N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z #

View Quote Ron: I'm gonna miss you when you go.
Alex: I'll miss you too, Ron. But you're wrong if you think that the joy of life comes principally from human relationships. God's placed it all around us. It's in everything. It's in anything we can experience. People just need to change the way they look at those things.
Ron: Yeah, I'm gonna take stock of that. No, I am. I am. But I wanted to tell you something. From the bits and pieces I put together, you know, from what you told me about your family, your mother, and your dad. And I know you've got your problems with the church too. But there's some kind of bigger thing we can all appreciate and it sounds like you don't mind calling it God. But when you forgive, you love. And when you love, God's light shines on you.
[the sunlight begins to shine over them]
Alex: [laughs] Holy shit!
Ron: I told you about that language.
View Quote Ron: You strike me as a bright young man. Am I wrong about that?
Alex: Think I got my head on my shoulders pretty good.
Ron: That's what I mean. Wha- how long you been out here?
Alex: Couple of weeks.
Ron: And before that?
Alex: A lot of places. Been moving around a lot.
Ron: Well, how old are ya?
Alex: Twenty-three.
Ron: Twenty-three years old! Son, don't you think you ought to be getting an education? And a job? And making something of this life?
Alex: Mr. Franz, I think careers are a 20th Century invention and I don't want one. You don’t need to worry about me; I have a college education. I’m not destitute. I'm living like this by choice.
Ron: In the dirt?
Alex: Yeah. In the dirt.
Ron: Where's your family?
Alex: Don't have one anymore.
Ron: That's a shame.
View Quote Tracy: [walks over to Chris and Rainey's bookstand] Hi.
Alex: Hi.
[Rainey gets up and leaves]
Tracy: You selling these books?
Alex: I am. We are... he was.
View Quote Wayne: [to Chris getting dirty while working] What do you think about all this?
Alex: I like all this.
View Quote [Rainey is helping Alex do sit-ups]
Rainey: [looking over at Tracy] That poor girl is about ready to vault herself onto a fence post. And here you are, the monk of Jack ****ing LaLanne. So, Jan talked to you about Reno, huh?
Alex: Yeah.
Rainey: Children can be pretty harsh when it comes to their parents. You planning on seeing yours?
Alex: I've only got one plan, Rainey.
Rainey: That would be Alaska?
Alex: [smiles] Alaska.
View Quote [Ron drops Alex off on the side of the road]
Ron: Well, my friend...
Alex: Yep. [begins to get of the Jeep]
Ron: I had an idea. You know, my mother was an only child and so was my father, and I was their only child, so when I'm gone, I'm the end of the line. My family will be finished. What do you say... you let me adopt you? I could be, say, your grandfather. [smiles]
Alex: Ron... could we talk about this when I get back from Alaska? Would that be okay?
Ron: [crying] Yeah... yeah. We can do that. Yeah.
Alex: All right, Ron. Thank you.
View Quote Chris measured himself and those around him by a fiercely rigorous moral code. He risked what could have been a relentlessly lonely path, but found company in the characters of the books he loved from writers like Tolstoy, Jack London and Thoreau. He could summon their words to suit any occasion, and he often would. I forgot to ask what quote he'd have picked for his graduation dinner, but I had a good idea of who the primary target would be. It was inevitable that Chris would break away. And when he did, he would do it with characteristic immoderation.
View Quote From as long ago as Chris and I could remember, there have been daily bouts of rage in our house. Violence that we were forced to witness. It was very real. But it was also like theatre. They cast us as both judges and the accused. Dad had been the young genius that NASA enlisted to do crucial designs for the American satellite radar systems that would be our answer to the Russian Sputnik. And Mom and he later started up a consulting firm combining her get-up-and-go resourcefulness with his wealth of knowledge. But by the time the company actually made its first million, the careerism and money seemed only to embolden their blindness. I remember the first family meeting to let us in on their plans for getting a divorce. They wanted us to choose which of them we'd live with. We cried our eyes out. The divorce never happened, but the battles and the meetings never stopped. It wasn't very long before Chris and I shut off. We'd say, "Go ahead. Get the divorce."
