Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Life and Death: A Critical Analysis of Twilight, Reimagined, Chapters 8-10


Chapters 1-3

Chapters 4 & 5

Chapters 6 & 7

Chapter 8: Port Angeles

Summary: Bella/Beau go to Port Angeles with friends. Do some uneventful shopping. Depart from said friends to find a bookstore, and find themselves on the wrong side of Port Angeles. Bella is seen, then followed, then accosted by a rapist and his drunk cronies. Beau stumbles across--I don't know, something, a drug deal maybe? Diamond smugglers? Who even knows--and is recognized from an earlier encounter (airport) and mistaken (inexplicably) for an undercover cop. Both Bella and Beau escape mortal danger by the arrival of Edward/Edyth in the silver Volvo that launched a thousand Volvos. They all go to dinner (mushroom ravioli!) and Edward/Edyth reveal that they can kinda read minds.

Analysis: Meyer does a good job recreating the dynamics between Bella's friends with Beau's friends. Maybe I'm just speaking from my own naivete or gender assumptions, but I would think that it might be hard to get the tone quite right, and she does a nice job recreating the dynamic with boys without it being a send-up of the girls' dynamic.
But, to the real point of this chapter:
Bella is walking along, alone, in a lonely neighborhood. Mistake number one. She is noticed by a group of men. Mistake number two. After that, she's rounded up and accosted. The message that she's about to be sexually assaulted--and possibly then murdered--seems pretty clear, because she's a woman and they're a group of men, and quite frankly, that's how things go down. (If we're using Midnight Sun as reference, which, whatever, I am, the "gang" is lead by Lonny, serial rapist, which, if I'm being frank, is still way too much set up. I vastly prefer screenwriter Melissa Rosenburg's more organic townie-bros conceit).
What's really noteworthy is how much trouble Meyer is forced to go through to get Beau in a similarly dangerous situation. She sets it up at the airport, for crying out loud. Bumping into these "gangsters" (Beau's word, man, not mine. because I have too much dignity) is the very first thing that happens to him upon arrival in Washington. They somehow mistake him for an undercover cop. There's a drug deal, there are guns, there's a lead pipe--Meyer basically unleashes the entire game of Clue to create a situation as dangerous as one Bella can effortlessly find simply by walking while female. It's kind of . . . amazing. That doesn't feel like the word, but it is amazing. And, again, maybe it's my own baggage talking, but Beau still doesn't feel as threatened. There are three people when he's accosted: a woman with red lipstick, a short guy, and a not short guy. Beau is tall, sturdyish, so, unless they are really committed to shooting him, he still stands an okay chance of getting out of this situation. Bella, on the other hand, is a young girl, surrounded on all sides by four dudes. Though they're unarmed, barring the deus ex machina that is Edward's arrival, she's not getting out of there unscathed. It's interesting, and sad, to compare Bella's fundamental vulnerability to Beau's.
Secondly, dinner. It's an important step for all involved, because it represents the first conventionally romantic setting in which we see Bella/Beau and Edward/Edythe. It's also important because it demonstrated why the gender reversal fundamentally does not work for me. So, as a reader, I am inclined to identify with the person I feel most like, which, generally speaking, starts with the person of my own sex. So, when I read Twilight, I identify with Bella. When I read Life and Death, I identify with Edythe, because, if there's a female main character, I'm hardwired to identify with her. Which, gets me thinking. When I identify with Bella, what I have is a handsome and mysterious stranger interested in me. Which is fine.
HOWEVER.
When I identify with Edythe, what I'm dealing with is being interested in a 17-year-old boy, which is way less fine. Apart from the fact that it genuinely makes me feel like a creep, I am really, really wondering, why is Edythe interested in Beau? I am about 70 years younger than Edyth, an the idea of being attracted-in any way-to a 17 year old boy is, not only gross but, frankly, baffling. Why wouldn't she pretend to be in college? At least there she could date a grad student or something. I mean, do you remember 17-year-old boys? They are so awkward and weird. They smell weird and haven't read all the things you've read. What is she hoping to have in common with this kid? Beau seems like a really nice 17-year-old kid, which means that he'll probably be cooler and better looking in his mid-to-late-20s, so maybe Edythe should just give it a second.
And I know! It's the same questions we could ask about Edward and Bella (and should!), and did! I did, the second movie jokes about it. The question is there, but, I don't know, it just seems less important somehow.
And why is that? Is it because we're just socialized to feel like it's fine for an older man to be attracted to a younger woman (or, in this case, girl)? Is it because--as a society--we sexualize women at a very young age?  Is it because we're willing to believe that Edward is shallow enough to be attracted to Bella based entirely on her face, body, and scent, but Edythe wouldn't--or shouldn't--be that shallow? Is it because, when I identify with Bella in Twilight, I see myself as 17, and, even when I was only 17, I saw myself then as I see myself now--as a complex, interesting person with something to offer?
I don't know! Who even knows what the answer is here. All of the above, maybe?


