Puking clears the soul. Breavman rememberered what he felt like. Fry’s Stationery, buying school supplies. Ten years old. The whole new school year coiled like a dragon to be conqurered by sharp yellow Eagle pencils. Fresh erasers, rows of them, crying to be sacrificed for purity and stars for Neatness. The stacks of exercise books dazzlingly empty of mistakes, more perfect than Perfect. Unblunted compasses, lethal, containing millions of circles, too sharp and substantial for the cardboard box that contained them. Grown-up ink, black triumphs, ineradicable mistakes. Leather bags for the dedicated trek from home to class, arms free for snowball or chestnut attacks. Paper clips surprisingly heavy in their small box, rulers with markings as complicated and important as a Spitfire’s dashboard, stick red-bordered labels to fasten your name to anything. All tools benign, unused. Nothing yet an accomplice to failure. Fry’s smelled newer than even a winter newspaper brought in after the thump on the porch. And he commanded all these sparkling lieutenants.
In his best moments he reminds me of CS Lewis.
Some women possess their beauty as they do a custom sports-car or a thoroughbred horse. They drive it hard to every appointment and grant interviews from the saddle. The lucky ones have small accidents and learn to walk in the street, because nobody wants to listen to an arrogant old lady. Some women wear moss over their beauty and occasionally something rips it away – a lover, a pregnancy, maybe a death – and an incredible smile shows through, deep happy eyes, perfect skin, but this is temporary and soon the moss re-forms. Some women study and counterfeit beauty. Industries have been established to serve these women, and men are conditioned to favor them. Some women inherit beauty as a family feature, and learn to value it slowly, as the scion of a great family becomes proud of an unusual chin because so many distinguished men bore it. And some women, Breavman thought, women like Shell, create it as they go along, changing not so much their faces as the air around them. They break down old rules of light and cannot be interpreted or compared. They make every room original.
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