Delirium by Lauren Oliver [Quotes]

She looks like she’s on the verge of having some kind of a fit- a vein is standing out on her forehead and her voice is rising hysterically- and I wonder whether she’s going to list a tendency toward excessive anxiety on her sheet.

*

Oh, God, I think. I’m going to pee. I’m going to pee right here.

*

And suddenly I’m thinking of my mother. My mother had remained uncured despite three separate procedures, and the disease had claimed her, nipped at her insides and turned her eyes hollow and her cheeks pale, had taken control of her feet and led her, inch by inch, to the edge of a sandy cliff and into the bright, thin air of the plunge beyond.

I love you. Remember. They cannot take it. 

*

“Not gray, exactly. Right before the sun rises there’s a moment when the whole sky goes this pale nothing color not really gray but sort of, or sort of white, and I’ve always really liked it because it reminds me of waiting for something good to happen.”

*

Definitely a stampede, I think, and for one weird, detached second feel proud of myself for correctly identifying the noise.

*

People in the Wilds don’t see love as a disease, and they don’t believe in the cure. They thin it’s a kind of cruelty. Thus the slogan.

*

It’s gross, but I’ve always loved the smell of gyms: the industrial cleaning fluid and the deodorant and soccer balls and even the lingering smell of sweat. It’s comforting to me. It’s so strange how life works: You want something and you wait and wait and feel like it’s taking forever to come. Then it happens and it’s over and all you want to do is curl back up in that moment before things changed.

*

“Don’t  be and idiot. If it was on the news, it definitely wasn’t true. Besides who mixes up a cow and box of prescription meds? It’s not like it’s hard to tell the difference.”

*

It’s always like this on miles two and three, like all the stress and anxiety and irritation and fear get transformed into little needling points of physical pain, and you can’t breathe or imagine going farther or think anything but: I can’t. I can’t. I can’t. And then, just as suddenly, it’s gone. All the pain lifts away, the cramp vanishes, the fist eases off my chest, and I can breathe easily. Instantly a feeling of total happiness bubbles up inside me: the solid feeling of ground underneath me, the simplicity of movement, rocketing off my heels, pushing forward in time and space, total freedom and release.

*

“Yeah” Hana kicks at the packed dirt road. A plume of dust puffs up, resettles slowly. “Pretty crappy security for a major medical facility.” “Pretty crappy security for a petting zoo,” I say. “I resent that.” The voice comes from behind us, and both Hana and I jump.

“I leave for two seconds to get a refill”- he gestures to the bottle of water he’s holding-“and I come back to find a full-fledged break in.”

*

“Uh-huh.” He raises his eyebrows. It’s obvious he doesn’t believe us, but at least he doesn’t look angry. “They’re pretty subtle. Only a few dozen of them. I can see how you might not have noticed.”

*

His eyes are a warm amber color, and as I look at him I have a sudden, flashing memory of my mother pouring syrup over a stack of pancakes.

*

Otherwise, it would have been a nightmare, this feeling angry and self-conscious and confused and annoyed at the same time.

*

I’ve been staring at him accidentally and he turns suddenly to look at me. I drop my eyes, feeling a quick irrational terror that he has managed to read my thoughts.

*

I nearly jump out of my skin when he leans forward and directs a single word into my ear: “Gray.”

*

“I said. I prefer the ocean when it’s gray. Or not really gray. A pale, in-between color. It reminds me of waiting for something good to happen.”

*

I’ve only been out this hour a few times on my own, and the feeling is strange- frightening and exhilarating at the same time, like talking to Alex out in the open earlier this afternoon: as though the revolving eye that I know is always watching has been blinded for a fraction of a second, as though the hand you’ve been holding your whole life suddenly disappears and leaves you free to move in any direction you want.

*

Everything ends, people move on, the don’t look back. It’s how they should be.

*

“And you should hear the music. Incredible, amazing music, like nothing you’ve ever heard, music that almost takes your head off, you know? That makes you want to scream and jump up and down and break stuff and cry…”

*

Everyone you trust, everyone you think you can count on, will eventually disappoint you. When left to their own devices, people lie and keep secrets and change and disappear, some behind a different face or personality, some behind a dense early morning fog, beyond a cliff. That’s why the cure is so important. That’s why we need it.

*

“Maybe it will. Get better, I mean, once we’re cured. But until then… This is our last chance, Lena. Our last chance to do anything. Our last chance to choose.”

*

For some of us, it’s about more than deliria. Some of us, the lucky ones, will get the chance to be reborn: newer, fresher, better. Healed and whole and perfect again, like a misshaped slab of iron that comes out of the fire glowing, glittering, razor sharp.

*

Poe must have snuck out a lot when he was young.

*

Every single floorboard quivers and shudders under my feet, and I start mentally bargaining with the house: If I make it to the front door without waking Aunt Carol, I swear to God I’ll never slam another door. I’ll never call you “an old piece of turd” again, not even in my head, and I’ll never curse the basement when it floods, and I will never, ever, ever kick the bedroom wall when I’m annoyed at Jenny.

*

The music was metallic and awful, fuzzy through the speakers. This music ebbs and flows, irregular, sad. It reminds me, weirdly, of watching the ocean during a bad storm, the lashing, crashing waves and spray of foam against the docks; the way it takes your breath away, the power and the hugeness of it.

*

Out of control- that’s what it was, that’s what I hated.

