In a perfect world everything would be either black or white, right or wrong, and everyone would know the difference. But this isn't a perfect world. The problem is people who think it is.
...One thing you learn when you've lived as long as I have-people aren't all good, and people aren't all bad. We move in and out of darkness and light all of our lives. Right now, I'm pleased to be in the light.
You see, a conflict always begins with an issue - a difference of opinion, an argument. But by the time it turns into a war, the issue doesn't matter anymore, because now it's about one thing and one thing only: how much each side hates the other.
You can't change laws without first changing human nature.' -Nurse Greta You can't change human nature without first changing the law.' -Nurse Yvonne.
Sure, I can talk like you, but I choose not to, It's like an art, you know? Picasso had to prove to the world he could paint the right way, before he goes putting both eyes on the side of a face... See if you paint wrong because that's the best you can do, you just a chump. But you do it because you want to? Then you're an artist...You can take that to the grave and dig it up when you need it.
It's funny how a flame can only burn your hand if you move too slow, you can tease it all you want and it never gets you, if your quick enough.
Roland glares at Connor and Connor glares back. Then he says what he always says at moments like this. "Nice socks." Although Roland doesn't look down right away, it derails him just enough for him to back off. He doesn't check to see if his socks match until he thinks Connor isn't looking. And the moment he does, Connor snickers. Small victories are better than none.
Looks are deceiving," Risa says. "After all, when I first saw you I thought you looked reasonably intelligent.
Unwinds didn't go out with a bang-they didn't even go out with a whimper. they went out with the silence of a candle flame pinched between two fingers.
[...] every time he forces himself to think before acting, it's her voice in his head telling him to slow down. He wants to tell her, but she's always so busy in the medical jet—and you don't just go to somebody and say, "I'm a better person because you're in my head.
What he's really saying is: Please be a human being. With a life so full of rules and regiments, it's so easy to forget that's what they are. She knows—she sees—how often compassion takes a back seat to expediency.
You...you lost your faith?" "No...just my convictions. I still very much believe in God- just not a god who condones human tithing." Lev begins to feel himself choking up with an unexpected flood of feeling, all the emotions that had been building up throughout their talk- throughout the weeks- arriving all at once like a sonic boom. "I never knew there was a choice.
They meet in the girls' bathroom. The last time they were forced to meet in a place like this, they took separate, isolated stalls. Now they share one. They hold each other in the tight space, making no excuses for it. There's no time left in their lives for games, or for awkwardness, or for pretending they don't care about each others, and so they kiss as if they've done it forever. As if it is as crucial as the need for oxygen.
I'm alone. And I'm crying. And no one is coming to the crib. And the nightlight has burned out. And I'm mad. I'm so mad. Left frontal lobe. I...I...I don't feel so good. Left occipital lobe. I... don't remember where...Left parietal lobe. I...I...I can't remember my name,but...but...Right temporal...but I'm still here. Right frontal. I'm still here... Right occipital.I'm still...Right parietal. I'm...Cerebellum. I'm...Thalamus. I...Hypothalamus. I...Hippocampus...Medulla........................
I gotta go to the bathroom," Emby mumbles. "You should have thought of that before you left," says Hayden, putting on his best mother voice. "How many times do we have to tell you? Always use the potty before climbing into a shipping crate.
Most people have two emergency modes. Fight and Flight. But Conner always knew he had three. Fight, Flight, and Screw Up Royally.
The way I see it, it's got nothing to do with all of that. It has to do with love...A person don't got a soul until that person is loved. If a mother loves her baby--wants her baby--it's got a soul from the moment she knows it's there. The moment you're loved, that's when you got your soul. --Diego.
The woman wears a floral print blouse with lots of leaves and pink flowers. Risa would like to attack her with a weed whacker.
I was asking if unwinding kills you, or if it leaves you alive somehow. C'mon—it's not like we haven't thought about it." (...) What do you think, Connor?" asks Hayden. "What happens to your soul when you get unwound?" Who says I even got one?" For the sake of argument, let's say you do." Who says I want an argument?.
Conner Lassiter. Scheduled to be unwound the 21st of November-until you went AWOL. You caused an accident that killed a bus driver, left dozens of others injured, and shut down an interstate highway for hours. Then, on top of it, you took a hostage AND shot a Juvey-cop with his own tranq gun." ..."He's the Akron AWOL?!.
