Elizabeth J. Church

The Atomic Weight of Love

Danya Bakhbakhihas quoted4 years ago
Acknowledgments
Writing is an intensely solitary endeavor, but a story isn’t truly heard until many hands have held it
Priscila Talaverahas quoted10 months ago
Of course women are flighty, I thought. We have more predators than men; we have to operate constantly with greater wariness. Women alone in parking lots can be singled out, mugged, or worse. Our own mates can beat us, kill us.
Priscila Talaverahas quoted10 months ago
“You didn’t offend me, although you may offend your professor. But, Meridian, if you really want to write, if you really want to speak through your writing, to communicate anything of value, anything worth saying—well, you have to be fearless. Sometimes, to get people to think, you have to offend, get them riled up. My advice is don’t anticipate what people will or will not think about what you’ve said, how it might alter their perspective of you.”
Priscila Talaverahas quoted10 months ago
This time I raised my voice: “I’m telling you exactly what someone should have told me. To set my career, not to give it up for some man, for anyone. Don’t you see that? I only wish someone had loved me that much.”
Priscila Talaverahas quoted10 months ago
He would grow tired of me or simply leave to return to school. As for me, I would return to . . . what? I couldn’t go back to my former life; it no longer existed.
Priscila Talaverahas quoted10 months ago
2. Because legend dictates that if the captive ravens at the Tower of London ever leave the Tower the British Empire will crumble, the Tower’s ravens’ wings are clipped.
Priscila Talaverahas quoted10 months ago
I saw the little boy in him—the part not lost to the war—whose early passions had framed who he would be, how he would be in the world. He was an only child like me, a loner playing in solitude in the high grasses of his parents’ ranch, turning rocks in his grubby, scabbed hands, puzzling over remnants of stars embedded in mundane rock.
Priscila Talaverahas quoted10 months ago
Clay should have known then to run, fast and far—from me, from Alden, from us. We were toxic, worse than any radioactive dump. We were sick together, so long sick together.
Priscila Talaverahas quoted10 months ago
And finally Alden, meeting him as an idolizing student, morphing into banality. I didn’t complain about Alden or disparage him—I’d promised myself I’d never do that, as if somehow that were a greater sin than betrayal of him with another man. What I said was that relationships die a slow, incremental death of boredom, resentment, and lassitude.
Priscila Talaverahas quoted10 months ago
Crows do not take each other for granted.
Priscila Talaverahas quoted10 months ago
“I meant this as a gift. It was just a gift.”
“I know that, and I appreciate it. But you cannot pretend that I am not still, always, giving up my dreams so that you can have yours.”
“But we’ve talked about this. I’m not going back to Chicago. This is where I want to be, and I am doing what I need to be doing.”
“And me?”
Priscila Talaverahas quoted10 months ago
“I like you, Meridian. I have a sense about you. Still waters run deep and all that.”
“Oh, I might just bore you to tears.”
“Honey, you ever let loose, you’re not coming back. That’s my prediction. You will break out of this pretentious little hellhole, that’s where I’m putting my money.”
“You may have me confused with someone else.”
“I don’t think so.” She stood, looking at her watch. “Women gotta fight hard to be free, my friend. Daily. Pitched battle.” She smoothed the sheets and kissed me on the cheek. “Wait until you get better. I have plans for you.”
“Secret plans?”
“Anarchy. Rebellion. And probably a lot of booze.”
“My my my.”
“So get better. Start eating more of the food they bring you.”
Priscila Talaverahas quoted10 months ago
“Meri,” he sighed, “I have you, and that’s plenty reason to be careful not to be bitten by any dragons I may wrestle.”
Priscila Talaverahas quoted10 months ago
“Oh, we know. We all know,” Madeline said. “Alden’s been at our dinner tables. Poor man needed a decent meal or two.”
“You missed all of the fun,” Marge said. “You missed the impossible furnaces, the water shortages, the cracks in the walls. From now on, it’s a piece of cake.”
Was this some kind of competition? If so, I’d be happy to let them win.
Priscila Talaverahas quoted10 months ago
They told me I would be all right in Los Alamos. They told me they would protect me, keep me company, that they had not deserted me any more than I had deserted them.
Priscila Talaverahas quoted10 months ago
I could understand why he wanted Los Alamos, what it represented to him, what it could do for his future, his career. Were my needs less important than his? More trivial? Or were my needs great enough to overshadow what Alden might accomplish if he could continue to pursue research that literally changed the course of man, of history? I couldn’t be that selfish, could I?
Priscila Talaverahas quoted10 months ago
We dropped a second bomb—code-named Fat Man—on Nagasaki on August 9, and on August 15, Japan accepted the terms of an unconditional surrender.
Priscila Talaverahas quoted10 months ago
Later, we learned that in an instant, birds in the sky over Hiroshima ignited in midair.
Priscila Talaverahas quoted10 months ago
Balls, my dear.”

“Balls?”

“Your manhood, your macho status.”

“Oh. And I’m supposed to want that?”

“Meri, you are that. You are one ballsy woman. The ballsiest I’ve ever known.”

“I’ll take that as a compliment.”
Priscila Talaverahas quoted10 months ago
“Meri, you are that. You are one ballsy woman. The ballsiest I’ve ever known.”

“I’ll take that as a compliment.”
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