The Story of a Marriage Quotes

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The Story of a Marriage The Story of a Marriage by Andrew Sean Greer
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The Story of a Marriage Quotes (showing 1-24 of 24)
“Perhaps love is a minor madness. And as with madness, it's unendurable alone. The one person who can relieve us is of course the sole person we cannot go to: the one we love. So instead we seek out allies, even among strangers and wives, fellow patients who, if they can't touch the edge of our particular sorrow, have felt something that cuts nearly as deep.”
Andrew Sean Greer, The Story of a Marriage
“A lover exists only in fragments, a dozen or so if the romance is new, a thousand if we're married to him, and out of those fragments our heart constructs an entire person. What we each create, since whatever is missing is filled by our imagination, is the person we wish him to be. The less we know him, of course, the more we love him. And that's why we always remember that first rapturous night when he was a stranger, and why this rapture returns only when he's dead.”
Andrew Sean Greer, The Story of a Marriage
“How do you make someone love you? For the very young, there can be nothing harder in the world. You may try as hard as you like: place yourself beside them, cook their favourite food, bring them wine or sing the love songs that you know will move them. They will not move them. Nothing will move them. You will waste days interpreting the simple banalities of a phone call; months staring at their soft lips as they talk; you will waste years watching a body sitting in a chair and willing every muscle to take you across the room and do a simple thing, say a simple word, make them love you and you will not do it; you will waste long nights wondering how they cannot feel this - the urge to embrace, the snow melt in the heart when you are near them - how they can sit in that chair, or speak with those lips, or make a call and mean nothing by it, hide nothing in their hearts. Or perhaps what they hide is not what you want to see. Because surely they love someone. It simply isn’t you.”
Andrew Sean Greer, The Story of a Marriage
tags: love
“You cannot go around in grief and panic every day; people will not let you, they will coax you with tea and tell you to move on, bake cakes and paint walls. [...] So what you do is you let them coax you. You bake the cake and paint the wall and smile; you buy a new freezer as if you now had a plan for the future. And secretly--in the early morning--you sew a pocket in your skin. At the hollow of your throat. So that every time you smile, or nod your head at a teacher meeting, or bend over to pick up a fallen spoon, it presses and pricks and stings and you know you’ve not moved on. You never even planned to.”
Andrew Sean Greer, The Story of a Marriage
“How remarkable we are in our ability to hide things from ourselves - our conscious minds only a small portion of our actual minds, jellyfish floating on a vast dark sea of knowing and deciding.”
Andrew Sean Greer, The Story of a Marriage
“No one would have known, from how he held my hand, [that] over the years of heartache he had hatched a plot to change my life forever. He held his grip and would not let me go. I do not know what joins the parts of an atom, but it seems what binds one human to another is pain.”
Andrew Sean Greer, The Story of a Marriage
“Does love always form, like a pearl, around the hardened bits of life?”
Andrew Sean Greer, The Story of a Marriage
“It may be a childish torment, but we do not get to choose our demons.”
Andrew Sean Greer, The Story of a Marriage
“How hollow to have no secrets left; you shake yourself and nothing rattles. You're boneless as an anemone.”
Andrew Sean Greer, The Story of a Marriage
“We think we know people, and dismiss the scenes as aberrations, as the lightning strikes of madness, but surely we are wrong. Surely these are the truest moments of their lives.”
Andrew Sean Greer, The Story of a Marriage
“Change was not something you waited for, quietly, mutely, in a house by the ocean, nothing would ever change unless we forced it into shape.”
Andrew Sean Greer, The Story of a Marriage
“I have a randezvous with life.”
Andrew Sean Greer, The Story of a Marriage
“We think we know the ones we love, and though we should not be surprised to find that we don't, it is heartbreak nonetheless. It is the hardest kind of knowledge, not just about another but about ourselves. To see our lives as a fiction we have written and believed. Silence and lies. The sensation I felt that evening--that I did not know my Holland, did not know myself, that it was perhaps impossible to know a single soul on earth--it was a fearful loneliness.”
Andrew Sean Greer, The Story of a Marriage
“If you clenched your right hand in a fist, that would be my San Francisco, knocking on the Golden Gate. Your little finger would be sunny downtown on the bay, and your thumb would be our Ocean Beach out on the blue Pacific. They called it the Sunset...It sat on the very edge of the continent, with fog so dense and silver you hardly ever saw a sunset in the Sunset...”
Andrew Sean Greer, The Story of a Marriage
“...meaning his stuffed bear who was as real to him as his mother or me. Or else as imaginary.”
Andrew Sean Greer, The Story of a Marriage
“We think we know the ones we love.

