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389 pages, Paperback
First published January 1, 1979
"My eyes bulged at the site of those pitiful welts on the creamy tender flesh that our father had handled with so much love and gentleness. I floundered in a maelstrom of uncertainty." (91)Floundered. In a maelstrom. Of uncertainty.
"And that is where he took me, and forced in that swollen, rigid male sex part of him that had to be satisfied. It drove into my tight and resisting flesh which tore and bled.Ladies and gentlemen, this was your puberty. How our generation functions at all, with this in our pasts, is beyond me.
"Long strings of clouds blew across the face of the full moon, so it would duck and hide, then peek out again. And on the roof, on a night that was made for lovers, we cried in each other's arms.
"'Don't hate me, Cathy, please don't hate me. I didn't mean to rape you, I swear to God. There's been many a time when I've been tempted, and I was able to turn it off.'
"'I don't hate you, Chris...it was my fault, too.' Oh yes, my fault too...I shouldn't have worn skimpy little see-through garments around a brother who had all a man's strong physical needs.
"And all we could see in the murky-gray and cold, damp clouds was that single great eye of God - shining up there in the moon."
(357 - 359)
‘We lived in the attic, Christopher, Cory, Carrie, and me.’
So how is perfection decided?
Is it by looks?
Is it by choices?
Is it by God's standards?
Or perhaps by the human's opinions?
Do children pay for their parents' decisions?
Why should they?
And who in this motherf*cking universe is entitled to do just that?
Nobody was ever going to make me hate my father or my mother! Nobody was going to have the power of life and death over menot while I was
alive and could still fight back!
“What have we done so sinful?” he asked. "Do you think we can live in one room, year after year, and not see each other? You helped put us
here. You have locked this wing so the servants cannot enter. You want to catch us doing something you consider evil. You want Cathy and me to
prove your judgment of our mother's marriage is right! Look at you, standing there in your iron- gray dress, feeling pious
and self- righteous while you starve small children!“
“I'm going to get even one day, old woman,” I said. “There's going to come a
day when you are going to be the helpless one, and I'm going to hold the whip in my hands. And there's going to be food in the kitchen that you are
never going to eat, for, as you incessantly say, God sees everything, and he has his way of working justice, an eye for an eye is his way,
“Wrong?” he repeated. “Momma, what can be right about living in one room? You said I don't sound like myselflook me over good. Am I a little
boy now? Look at Cathyis she still a child? Look longest at the twins; notice in particular how tall they've grown. Then turn your eyes back on me,
and tell me that Cathy and I are still children to be treated with condescension, and are incapable of understanding adult subjects. We haven't
remained idle, twiddling our thumbs while you were off having a good time. Through books Cathy and I have lived a zillion lives . . . our vicarious way
to feel alive.”
“I love you,” was his reply. “I make myself keep on loving you, despite what you do. I've got to love you. We all have to love you, and believe in
you, and think you are looking out for our best interests. But look at us, Momma, and really see us."
“Momma, whether or not you inherit your father's immense fortune, we want out of this room! Not next week, or tomorrowbut today! Now! This
minute! You turn that key over to me, and we'll go away, far away. And you can send us money, if you care to, or send nothing, if that's what you
want, and you need never see us again, if that is your choice, and that will solve all your problems, we'll be gone from your life, and your father need
never know we existed, and you can have what he leaves you, all to yourself.”
“Damn you to hell, Corrine Foxworth,” I shouted at the top of my lungs, “if you don't take your son to a hospital! You think you can do anything you
want with us, and no one will find out! Well, you can throw away that security blanket, for I'll find a way for revenge, if it takes me the rest of my life, I'll
see that you pay, and dearly pay, if you don't do something right now to save Cory's life. Go on, glare your eyes at me, and cry and plead, and talk to
me about money and what it can buy. But it can't buy back a child once he's dead! And if that happens, don't think I won't find a way to get to your husband and tell him you have four children you have kept hidden in a locked room with their only playground an attic . . . and you've kept them there
for years and years! See if he loves you then! Watch his face and wait to see how much respect and admiration he has for you then!” She winced,
but her eyes shot deadly looks at me. “And what's more, I'll go to the grandfather and tell him, too!” I yelled even louder. “And you won't inherit one
damned red pennyand I'll be glad, glad, glad!”
“And when I fall in love,” I began, "I will build a mountain to touch the sky. Then, my lover and I will have
best of both worlds, reality firmly under our feet, while we have our heads in the clouds with all our illusions still intact. And the purple grass will
grow all around, high enough to reach our eyes."