Chapter 9: Theory

Summary: Right, this is where I describe the action in this chapter. However, in this chapter, there is none. They literally just drive in a car for twelve pages. I mean, okay, Bella/Beau asks some follow-up questions about the mind reading thing, and Edward/Edythe debunk basic vampire lore and then demand an explanation for Bella/Beau's latest theory about them. Spoiler alert, Bella and Beau both guess that Edward and Edythe are vampires. Then, Bella/Beau says that she/he doesn't care, and Edward/Edythe get real mad. There's that odd moment where Edward/Edythe kind of give in to their impulse to be around Bella/Beau, despite the fact that they feel they shouldn't.

Analysis: Because this chapter is so dialogue heavy, not much changes. Like, not much at all. There are huge blocks of text that are exactly the same. There are some differences, which, I think might have more to do with better writing in Life and Death than it has to do with gender analysis, but, it should be mentioned: Bella and Edward's conversation feels way more passive aggressive than the conversation Beau and Edythe have.
Twilight
"Can I ask just one more?" I pleaded as Edward accelerated much too quickly down the quiet street. He didn't seem to be paying attention to the road.
He sighed.
"One," he agreed. His lips pressed together into a cautious line.
"Well . . . you said you knew I hadn't gone into the bookstore, and that I had gone south. I was just wondering how you knew that."
He looked away, deliberating.
"I thought we were past all the evasiveness," I grumbled.
vs
Life and Death
"Can--can I ask just one more?" I stuttered quickly as she accelerated much too fast down the quiet street.
I was in no hurry to answer her question.
She shook her head. "We had a deal."
"It's not really a question," I argued. "Just a clarification of something you said before."
She rolled her eyes. "Make it quick."
"Well . . . you said you knew I hadn't gone into the bookstore, and that I had gone south. I was just wondering how you knew that."
She thought about it for a moment, deliberating.
"I thought we were past all the evasions," I said.
I said. I SAID. Again, I really think we can chalk a lot of this up to a more mature writer in Life and Death, realizing that she doesn't need to use quite so many adjectives and adverbs and that sometimes simplicity can be powerful, but the end result is that--especially when I compare them--Twilight sounds like a child is talking to an adult, and Life and Death sounds like two adults talking.
Add this to that thought: Bella stalls getting out of the car, doesn't want the moment to end. Beau does the same thing, though, he leans in, wanting to kiss Edythe. She puts a stop to it (presumably because she'll be forced to drink all his blood if she gets to close), but we have a more mature relationship with Beau and Edythe. Where Bella waits around for cues from Edward, Beau appears to exercise more agency, making the relationship appear more balanced.
Though, I have got to give Stephanie Meyer proper credit for sticking with the epitaph, "Holy crow!" that both Bella and Beau deliver when they realize the speed of Edward/Edythe's car. It appears, famously, in Twilight, and she stuck with it in Life and Death. And it sounds just as dumb the second time around. But, it took chutzpah to do it, so, good for you, Steph.
Also, a note: So, when Bella tells Edward that she doesn't care that he's a vampire, that it's too late, Edward gets all mad about it and Bella starts to cry. Which is fine, she's allowed to cry. When Beau tells Edythe the same thing, and she gets mad, he's "glad again for the scarf. My neck was a mass of crimson splotches, I was sure." This is a reference to my earlier point about how icky it is to be attracted to a 17-year-old boy. With women--and girls--a blush can bloom, a throat can flame, blood can rush into cheeks. Maybe that's part of the reason Edward's attraction to Bella feels more plausible: romantic and sensual language can be used to describe her. But, splotches? Yuck.


