Today we found a working pencil sharpener in class– one of those objects which draws attention as if it were an enchanted carpet or broom. The sound of it grinding away elicited a deep urge in all of the kids to come get their own sharpened. Narovi appeared with a perfectly functional pencil. She smiled brilliantly up at me, and bit off its tip as I watched. She held out the damp stump. I had no choice.
* * * * *
The wolf-stare– he did it too. You do it with Rufus, and I did it to him and he stared back, and we didnít talk at all, just battled with gentle teeth: thatís how we ended up together. You understand. It doesnít mean as much as you think, all that focused attention, but it is easy to read so much into it.
* * * * *
I have no excuse for even asking him out… I know why I’m doing it, though. He reminds me of [Julius,] who I miss. And I bet in the long run I will find this new one is not half the man Julius is, not half the dreamer or joker or passionate naif. (Wow. I donít think I knew thatís what Julius was… does anyone but me know it’s what he was?… Even [Mike], who seems willing to weigh so much on his big literary scale, asked me why Iíd dated these guys after a few anecdotes… I know I donít explain these boys well, I do not do them justice, and itís a damned shame, because they donít advocate for themselves all that well either. Where do I get these x-ray glasses? Where did I get this abalone knife?… I know itís not just that I pick bad ones, or ones that are bad for me. I pick insufferable ones, yes, but thatís the good part too. I like opals and their cracks.)
I bet I will find this new one has a tiny little shriveled-pen!s soul and nothing more to him than the stringy meat heís got clinging to those bones.
Iíll take that bet, Andrews; youíre on. I bet he has a feral secret, a whole unblemished passion left somewhere in that ribcage.
See– there is a part of me which still wants to gamble. I like that part.