Kate Davis had come up to Jacinta at the tea table and said in her grating, bossy tone, “Well, that looks like a healthy child,” and Wayne looked back at her the way he looked at all strangers, with a direct gaze that said, I have not been badly treated yet, and so even you are to be trusted.
“I liked the other nurse,” Jacinta said. “Not this one.”
“This nurse’s name is Alma Williams,” Dr. Ho said softly.
“She’s chewing gum. Her voice is jarring and I don’t like her. I liked the other nurse. The on who showed me here. She came all the way out to the back of the hospital to ask if I was okay. She bought me a coffee. She has warm hands. I like her and I want her instead of that one. I really don’t want this nurse in here when I could have the nice one. I like the look of you and that you’re serious, and I think you will be honest with me, but if that nurse stays here I am going out and taking my baby with me, because I don’t like her.”
“Alma, can you please ring the third floor and have them send Tana down here, and be kind enough to abide by Mrs. Blake’s request?”
“It’s a pretty strange request.”
“Thank you, Alma.”
“Seeing as how I am a registered pediatric nurse.” Alma said the word pediatric as if she were about to define it to a kindergarten class.
“It’s all right, Alma.”
“Whereas Tana is —”
“I appreciate you fetching her, Alma.”
A door opened that she had not noticed and a nurse in gelatinous lipstick called, “Jacinta Blake?” in a voice too loud. Tana put her hand on Jacinta’s shoulder, and her hand was so warm Jacinta did not want it to leave her. But she had to follow the other nurse. Tana’s voice had calmed her. Voices were like that. You could lose or save a life with the sound of a voice.
It was not fair, she felt, to treat people as if they were finished beings. Everyone was always becoming and unbecoming. It was unbearable to her that she had lost Annabel and Graham, but she had borne unbearable things, and she knew how to keep going.
Thomasina was in a state of something akin to prayer, but not as helpless.
“We will love this baby of yours and Treadway’s exactly as it was born.”
“Will other people love it?”
“That baby is all right the way it is. There’s enough room in this world.”
This was how Thomasina saw it, and it was what Jacinta needed to hear.
Thomasina had every reason to be happy, but instead she held her heart at the same level she had always held it, because she did not trust extremes of feeling.
Jacinta had not felt sorry for her. She knew better than to feel sorry for anyone, It was one of the things she had learned. Feeling sorry for a person was no help to them at all. People should get on with things.
He was a man who did not want strangers to observe his routine, not that there was anything remarkable about his habits. He simply liked to inhabit his house, when he had to inhabit it, and go about his ordinary pathways in it without being looked at or talked to
The problem with words is that the most true things I can call myself are still mostly untrue.
then we could sharpen one another as iron sharpens iron.
What do you mean by happiness? What are “better” people better for? About what will you co-operate? What will you do with peace and prosperity?
Your body does not eliminate poisons by knowing their names.
But, as a matter of fact, you cannot compare this present experience with a past experience. You can only compare it with a memory of the past, which is part of the present experience.
Is it truer to classify rabbits according to their meat or according to their fur? It depends on what you want to do with them. The clash between science and religion has not shown that religion is false and science is true. It has shown that all systems of definition are relative to various purposes
But does the desire for something prove that the thing exists?
They fail to live because they are always preparing to live.
After all, the future is quite meaningless and unimportant unless, sooner or later, it is going to become the present.
If my happiness at this moment consists largely in reviewing happy memories and expectations, I am but dimly aware of this present. I shall still be dimly aware of the present when the good things that I have been expecting come to pass.