Alice Hoffman

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Alice Hoffman

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I thought about how the Boy with No Fear had played cards with the dead, how he’d grinned and thrown an ace on the table, how he’d walked through graveyards without a single shiver, how he knew death from the inside out. I wanted a man like that, one it was impossible to kill, who wouldn’t flinch if you wished him dead, who’d already been there and back.

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People hide their truest natures. I understood that; I even applauded it. What sort of world would it be if people bled all over the sidewalks, if they wept under trees, smacked whomever they despised, kissed strangers, revealed themselves? Keep a cloak, that was fine, the thing to do; present a disguise, the outside you, the one you want people to believe.

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This is what I know, the one and only thing. The best way to die is while you’re living. Even for someone like me. You’d laugh to know how long it’s taken for me to figure that out, when all I had to do was cross over the mountains. When I walk to my car in the parking lot on winter nights, I have often noticed bats, a black cloud in the darkening sky. They bring me comfort. They make me feel you’re not so far away. To think, I used to be afraid. I used to run and hide. Now I stand and look upward.

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What is the difference between love and obsession? Didn’t both make you stay up all night, wandering the streets, a victim of your own imagination, your own heartbeat? Didn’t you fall into both, headfirst into quicksand? Wasn’t every man in love a fool and every woman a slave? 

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