The Opposite of Loneliness


by Marina Keegan

​2014 Simon & Schuster UK Ltd

  • ​I will live for love and the rest will take care of itself.
  • … everything is so beautiful and so short.
  • We don’t have a word for the opposite of loneliness, but if we did, I could say that’s what I want in life.
  • … I’m scared of losing this web we’re in. This elusive, indefinable, opposite of loneliness.
  • … the best years of our lives are not behind us. They’re part of us and are set for repetition…
  • What we have to remember is that we can still do anything. We can change our minds. We can start over.
  • The middle of the universe is tonight, is here, And everything behind is a sunk cost.
  • I think we took a certain pride in our ambiguity.
  • I granted the world a kind of strange generosity. Ideas convinced me and ordinary activities had an almost giddy newness.
  • … he could hear her tears spot his book like Braille.
  • My mother always said how amazing it is that things seem so absolute when you’re young. But the sand slides down in chutes until the dune craters are all full. Inevitable, the magazines write, and we shake our heads with somber nostalgia for the grass and its crickets.
  • I don’t know why it matters so much to me, but I want you to know that our intentions were always in the right place. If anything happens to us, at least know that.
  • … looked up at the fluorescent lights and listened as their hum mixed with the distant music.
  • … but the what-ifs always seemed to find me, creep up on me when I was lonely or tired or forced home for Christmas. He’d found someone else and I never did. Never even fell in love again.
  • The baby asked if we reall meant our forevers; he said yes, and I said I didn’t know. I wanted to experience the world and meet new people and everyone says you’re supposed to be single for at least some time. He tried to get me back, but not for too long.
  • … wondered if she was as pathetic… If she was so preoccupied with her own sense of herself that basic conversation was beyond her.
  • Some things couldn’t be flattened at the Sclerotherapy Clinic.
  • The darkness and circles were getting unbearable and most of us were beginning to crack in our own ways.
  • My car was not gross; it was occupied, cluttered, cramped. It became an extension of my bedroom, and thus an extension of myself.
  • I kept my eyes on the road, feeling the confused sadness of a child who catches a parent crying.
  • I talked a lot in my car. Thousands of words and songs and swears are absorbed in its fabric, just like the orange juice I spilled on my way to the dentist.
  • When the moon gets bored, it kills whales. Blue whales and fin whales and humpback, sperm, and orca whales: centrifugal forces don’t discriminate.
  • I worry sometimes that humans are afraid of helping humans. There’s less risk associated with animals, less fear of failure, fear of getting too involved. In war movies, a thousand soldiers can die gruesomely, but when the horse is shot, the audience is heartbroken.
  • Beached whales die on their sides, one eye pressed into the sand, the other facing up and forced to look at the moon, at the orb that pulled the water out from under its fins.
  • I’d laugh at her love and scoff at the efforts. It didn’t matter to me. I was still too young to try on her shoes.
  • In many ways, I think mortality is more manageable when we consider our eternal components, our genetics and otherwise that carry on after us. Still, soon enough, the books we write and the plants we grow will freeze up and rot in the darkness. But maybe there’s hope.
  • I like the satisfaction of solving people’s problems. That’s the most rewarding thing by far.
  • Age is but a state of mind, my dear.
  • Hey, so what do you get when you cross a centipede and a parrot? … A walkie-talkie!
  • … all I have to do is kill one bug and the rest will leave the bed to go to his funeral.
  • I feel like we can do something really cool to this world.
  • If it made them happy, after all, why not play along?
  • In the City of the Dead [India], no cameras were allowed. The dying come to die in the holy Ganges River, burning on its banks and escaping reincarnation in its waters.
  • There was nothing to be fascinated by, nothing to esteem, nothing to romanticize in this everyday examination of our immutable solipsism.
  • I blame the Internet. Its inconsiderate inclusion of everything. Success is transparent and accessible, hanging down where it can tease but not touch us. We talk into these scratchy microphones and take extra photographs but I still feel like there are just SO MANY PEOPLE.
  • I used to think printing things made them permanent, but that seems so silly now. Everything will be destroyed no matter how hard we work to create it. The idea terrifies me. I want tiny permanents. I want gigantic permanents! I want what I think and who I am captured in an anthology of indulgence I can comfortingly tuck into a shelf in some labyrinthine library.
  • I read somewhere that radio waves just keep traveling outward, flying into the universe with eternal vibrations. Sometime before I die I think I’ll find a microphone and climb to the top of the radio tower. I’ll take a deep breath and close my eyes because it will start to rain right when I reach the top. Hello, I’ll say to outer space, this is my card.

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