*

Maybe this was the secret to talking to boys- maybe you just have to be angry all the time.

*

Most things, even the greatest movement on earth, have their beginnings in something small. An earthquake that shatters a city might begin with a tremor, a tremble, a breath. Music begins with a vibration. The flood that rushed into Portland twenty years ago after nearly two months of straight rain, that hurled up beyond the labs and damaged more than a thousand houses, swept up tires and old, smelly shoes and floated them through the streets like prizes, that left a thin film of green mold behind, a stench of rotting and decay that didn’t go away for months, begin with a trickle of water, no wider than a finger, lapping up onto the docks.

And God created the whole universe from an atom no bigger than a thought.

Grace’s life fell apart because of a single word: sympathizer. My world exploded because of a different word: suicide.

Correction: that was the first time my world exploded.

The second time my world exploded, it was also because of a word. A word that worked its way out of my throat and danced into and out of my lips before I could think about it, or stop it.

The question was: Will you meet me tomorrow?

And the word was : Yes. 

*

Sometimes I feel like if you just watch things, just sit still and let the world exist in front of you- sometimes I swear that just for a second time freezes and the world pauses in its tilt. Just for a second. And if you somehow found a way to live that second, then you would live forever.

*

He’s speaking in the tone of voice that everyone uses when they’re about to break you apart. Gentle- kind, even- like they can make the news sound better just by speaking in a lullaby voice. I’m sorry, Lena, but your mother was a troubled woman. Like you won’t somehow hear the violence underneath.

*

I know the past will drag you backward and down, have you snatching at whispers of wind and the gibberish of trees rubbing together, trying to decipher some code, trying to piece together what was broken. It’s hopeless. The past is nothing but a weight. It will build inside of you like a stone.

*

Sicks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me- such bullshit.

*

I would never do that. Never ever ever. Not even if I had a million procedures. He was alive. He had a heartbeat and blood and breath, and they left him there like trash.

*

It strikes me how small everything is, our whole world, everything with meaning- our stores and our raids and our jobs and our lives, even. Meanwhile the world just goes on the same as always, night cycling into day into night, an endless circle; seasons shifting and reforming like a monster shaking off its skin and growing it again.

*

“Everyone is asleep. They’ve been asleep for years. You seemed…awake.” Alex is close now. He closes his eyes, opens then again. “I’m tired of sleeping.”

*

My heart is drumming in my chest so hard it aches, but it’s the good kind of ache, like the feeling you get after the first day of real autumn, when the air is crisp and the leaves are all flaring at the edges and the wind smells vaguely of smoke- like the end and the beginning of something all at once.

*

It will kill me, it will kill me, it will me. And I don’t care.

*

They’re both cured, and when I ask him whether they aren’t happier now, he shrugs and says, “They miss the pain too.”

*

“What’s poetry?” I’ve never heard the word before, but I like the sound of it. It sounds elegant and easy, somehow, like a beautiful woman turning in a long dress.

*

Love: a single word, a wispy thing, a word no bigger or longer than an edge. That’s what it is: an edge; a razor. It draws up through the center of your life, cutting everything in two. Before and after. The rest of the world falls away on either side.

Before and after– and during, a moment no bigger or longer than an edge.

*

And the sun still rises and the clouds mass and drift and people shop for groceries and toilets flush and blinds go up and down. That’s when you realize that most of it- life, the relentless mechanism of existing- isn’t about you. It doesn’t include you at all. It will thrust onward even after you’ve jumped the edge. Even after you’re dead.

*

The wind picks up bits of dust across the bleak yard, sending alone plastic bag tumbling and skipping across the grass, and the air is filled with the kind of electricity that comes before a thunderstorm- the kind of crazed, vibrating energy that makes it seem like something huge could happen any second, like the whole world could just dissolve into chaos.

*

This is what people are always talking about when they talk about God: this feeling, of being held and understood and protected. Feeling this way seems about as close to saying a prayer as you could get.

*

He seems to take pleasure in this, and it reminds me of a debate I had a few weeks ago with Alex, when he was arguing against the usefulness of the cure. I said that without love, there could also be no hate: without hate, no violence. Hate isn’t the most dangerous thing, he’d said. Indifference is. 

*

The tone of his voice makes something painful run through me, but I can’t stop speaking. Destroy, destroy, destroy: I want to break everything— him, me, us, the whole city, the whole world.

*

They say the cure is about happiness, but I understand now that it isn’t, and it never was. It’s about fear: fear of pain, fear of hurt, fear, fear, fear— a blind animal existence, bumping between walls, shuffling between ever-narrowing hallways, terrified and dull and stupid.

*

know: I know that life isn’t life if you just float through it. I know that the whole point— the only point— is to find the things that matter, and hold on to them, and fight for them, and refuse to let them go.

*

Love, the deadliest of all deadly things: It kills you both when you have it and when you don’t. But that isn’t it, exactly. The condemner and the condemned. The executioner; the blade; the last-minute reprieve; the gasping breath and the rolling sky above you and the thank you, thank you, thank you, God. Love: It will kill you and save you, both.

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “Delirium by Lauren Oliver [Quotes]

  1. Pingback: Delirium aftermath. | thebookboozer

  2. Pingback: Delirium by Lauren Oliver | thebookboozer

  3. Pingback: Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Was Forced to Read | thebookboozer

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s