there were moments of beauty. Everything ends. I am not afraid.
He found he was a man who repented almost everything, regrets crowding in around him like moths to a light. This was actually the main difference between twenty-one and fifty-one, he decided, the sheer volume of regret.
If you are the light, if your enemies are darkness, then there’s nothing that you cannot justify. There’s nothing you can’t survive, because there’s nothing that you will not do.
All three caravans of the Traveling Symphony are labeled as such, THE TRAVELING SYMPHONY lettered in white on both sides, but the lead caravan carries an additional line of text: Because survival is insufficient.
It makes me happy. It’s peaceful, spending hours working on it. It doesn’t really matter to me if anyone else sees it.
If there are again towns with streetlights, if there are symphonies and newspapers, then what else might this awakening world contain? Perhaps vessels are setting out even now, traveling toward or away from him, steered by sailors armed with maps and knowledge of the stars, driven by need or perhaps simply by curiosity: whatever became of the countries on the other side?.
I repent nothing. A line remembered from the fog of the Internet. I am heartless, she thinks, but she knows even through her guilt that this isn't true. She knows there are traps everywhere that can make her cry, she knows the way she dies a little every time someone asks her for change and she doesn't give it to them means that she's too soft for this world or perhaps just for this city, she feels so small here. There are tears in her eyes now. Miranda is a person with very few certainties, but one of them is that only the dishonorable leave when things get difficult.
WHAT WAS LOST IN THE COLLAPSE: almost everything, almost everyone, but there is still such beauty. Twilight in the altered world, a performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in a parking lot in the mysteriously named town of St. Deborah by the Water, Lake Michigan shining a half mile away.
I'm talking about these people who've ended up in one life instead of another and they are just so disappointed. Do you know what I mean? They've done what's expected of them. They want to do something different but it's impossible now, there's a mortgage, kids, whatever, they're trapped...
it is possible to survive this but not unaltered, and you will carry these men with you through all the nights of your life.
No one had any idea, it turned out. None of the older Symphony members knew much about science, which was frankly maddening given how much time these people had had to look things up on the Internet before the world ended.
The disorientation of meeting one’s sagging contemporaries, memories of a younger face crashing into the reality of jowls, under-eye pouches, unexpected lines, and then the terrible realization that one probably looks just as old as they do. Do you remember when we were young and gorgeous? Clark wanted to ask. Do you remember when everything seemed limitless? Do you remember when it seemed impossible that you’d get famous and I’d get a PhD? But instead of saying any of this he wished his friend a happy birthday.
The revelation of privacy: she can walk down the street and absolutely no one knows who she is. It's possible that no one who didn't grow up in a small place can understand how beautiful this is, how the anonymity of city life feels like freedom.
he had an idea—too sentimental to speak aloud and he knew none of his divorced friends would ever own up to it—that something must linger, a half-life of marriage, some sense memory of love even if obviously not the thing itself. He thought these people must mean something to one another, even if they didn’t like one another anymore.
Why, in his life of frequent travel, had he never recognized the beauty of flight? The improbability of it. The sound of the engines faded, the airplane receding into blue until it was folded into silence and became a far-distant dot in the sky.
So this is how it ends, she thought, when the call was over, and she was soothed by the banality of it.
He woke to quiet voices. This had been happening more and more lately, this nodding off unexpectedly, and it left him with an unsettled intimation of rehearsal. You fall asleep for short periods and then for longer periods and then forever.
It's like the corporate world's full of ghosts … maybe a fairer way of putting this would be to say that adulthood's full of ghosts … these people who've ended up in one life instead of another and they are just so disappointed ... They've done what's expected of them. They want to do something different but it's impossible now, there's a mortgage, kids, whatever, they're trapped … High-functioning sleepwalkers, essentially.
You know where I'm from," he said, and she understood what he meant by this. Once we lived on an island in the ocean. Once we took the ferry to go to high school, and at night the sky was brilliant in the absence of all these city lights. Once we paddled canoes to the lighthouse to look at petroglyphs and fished for salmon and walked through deep forests, but all of this was completely unremarkable because everyone else we knew did these things too, and here in these lives we've built for ourselves, here in these hard and glittering cities, none of this would seem real if it wasn't for you.
The beauty of this world where almost everyone was gone. If hell is other people, what is a world with almost no people in it? Perhaps soon humanity would simply flicker out, but Kirsten found this thought more peaceful than sad. So many species had appeared and later vanished from this earth; what was one more? How many people were even left now?.
We bemoaned the impersonality of the modern world, but that was a lie, it seemed to him; it had never been impersonal at all. There had always been a massive delicate infrastructure of people, all of them working unnoticed around us, and when people stop going to work, the entire operation grinds to a halt.