Our husbands, our wives. We know them - we are them, sometimes; when separated at a party we find ourselves voicing their opinions, their taste in food or books, telling an anecdote that never happened to us but happened to them. We watch their tics of conversation, of driving and dressing, how they touch a sugar cube to their coffee and stare as it turns white to brown, then drop it, satisfied, into the cup. I watched my own husband do that every morning; I was a vigilant wife.

We think we know them. We think we love them. But what we love turns out to be a poor translation, a translation we ourselves have made, from a language we barely know. We try to get past it to the original, but we never can. We have seen it all. But what have we really understood?

One morning we awaken. Beside us, that familiar sleeping body in the bed: a new kind of stranger. For me, it came in 1953. That was when I stood in my house and saw a creature merely bewitched with my husband's face.

Perhaps you cannot see a marriage. Like those giant heavenly bodies invisible to the human eye, it can only be charted by its gravity, its pull on everything around it. That is how I think of it. That I must look at everything around it, all the hidden stories, the unseen parts, so that somewhere in the middle - turning like a dark star - it will reveal itself at last.”
Andrew Sean Greer, The Story of a Marriage
“I am sure we each loved a different man. Because a lover exists only in fragments, a dozen or so if the romance is new, a thousand if we've married him, and out of those fragments our heart constructs an entire person. What we each create, since whatever is missing is filled in by our imagination, is the person we wish him to be. The less we know him, of course, the more we love him. And that's why we always remember that first rapturous night when he was a stranger, and why this rapture returns only when he is dead.”
Andrew Sean Greer, The Story of a Marriage
“To give up a marriage - someone unmarried might imagine it's like giving up a seat in a theater, or sacrificing a trick in bridge for the possibility of better, later. But it is harsher than anyone could realize: a hot invisible fire, burning pieces of hope and fantasy, and charred bits of the past. It had to go, however, if something were to be built in its place. So I stood there and gave Buzz advice, and all I could think of were the automatons we had seen at Playland, moving beautifully in the wind, and the children who were taken behind the scenes on a tour and shown, to their surprise, the vast tangle of wires and switches that would be so hard to undo, and even worse, once undone, to bring to life again.”
Andrew Sean Greer, The Story of a Marriage
“Then I traveled. Quite a bit, in fact. You have to stockpile a few beautiful vistas in your memory, Pearlie. In case we're rationed again.”
Andrew Sean Greer, The Story of a Marriage
“A burned-out face trying not to break open at the horror he has seen. The way they look at you, those poor broken men; it's not empty or terrified at all. It's as if you were the first sign of life, of beauty, after a long, long winter. Does love always form, like a pearl, around these hardened bits of life?”
Andrew Sean Greer, The Story of a Marriage
“Some accidental frequency in the siren had lit a gene like a flare in their rib cages, freeing them - for what greater freedom could there be than to forget your home?”
Andrew Sean Greer, The Story of a Marriage
“We kept each other's stare a long time, for we had each done a startling thing, dodged time for an instant - which is the only definition of happiness I know.”
Andrew Sean Greer, The Story of a Marriage
“There is nothing like that for the boys who did not go to war; they were not soldiers, and did not die. They are burned out of history, for nothing blazes quite as hot as shame. There are no bills in circulation. But I have signed their names to this story. I have signed all of our names.

How else will we be remembered?”
Andrew Sean Greer, The Story of a Marriage
“Young people are inept at love; it is like being given a flying machine, and you leap inside, ready to set off as you've always dreamed, yet you don't have the first notion of how to make it start, much less how to make it move.”
Andrew Sean Greer, The Story of a Marriage

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