View Quote In early September, Mom and Dad got a call from the Annandale police notifying them that Chris' abandoned car had been identified by the Arizona Highway Patrol. A group of rare flower hunters stumbled upon it in the desert. There were no signs that Chris had intended to return to it. But there wasn't any evidence of struggle, either. The police thought Chris had chosen to leave it behind and not that it was taken from him. The initial comfort that gave Mom and Dad quickly turned to the realization that Chris was actually trying not to be found.
View Quote It would be Christmas in a couple of months, and the last news we'd had was about his car being found. I woke up a couple of days ago, and for the first time, it bothered me that it wasn't only my parents who hadn't heard from Chris. I wondered why he hadn't tried to call in case I might answer. He could've hung up if it wasn't me. Why wouldn't he send a letter, maybe through a friend? It hurt a little, but I told myself it was good. He knew I loved him enough to bear with the not knowing. And it helped me remember that there was something more than rebellion, more than anger that was driving him. Chris had always been driven, had always been an adventurer. When he was four years old, he once wandered six blocks away from home at three o'clock in the morning. He was found in a neighbor's kitchen, up on a chair, digging through their candy drawer. Whatever drawer he was opening now must have something pretty sweet in it.
View Quote The year Chris graduated high school, he bought the Datsun used and drove it cross-country. He stayed away most of the summer. As soon as I heard he was home, I ran into his room to talk to him. In California, he'd looked up some old family friends. He discovered that our parents' stories of how they fell in love and got married were calculated lies masking an ugly truth. When they met, Dad was already married. And even after Chris was born, Dad had had another son with his first wife, Marcia, to whom he was still legally married. This fact suddenly re-defined Chris and me as bastard children. Dad's arrogance made him conveniently oblivious to the pain he caused. And Mom, in the shame and embarrassment of a young mistress, became his accomplice in deceit. The fragility of crystal is not a weakness but a fineness. My parents understood that a fine crystal glass had to be cared for or it may be shattered. But when it came to my brother, they did not seem to know or care that their course of secret action brought the kind of devastation that could cut them. Their fraudulent marriage and our father's denial of this other son was, for Chris, a murder of every day's truth. He felt his whole life turn, like a river suddenly reversing the direction of its flow, suddenly running uphill. These revelations struck at the core of Chris' sense of identity. They made his entire childhood seem like fiction. Chris never told them he knew and made me promise silence, as well.
View Quote Toward the end of June, Emory had mailed our parents Chris' final grade report. Almost all A's. A in Apartheid in South African Society. A- in Contemporary African Politics and the Food Crisis in Africa. And on it went. Clever boy, my brother. But by the end of July, we hadn't heard anything from him and my parents were becoming unsettled. Chris had never had a phone, so they decided to drive down to Atlanta and surprise him. When they arrived at the apartment, there was a "For Rent" sign up and the manager said that Chris had moved out at the end of May. So when they got home, I had to hand them all the letters that they had sent Chris that summer, which had been returned in a bundle. Chris had arranged for the post office to hold them until August 1, to buy himself some time. I understood what he was doing. That he had spent four years fulfilling the absurd and tedious duty of graduating from college and now he was emancipated from that world of abstraction, false security, parents and material excess, the things that cut Chris off from the truth of his existence.
View Quote What did his voice sound like now? What would he tell about now? I realized that the words to my thoughts were of less and less meaning. Chris was writing his story and it had to be Chris who would tell it.
View Quote When a search of tax records revealed that Chris had given his life savings to charity, Mom and Dad became what Dad called "mobilized." They hired a private investigator and notified law enforcement nationwide, determined to track him down. I just figured he'd be with gypsies, far from the eyes of the law.
View Quote With almost a year having passed since Chris' disappearance my parents' anger had turned to desperation. Their guilt was giving way to pain. And pain seemed to bring them closer. Even their faces had changed. She convinces herself it's Chris, that's her son whenever she passes a stray. And I fear for the mother in her. Instincts that seem to sense the threat of a loss so huge and irrevocable that the mind balks at taking its measure. I had begun to wonder if I can understand what Chris is saying any longer. But I catch myself and remember that these are not the parents I grew up with. That people soften by the forced reflection that comes with loss. Still everything Chris is saying has to be said. And I trust that everything he is doing has to be done. This is our life.