Which is worse, Risa often wondered, to have tens of thousands of babies that no one wanted or to silently make then go away before they were even born.
Please what? the teacher thinks. Please break the law? Please put myself and the school at risk? But, no, that's not it at all. What he's really saying is: Please be a human being. With a life so full of rules and regiments, it's so easy to forget that's what they are. She knows—she sees—how often compassion takes a back seat to expediency.
...if more people had been organ donors, unwinding never would have happened...but people like to keep what's theirs, even after they're dead.
I don't know what happens to our consciousness when we're unwound," says Connor. "I don't even know when that consciousness starts. But I do know this." He pauses to make sure all of them are listening. "We have a right to our lives!" The kids go wild. "We have a right to choose what happens to our bodies!" The cheers reach fever pitch. "We deserve a world where both those things are possible— and it's our job to help make that world.
He does not deserve this. He has done many things, not all good, but he does not deserve this. And he never did get his priest.
One thing yo learn when you've lived as long as I have-people aren't all good, and people aren't all bad. We move in and out of darkness and light all of our lives. Right now, I'm pleased to be in the light.
Already Roland feels his limbs starting to go numb. He swallows hard. "I hate this. I hate you. I hate all of you." "I understand.
Damn right! The time of your life! Gotta wrap up all those life events, all those parties, into one - birthdays, wedding, funeral." THen he turns to their father. "Very efficient, right, Dad?".... "Here's to my brother, Lev," Marcus says. "And to our parents! Who have always done the right thing. The appropriate thing. Who have always given generously to charity. Who have always given 10 percent of everything to our church. Hey, Mom - we're lucky you had ten kids instead of five, otherwise we'd end up having to cut Lev off at the waist!.
Do I look feeble to you" "Actually, yes." "Well, looks can be deceiving. For instance, when I met you, I thought you look reasonably intelligent.
How can you pass laws about things that nobody knows?" "They do it all the time," says Hayden. "That's what law is: educated guesses at right and wrong.
His life has been like a ballpark, hasn't it? All lines, structure, and rules, never changing. But now he's been hit over the wall into unknown territory.
Lev looks at Risa, almost afraid to ask the obvious question. Finally he says, 'Uh...why do we have a baby?' 'Ask him,' says Risa. Stone-faced, Conner looks out of the window. 'They're looking for two boys and a girl. Having a baby will throw them off.' 'Great,' snaps Risa. 'Maybe we should all pick up a baby along the way.
Most people have two emergency modes. But Connor always knew he had three: Fight, Flight, and Screw Up Royally. It was a dangerous mental circuit.
He also keeps his silence when Bible passages become shredded to justify unwinding, and kids start to see the face of God in the fragments.
Sharks have a deadly form of claustrophobia. It's not so much fear of enclosed spaces as it is inability to exist in them. No one knows why. Some say it's the metal in aquariums that throws their equilibrium off. But whatever it is, big sharks don't last long in captivity.
He's become like that briefcase in the ground-full of gems yet void of light, so nothing sparkles, nothing shines.
The Bill of Life was signed, the Unwind Accord went into effect, and the war was over. Everyone was so happy to end the war, no one cared about the consequences.
of course, if more people had been organ donors, unwinding never would have happened... but people like to keep what's theirs, even after their dead. It didnt take long for ethics to be crushed by greed. Unwinding became big business, and people let it happen.
She smiles at them as they go by and continues to play, making it clear that this furnace of a place, full of planes that cannot fly, is more than it seems. It is a womb of redemption for every Unwind, and fora ll those who fought the Heartland War and lost - which was everybody.
How much do you know about the Heartland War?' Connor shrugs. 'It was the last chapter in our history textbook, but we had state testing, so we never got to it.
I know this is your hand now,' she tells him. "Roland would have never touched me like that." Connor smiles, and Risa takes a moment to look down at the shark on his wrist. It holds no fear for her now, because the shark has been tamed by the soul of a boy. No- the soul of a man.
Because if their own parents didn't care enough about them to keep them, who would want them in Heaven?.
Connor tries to hold her arm to give her support, but she shakes him off and throws him a nasty gaze. "If I want your help, I'll ask. Do I look feeble to you?" "Actually, yes." "Looks are deceiving." she says. " After all, when I saw you, I thought you looked reasonably intelligent." "Very funny.