Mum is a martyr to the cold and keeps the heating on all year round. Dad is always opening windows, complaining that she’d bankrupt the lot of us. He says our heating bills are larger than the GDP of a small African country. (Page 5)
“Can that thing get a puncture?” I said, finally nodding at the wheelchair. “Because I have no idea where I would put the jack.” (Page 52)
“You’ve never been to a concert?”
He looked genuinely shocked.
“Well, I did go to see Westlife once. But I’m not sure if that counts. It was my sister’s choice. Oh, and I was meant to go see Robbie Williams on my twenty-second birthday, but I got food poisoning.”
…I frowned at him. ”I’m not your project, Will. This isn’t My Fair Lady.”
“What?” The play you’re referring to. It’s Pygmalion. My Fair Lady is just its bastard offspring.”
You’re the most terrible snob, Clark.”
“You cut yourself off from all sorts of experiences because you tell yourself you are ‘not the sort of person.” (Page 157)
“You don’t look sorry.”
“Well…okay…maybe I wanted you to hear it. I wanted you to think about what you’re doing.”
“What, how I’m letting my life slip by…”
“God, Will. I wish you’d stop telling me what to do. What if I like watching television? What if I don’t want to do much else other than read a book?” My voice had become shrill. “What if I’m tired when I get home? What if I don’t need to fill my days with frenetic activity?”
“But one day you might wish you had,” he said, quietly. “Do you know what I do if I were you?”
I put down my peeler. “I suspect you’re going to tell me.” (Page 203)
“I get really, really scared of how this is going to go.” He let that settle in the air between us, and then in a low, calm voice he carried on. I know most people think living like me is about the worst thing that could happen. But it could get worse. I could end up not being able to breathe by myself, not being able to talk. I could get circulatory problems that mean my limbs have to be amputated. I could be hospitalized indefinitely. This isn’t much of a life, Clark. But when I think about how much worse it could get—some nights I lie in my bed and I can’t actually breathe.” (Page 246)
“You don’t need me to tell you it wasn’t your fault,” he said quietly.
I twisted the tissue in my hand. “Yes. Well. I still feel…responsible. I drank too much to show off. I was a terrible flirt. I was—“
“No. They were responsible.”
…”Right. Are you listening to me?”
I murmured a yes.
“Then I’ll tell you something good,” he said, and then he waited as if he wanted to be sure he had my attention. “Some mistakes…just have greater consequences than others. But you don’t have to let that night be the thing that defines you.” (Page 247)
“You know, you would never have let those breasts get so close to me if I weren’t in a wheelchair,” he murmured.
I looked back at him steadily. “You would never have looked at my breasts if you hadn’t been in a wheelchair.” (Page 265)
…But I understand why your friend might well have had enough. It’s tiring, leading this life, tiring in a way the AB can never truly understand. If he is determined, if he really can’t see a way of things being better for him, then I guess the best thing you can do is just be there. You don’t have to think he’s right. But you do have to be there. (Page 355)
“It has been,” I told him, “the best six months of my entire life.”
There was a long silence.
“Funnily enough, Clark, mine too.” (Page 359)
How is it you have the right to destroy my life, I wanted to demand of him, but I’m not allowed a say in yours? (Page 361)
So this is it. You are scored on my heart, Clark. You were from the first day you walked in, with your ridiculous clothes and your bad jokes and your complete inability to ever hide a single thing you felt. You changed my lfie so much more than this money will ever change yours.
Don’t think of me too often. I don’t want to think of you getting all maudlin. Just live well.