The Gathering

A drinker does not exist. Whatever they say, it is just the drink talking

And, in fact, this is the tale that I would love to write: history is such a romantic place, with its jarveys and urchins and side-buttoned boots. If it would just stay still, I think, and settle down. If it would just stop sliding around in my head.

Because a mother's love is God's greatest joke.

Cats, I always think, only jump into your lap to check if you are cold enough, yet, to eat.

He had beautiful manners. Which, if you ask me, was mostly a question of saying nothing, to anyone, ever.

Here we go again. Always a few drinks, but sometimes even sober, we play the unhappiness game; endlessly round and round. Ding dong. Tighter and tighter. On and on. Push me pull you. Come here and i'll tell you how much i hate you. Hang on a minute while i leave you. All the while we know we are missing the point, whatever the point used to be.

Her past is behind her, her future is of little concern. She moves towards the grave, at her own speed.

I am a trembling mess from hip to knee. There is a terrible heat, a looseness in my innards that makes me want to dig my fists between my thighs. It is a confusing feeling - somewhere between diarrhoea and sex - this grief that is almost genital.

I do not believe in evil- I believe that we are human and fallible, that we things and spoil them in an ordinary way.

I do not think we remember our family in any real sense. We live in them instead

I have been falling for months. I have been falling into my own life, for months. And I am about to hit it now.

I have no place left to live but in my own heart.

I must console him for the distance we have moved from the place where he stopped.

I see her on a Sunday after lunch, and we spend a pleasant afternoon, and when I leave I find she has run through me like water.

I think I am ready for that. I think I am ready to be met.

I think you know everything at eight. But is is hidden from you, sealed up, in a way you have to cut yourself open to find.

It is not that the Hegartys don't know what they want, it is that they don't know HOW to want. Something about their wanting went catastrophically astray.

People do not change, they are merely revealed.

the kind of person took milk in his tea on one day and decided against it on the next.

There are long stretches of time when I don't know what I am doing,
or what I have done - nothing mostly, but sometimes
it would be nice to know what kind of nothing that was...

There are so few people given us to love. I want to tell my daughters this, that each time you fall in love it is important, even at nineteen. Especially at nineteen. And if you can, at nineteen, count the people you love on one hand, you will not, at forty, have run out of fingers on the other. There are so few people given us to love and they all stick.

There is something wonderful about a death, how everything shuts down, and all the ways you thought you were vital are not even vaguely important... and it is just as you suspected - most of the stuff that you do is just stupid, really stupid, most of the stuff you do is just nagging and whining and picking up for people who are too lazy to love you.

There is something wonderful about a death, how everything shuts down, and all the ways you thought you were vital are not even vaguely important. Your husband can feed the kids, he can work the new oven, he can find the sausages in the fridge, after all. And his important meeting was not important, not in the slightest. And the girls will be picked up from school, and dropped off again in the morning. Your eldest daughter can remember her inhaler, and your youngest will take her gym kit with her, and it is just as you suspected - most of the stuff that you do is just stupid, really stupid, most of the stuff you do is just nagging and whining and picking up for people who are too lazy to love you.

They are surprisingly tall--eight-year-olds. They are surprisingly like real people. Of course your own babies are always real to you, they are all there from the word go, but even strangers' children look like proper people by the aged of eight...

Val is a bachelor farmer in his seventies, so he should, by rights, be half mad.

We do not always like the people we love- we do not always have that choice.

We have lost the art of public tenderness, these small gestures of wiping and washing; we have forgotten how abjectly the body welcomes a formal touch.

You can not libel the dead, I think, you can only console them.