Carol

And she did not have to ask if this was right, no one had to tell her, because this could not have been more right or perfect.

An inarticulate anxiety, a desire to know, know anything, for certain, had jammed itself in her throat so for a moment she felt she could hardly breathe. Do you think, do you think, it began. Do you think both of us will die violently someday, be suddenly shut off? But even that question wasn’t definite enough. Perhaps it was a statement after all: I don’t want to die yet without knowing you. Do you feel the same way, Carol? She could have uttered the last question, but she could not have said all that went before it.

But Carol had not betrayed her. Carol loved her more than she loved her child. That was part of the reason why she had not promised.
She was gambling now as she had gambled on getting everything from the detective that day on the road, and she lost then, too. And now she saw Carol's face changing, saw the little signs of astonishment and shock so subtle that perhaps only she in the world could have noticed them, and Therese could not think for a moment.

But there was not a moment when she did not see Carol in her mind, and all she saw, she seemed to see through Carol. That evening, the dark flat streets of New York, the tomorrow of work, the milk bottle dropped and broken in her sink, became unimportant. She flung herself on her bed and drew a line with a pencil on a piece of paper. And another line, carefully, and another. A world was born around her, like a bright forest with a million shimmering leaves.

But when they kissed goodnight in bed, Therese felt their sudden release, that leap of response in both of them, as if their bodies were of some materials which put together inevitably created desire.

Carol raised her hand slowly and brushed her hair back, once on either side, and Therese smiled because the gesture was Carol, and it was Carol she loved and would always love. Oh, in a different way now because she was a different person, and it was like meeting Carol all over again, but it was still Carol and no one else. It would be Carol, in a thousand cities, a thousand houses, in foreign lands where they would go together, in heaven and in hell. Therese waited. Then as she was about to go to her, Carol saw her, seemed to stare at her incredulously a moment while Therese watched the slow smile growing, before her arm lifted suddenly, her hand waved a quick, eager greeting that Therese had never seen before. Therese walked toward her.

Do people always fall in love with things they can't have?'

'Always,' Carol said, smiling, too.

Do you like her'
''Of course!' What a question! Like asking her if she believe in God.

Even the pearl at her earlobe looked alive, like a drop of water that a touch might destroy.

Happiness was like a green vine spreading through her, stretching fine tendrils, bearing flowers through her flesh.

Happiness was like a green vine spreading through her, stretching fine tendrils, bearing flowers through her flesh. She had a vision of a pale-white flower, shimmering as if seen in darkness, or through water. Why did people talk of heaven, she wondered.

Her life was a series of zigzags. At nineteen, she was anxious.

How was it possible to be afraid and in love... The two things did not go together. How was it possible to be afraid, when the two of them grew stronger together every day? And every night. Every night was different, and every morning. Together they possessed a miracle.

I feel I stand in a desert with my hands outstretched, and you are raining down upon me.

I know what they'd like, they'd like a blank they could fill in. A person already filled in disturbs them terribly.

I let it boil and it's got scum on it," Carol said annoyedly. "I'm sorry."

But Therese loved it, because she knew this was exactly what Carol would always do, be thinking of something else and let the milk boil.

It always gets late with you. - Is that a compliment?

I think people often try to find through sex things that are much easier to find in other ways.

It would be Carol, in a thousand cities, a thousand houses, in foreign lands where they would go together, in heaven and in hell.

January. It was all things. And it was one thing, like a solid door. Its cold sealed the city in a gray capsule. January was moments, and January was a year. January rained the moments down, and froze them in her memory: [...]Every human action seemed to yield a magic. January was a two-faced month, jangling like jester's bells, crackling like snow crust, pure as any beginning, grim as an old man, mysteriously familiar yet unknown, like a word one can almost but not quite define.

Perhaps it was freedom itself that choked her.

She thought of people she had seen holding hands in movies, and why shouldn't she and Carol?

She tried to keep her voice steady, but it was pretense, like pretending self-control when something you loved was dead in front of your eyes. They would have to separate here.

The dusky and faintly sweet smell of her perfume came to Therese again, a smell suggestive of dark green silk, that was hers alone, like the smell of a special flower.

Their eyes met at the same instant moment, Therese glancing up from a box she was opening, and the woman just turning her head so she looked directly at Therese. She was tall and fair, her long figure graceful in the loose fur coat that she held open with a hand on her waist, her eyes were grey, colorless, yet dominant as light or fire, and, caught by them, Therese could not look away. She heard the customer in front of her repeat a question, and Therese stood there, mute. The woman was looking at Therese, too, with a preoccupied expression, as if half her mind were on whatever is was she meant to buy here, and though there were a number of salesgirls between them, There felt sure the woman would come to her, Then, Then Therese saw her walk slowly towards the counter, heard her heart stumble to catch up with the moment it had let pass, and felt her face grow hot as the woman came nearer and nearer.

Then Carol slipped her arm under her neck, and all the length of their bodies touched fitting as if something had prearranged it. Happiness was like a green vine spreading through her, stretching fine tendrils, bearing flowers through her flesh. She had a vision of a pale white flower, shimmering as if seen in darkness, or through water. Why did people talk of heaven, she wondered

Was it love or wasn't it that she felt for Carol? And how absurd it was that she didn't even know. She had heard about girls falling in love, and she knew what kind of people they were and what they looked like. Neither she nor Carol looked like that. Yet the way she felt about Carol passed all the tests for love and fitted all the descriptions.

Was life, were human relations like this always, Therese wondered. Never solid ground underfoot. Always like gravel, a little yielding, noisy so the whole world could hear, so one always listened, too, for the loud, harsh step of the intruder's foot.

What could be duller than past history!' Therese said, smiling. 'Maybe futures that won't have any history.

What was it to love someone, what was love exactly, and why did it end or not end? Those were the real questions, and who could answer them?