Chapter 10: Interrogations

Summary: Edward/Edythe picks up Bella/Beau for school, and tongues get to waggin'. Jessica/Jeremy confront Bella/Beau about the relationship with Edward/Edythe. Edward/Edythe waits outside trig for Bella/Beau, and they all go to lunch. During lunch Bella/Beau and Edward/Edythe have a real serious conversation about who likes who better.

Analysis: The most significant thing about this chapter is the way in which Jessica and Jeremy each talk about Edward and Edythe, respectively. Jessica's inquiry is nosy, though comparatively toothless. She asks if the date with Edward was planned, wonders why he picked Bella up for school, and finally if Edward has kissed her. Everything that she goes on to say after that is pretty flattering to Edward (how he's such a hottie, etc, etc), and then she finally asks Bella if she really likes Edward.
But Beau, poor, poor Beau, has to deal with Jeremy, who, as it turns out, is a real jackass. His first question (that Edythe can hear because of the mind reading) is exactly to which base Beau has gotten himself with Edythe. Gross, Jeremy. Then, in trig, he gets down to brass tacks. He is, at first, highly congratulatory of Beau, until he learns that Beau is not crowing his sexual victory. Then things take an ugly turn. Even the mean-spirited Jessica is civil enough to conceal her apparent shock that Edward has found Bella attractive, but Jeremy does Beau no such favors:
"Because, you know, it's not a secret that you've been, like, obsessed with her since you got here . . . So, I have to wonder how you turned that around. Do you have a genie in a lamp? Did you find some blackmail on her? Or did you trade your soul to the devil or something?"
He then asks, "Exactly how much did you get out of the bargain? Bet it was a pretty wild night, eh?"
Again, Jeremy. So gross.
Where Jessica reasonably assumes that Edward simply picked Bella up that morning for school, Jeremy (grossly) assumes that Beau and Edythe spent the night together (where though, man? they both live with their parents. think it out, Jeremy) and that's how they ended up carpooling that morning. And when Beau admits it was an early night, free of sexual conquests, Jeremy drops the hammer, "Obviously, it's just some pity thing." And then, "It won't take her long to get bored with you, I bet."
Ouch, man.
THEN, where Jessica was like, 'well, Edward doesn't like me, but, I don't think that makes him a bad person because I'm not a loser psychopath who thinks like that", Jeremy leans over to tell Beau that, really, he (Jeremy) is better off without a girl like Edythe. "You know what, though? . . . I think I'd rather be with a normal girl."
Beau intuits that Jeremy is implying that there is something "off or wrong" about Edythe*.
Classic Jeremy.
This is a fictional exchange, written by a woman who might not necessarily have her finger on the pulse of how 17-year-old boys talk (though, maybe she does, I don't know her life), so it might be wise not to try to learn too much from it, but, I do think the assumption from Jeremy of Edythe as a fundamentally sexual being (because he finds her sexually attractive) seems accurate, as does Jeremy's complete dismissal of her after it turns out that she's not, and, more damningly, now appears more out of his reach than ever.
So, score one very rare win in the depiction of girls vs. boys.
Also, while eating lunch in the cafeteria, there's a decently funny run between Beau and Edythe about vans trying to kill Beau. It's nice that enough time has passed that they can laugh about it. Actually, it's just nice that they can laugh together at all. Bella and Edward never laugh about anything. Like, sometimes they almost laugh at a private joke, or a mouth turns up in a half-smile, but they never laugh together. That bums me out.


Okay, up next: there's a VCR! And VCR-related sexual tension! And badminton! This chapter has it all!

