Mrs. Dalloway — Virginia Woolf

“Yes,” said Peter. “Yes, yes, yes,” he said, as if she drew up to the surface something which positively hurt him as it rose. Stop! Stop! he wanted to cry. For1 he was not old; his life was not over; not by any means 2. He was only just past fifty. Shall I tell her, he thought 3, or not? He would like to make a clean breast of it all. But4 she is too cold, he thought; sewing, with her scissors;5 Daisy would look ordinary beside Clarissa. And she would think me a failure, which I am in their sense, he thought; in the Dalloways’ sense6. Oh yes, he had no doubt about that; he was a failure, compared with all this—7the inlaid table, the mounted paper-knife, the dolphin and8 the candlesticks, the chair-covers and the old valuable English tinted prints—9he was a failure! I detest the smugness of the whole affair, he thought. Richard’s doing not Clarissa’s; 10 save that she married him. (11Here Lucy came into the room, carrying silver, more silver12, but charming, slender graceful she looked, he thought, as she stooped to put it down.) And this had been going on all the time! he thought; week after week; Clarissa’s life; while I—13he thought; and at once everything seemed to radiate from him; journeys; riders; quarrels; adventures; bridge parties; love affairs; work; work, work!14 and he took out his knife quite openly—his old horn-handled knife which Clarissa could swear he had had these thirty years 15 – and clenched his fist upon it.

What an extraordinary habit that was, Clarissa thought 16; always playing with a knife. Always making one feel, too, frivolous; empty-minded; a mere silly chatterbox, as he used 17 summoned, like a Queen whose guards have fallen asleep and left her unprotected (18 she had been quite taken aback by this visit – it had upset her) so that any one can stroll in and have a look at her where she lies with the brambles curbing over her, summoned19 to her help 20 the things she did; the things she liked; her husband; Elizabeth; her self, in short, which Peter hardly knew now, all to come about her and beat off the enemy.

My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

To begin with, it was a simple story: 21 I had gone into the hospital to have my appendix out. After two days they gave me food, but I couldn’t keep it down. And then a fever arrived. No one could isolate any bacteria or figure out what had gone wrong. No one ever did. I took fluids through one IV, and antibiotics came through another. They were attached to a metal pole on wobbly wheels that I pushed around with me, but I got tired easily. Toward the beginning of July, 2 whatever problem had taken hold of me went away. But until then, I was in a very strange state—a literally feverish waiting—and I really agonized. 3 I had a husband and two small daughters at home; I missed my girls terribly and I worried about them so much I was afraid it was making me sicker. When my doctor, to whom I felt a deep attachment—he was a jowly-faced Jewish man who wore such a gentle sadness on his shoulders, whose grandparents and three aunts, I heard him tell a nurse, had been killed in the camps, and who had a wife and four grown children here in New York City—this lovely man, I think, felt sorry for me, and saw to it that my girls—they were five and six—could visit me if hey had no illnesses. 4They were brought into my room by a family friend, and I saw how their little faces were dirty, and so was their hair, and I pushed back my IV apparatus into the shower with them,5 but they cried out, “Mommy, you’re so skinny!”6

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25893709-my-name-is-lucy-barton

My Last Day As A Surgeon- By: Paul Kalanithi

My Last Day As A Surgeon

By: Paul Kalanithi, January 11, 2016

By the time we finished the repair and removed the compressive soft tissue, my shoulders burned. The attending broke scrub, offered his apologies 7 and said his thanks, and left me to close. The layers came together nicely. I began to suture the skin, using a running nylon stitch 2 Most surgeons used staples, but 3. I was convinced that nylon had lower infection rates, and we would do this one, this final closure 4, my way. The skin came together perfectly, without tension 5, as if there had been no surgery at all.

Good. One good thing.6.

As we uncovered the patient, the scrub nurse, one with whom I hadn’t worked before, said, “You on call this weekend, Doc?”

“Nope.” And possibly never again.7

“Got any more cases today?” “Nope.” And possibly never again.

“Shit, well, I guess that means this is a happy ending! Work’s done. I like happy endings, don’t you, Doc?”

“Yeah. Yeah 8, I like happy endings.”

I sat down by the computer to enter orders as the nurses cleaned and the anesthesiologists began to wake the patient. I had always jokingly threatened that when I was in charge, instead of the high-energy pop music everyone liked to play in the O.R., we’d listen exclusively to bossa nova. I put “Getz/Gilberto” on the radio, and the soft, sonorous sounds of a saxophone filled the room 9.

I left the O.R. shortly after, then gathered my things, which had accumulated over seven years of work—extra sets of clothes for the nights you don’t leave, toothbrushes, bars of soap, phone chargers, snacks, my skull model and collection of neurosurgery books, and so on.

On second thought, I left my books behind. They’d be of more use here 10.

On my way out to the parking lot, a fellow approached to ask me something, but his pager went off. He looked at it, waved, turned, and ran back in to the hospital—“I’ll catch you later!” he called over his shoulder. Tears welled up 11 as I sat in the car, turned the key, and slowly pulled out into the street. I drove home, walked through the front door, hung up my white coat, and took off my I.D. badge. I pulled the battery out of my pager. I peeled off my scrubs and took a long shower.

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Disappearing by Monica Wood

So I went back. And floated again. My arms came around and the groan of the water made the tight blondes smirk 12 but I heard Good and that’s the crawl that’s it in fragments 2 the redhead when I lifted my face. Through the earplugs I heard her skinny voice. She was happy that I was floating and moving too.

Lettie stopped the lessons and read to me things out of magazines. You have to swim a lot to lose weight. You have to stop eating too. 3 Forget cake and ice cream. Doritos are out. 4 I’m not doing it for that I told her but she wouldn’t believe me. She couldn’t imagine.

Looking down that shaft of water I know I won’t fall. The water shimmers and eases up and down, the heft of me 5 doesn’t matter I float anyway.

He says it makes no difference I look the same. But I’m not the same. I can hold myself up in deep water. I can move my arms and feet and the water goes behind me, the wall comes closer. I can look down twelve feet to a cold slab of tile and not be afraid. 6 It makes a difference I tell him. Better believe it mister. 7

Then this other part happens. Other men interest me. I look at them, real ones, 8 not the ones on TV that’s something else entirely. These are real. The one with the white 9 milkweed hair who delivers the mail. The meter man from the light company, heavy thick feet in boots. A smile. Teeth. 10 I drop something out of the cart in the supermarket to see who will pick it up. Sometimes a man. One had yellow short hair and called me ma’am. Young. Thin legs and an accent. One was older. 11 Looked me in the eyes. Heavy, but not like me. My eyes are nice. I color the lids. In the pool it runs off in blue tears. When I come out my face is naked. 12

The lessons are over, I’m certified. A little certificate signed by the redhead. She says I can swim and I can. I’d do better with her body, thin calves hard as granite. 13

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