We were in the kitchen, listening to the radio — Norma preparing dinner, Mara studying for exams — when the bulletin came over the air. The United States had just gone to war with Iraq. Mara, not quite fifteen, looked up in astonishment. Norma put down her knife and wept.
I see them every day, the wounded women in the supermarket or in the bookstore, the children beaten to a whimper until all life has grayed in them. I’ve learned to recognize Fear’s signature scrawled across their faces, the way one learns to recognize a man who walks with a “prison shuffle.”
Show me someone more ridiculous than a jogger smoking. I can do five miles on the track, but only with cigarettes. Show me someone more dexterous and adroit than a swimmer on her back, floating, sucking on a cigarette like a submarine. If I am conscious, I am smoking.