*for the record, I actually think this is a stronger choice, narratively, because it adds to the tonal danger that should surround both Edythe and Edward.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

I'm With Her


Why #imwithher

The fact is, I've always been with her. Even before the hashtag. Check out that photo; that's vintage 2008 Primaries. I was disappointed that she didn't get the nomination, because I thought she was amply qualified, but, in the end, I was really happy with the way things turned out. Not only because I've been happy with President Obama's two terms in office, but also, because it allowed me to gain a greater measure of who Hillary Clinton is. She didn't get the nomination, and, instead of packing up her (undoubtedly) tasteful leather briefcase and heading off to do whatever rich and powerful people do when they don't get what they've gone after, she looked around and asked:

Where can you put me to work?

She did what she's done her whole life: she looked around and found something else she could do in service to the people of this country. I'm not a big believer in destiny, but for her, I make an exception. This presidency is her destiny. She's the most qualified candidate, ever. Not in this election. Ever. Her crowded resume certainly speaks for itself (first lady, first lady, senator, senator, secretary of state, democratic nominee, etc . . .), but what never ceases to amaze me is how dedicated she is to a public that constantly underestimates and under-appreciates her.

She scares people. I get that. As first lady people had no idea what to do with her. She threw the dinners and welcomed the guests, but she also personally lobbied congress to pass a bill benefiting children aging out of foster care. She introduced the idea that health care should not be a privilege reserved for the wealthy. She said, in a place that didn't want to hear what she had to say, that women's rights are human rights. Her message has been clear from the beginning, when she saw that the role of the first lady was a political one, and treated it as such, and worked to improve the lives of the most vulnerable. And worked to do it from the inside of a political system programmed to devalue them. And her.

And she. just. kept. working.

She wants what we want. She wants racial and social justice. She wants gender equality. She has a radical proposal to tackle deep poverty. And she can do it. She can do it all. She has the skills. The has the knowledge. She has the experience. She has the institutional memory. She has the fire. And she has the heart. I firmly believe, in my heart, that she is a good and decent person. A person stronger and more dedicated than I could ever hope to be, who cares enough to endure decades of irrelevant personal attacks, unfounded professional attacks, and can just keep moving.

Election day is on Tuesday, and I'm looking forward to casting my vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton for President of the United States. It's a moment that I've been looking forward to for a long time.

To all of you in swing states (including you, Utah--the swing state none of us saw coming), if you'd like to talk more about my firm belief in this candidate, message me directly; I'd love to have a face to face or phone to phone conversation.

And the purpose of history is to provide a receptacle
For all those myths and oddments
Which oddly we have acquired
And from which we would become unburdened
To create a newer world
To translate the future into the past.
We have no need of false revolutions
In a world where categories tend to tyrannize our minds
And hang our wills up on narrow pegs.
It is well at every given moment to seek the limits in our lives.
And once those limits are understood
To understand that limitations no longer exist.
Earth could be fair. And you and I must be free
Not to save the world in a glorious crusade
Not to kill ourselves with a nameless gnawing pain
But to practice with all the skill of our being
The art of making possible.
-Nancy Scheibner
quoted by Hillary Rodham in her commencement speech at graduation from Wellesley, 1969. Because: Destiny

(emphasis is my own)




Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Garrison Keillor, on Hillary

