“Men could be with whomever they pleased. But women had to date better, kinder, richer, and bright, bright, bright, or else people got embarrassed. “I’m a very average person,” she said desperately, somehow detecting that Charlotte already knew that, knew the deep, dark, wildly obvious secret of that, and how it made Sidra slightly pathetic, unseemly — inferior, when you got right down to it. Charlotte studied Sidra’s face, headlights caught in the stare of a deer. Guns don’t kill people, thought Sidra, fizzily. Deer kill people.”
From “Willing” in Birds of America.
“She had already — carefully, obediently — stepped through all the stages of bereavement: anger, denial, bargaining, Haagen-Daz, rage.”
From “Four Calling Birds, Three French Hens”
“Ray is dyslexic. When the roofing business slows in the winter months, instead of staying in with a book, or going to psychotherapy, he drives to cheap matinees of bad movies — ‘flicks’ he calls them, or ‘cliffs’ when he’s making fun of himself.
Ray must do his charade, which is Confucious.
‘Okay. I’m ready,’ he says, and begins to wander around the living room in a wild-eyed daze, looking as confused as possible, groping at the bookcases, placing his palm to his brow. And in that moment, Therese thinks how good-looking he is and how kind and how strong and how she loves nobody else in the world even half as much.”