Always Getting Louder

"I wondered will there come a time when we won't be joking? And what would that look like? And how would that feel?
When I was a girl, my life was music that was always getting louder. Everything moved me. A dog following a stranger. That made me feel so much. A calendar that showed the wrong month. I could have cried over it. I did. Where the smoke from a chimney ended. How an overturned bottle rested at the edge of a table.
I spent my life learning to feel less.
Is that growing old? Or is it something worse?
You cannot protect yourself from sadness without protecting yourself from happiness.
He hid his face in the covers of his daybook, as if the covers were his hands. He cried. For whom was he crying?
For Anna?
For his parents?
For me?
For himself?
I pulled the book from him. It was wet with tears running down the pages, as if the book itself were crying. He hid his face in his hands.
Let me see you cry, I told him.
I do not want to hurt you, he said by shaking his head left to right.
It hurts me when you do not want to hurt me, I told him. Let me see you cry.
He lowered his hands. On one cheek it said YES backward. On one cheek it said NO backward. He was still looking down. Now the tears did not run down his cheeks, but fell from his eyes to the ground.
Let me see you cry, I said. I did not feel that he owed it to me. And I did not feel that I owed it to him. We owed it to each other, which is something different."

- Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Jonathan Safran Foer.


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