I saw Hillary once working a rope line for more than an hour, a Secret Service man holding her firmly by the hips as she leaned over the rope and reached into the mass of arms and hands reaching out to her. She had learned the art of encountering the crowd and making it look personal. It was not glamorous work, more like picking fruit, and it took the sort of discipline your mother instills in you: those people waited to see you so by gosh you can treat them right.
So it’s no surprise she pushed herself to the point of collapse the other day. What’s odd is the perspective, expressed in several stories, that her determination to keep going reveals a “lack of transparency” ---- that she should’ve announced she had pneumonia and gone home and crawled into bed.
I’ve never gone fishing with her, which is how you really get to know someone, but I did sit next to her at dinner once, one of those stiff dinners that is nobody’s idea of a wild good time, the conversation tends to be stilted, everybody’s beat, you worry about spilling soup down your shirtfront. She being First Lady led the way and she being a Wellesley girl, the way led upward. We talked about my infant daughter and schools and about Justice Blackmun, and I said how inspiring it was to sit and watch the Court in session, and she laughed and said, “I don’t think it’d be a good idea for me to show up in a courtroom where a member of my family might be a defendant.” A succinct and witty retort. And she turned and bestowed her attention on Speaker Dennis Hastert, who was sitting to her right. She focused on him and even made him chuckle a few times. I was impressed by her smarts, even more by her discipline.
I don’t have that discipline. Most people don’t. Politics didn’t appeal to me back in my youth, the rhetoric (“Ask not what your country can do for you”) was so wooden compared to “so we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past,” so I walked dark rainy streets imagining the great novel I wouldn’t write and was still trying to be cool and indifferent well into my thirties, when other people were making a difference in the world.
Hillary didn’t have a prolonged adolescence and fiction was not her ambition. She doesn’t do dreaminess. What some people see as a relentless quest for power strikes me as the good habits of a serious Methodist. Be steady. Don’t give up. It’s not about you. Work for the night is coming.
The woman who does not conceal her own intelligence is a fine American tradition, going back to Anne Bradstreet and Harriet Beecher Stowe and my ancestor Prudence Crandall, but none has been subjected to the steady hectoring that Mrs. Clinton has. She is the first major-party nominee to be pictured in prison stripes by the opposition. She is the first cabinet officer ever to be held personally responsible for her own email server, something ordinarily delegated to anonymous nerds in I.T. The fact that terrorists attacked an American compound in Libya under cover of darkness when Secretary Clinton presumably got some sleep has been held against her, as if she personally was in command of the defense of the compound, a walkie-talkie in her hand, calling in air strikes.
Extremism has poked its head into the mainstream, aided by the Internet. Back in the day, you occasionally saw cranks on a street corner handing out mimeographed handbills arguing that FDR was responsible for Pearl Harbor, but you saw their bad haircuts, the bitterness in their eyes, and you turned away. Now they’re in your computer, whispering that the economy is on the verge of collapse and for a few bucks they’ll tell you how to protect your savings. But lacking clear evidence, we proceed forward. We don’t operate on the basis of lurid conjecture.
Someday historians will get this right and look back at the steady pitter-pat of scandals that turned out to be nothing, nada, zero and ixnay and will conclude that, almost a century after women’s suffrage, almost 50 years after Richard Nixon signed Title IX into law, a woman was required to run for office wearing concrete shoes. Check back fifty years from now and if I’m wrong, go ahead and dance on my grave.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Exit from Babyland*

I sing a song to Edie and Posy called To Babyland. It goes like this:

How many miles to Babyland? 
Anyone can tell.
Up one flight,
To the right,
Please to ring the bell.

What do they do in Babyland?
Dream and wake and play.
Laugh and grow,
Fonder grow, 
Jolly times have they.

What do they say in Babyland?
Why the oddest things.
Might as well
Try to tell
What the birdie sings.

Who is the queen of Babyland?
Mother kind and sweet.
And her love,
Born above,
Guides the little feet.

I learned it because I like memorizing text heavy songs (it helps me keep my wits about me), and Edie liked it when I sang it out of a book. I've grown to like it because it makes me think of a time and circumstance where children lived in "the nursery" exclusively, until they hit a certain age, which both frightens and delights me. And it also reminds me that early childhood has always been an isolationist undertaking. It's just the nature of it. First it has to do with nursing, then with napping, then with eating, then, before you know it, your world is--for all intents and purposes--"the nursery". And it becomes a kingdom of childhood.

And tomorrow, Edie, for what feels like the first time, departs it. She starts kindergarten tomorrow, and, while she's not exactly going away to college, it's full day, and feels very much like from now on, she's got her own schedule to keep.

And I'm so excited for her, because I know she'll love it. Edie was born for this. Her greatest gift is that she sees everyone as a friend. And I'm excited for me, too. For the increased flexibility of only having one child to cart around, and for the solitude while Posy naps. I've been waiting for this moment too.

But, tonight--and I'm sorry to say that this is all about to become about me--I was singing the last verse:

Who is the queen of Babyland?
Mother kind and sweet.

And I kind of lost it. Because, whether I like it or not, I am the queen of Babyland. I am that presence in her life. I am THE presence in her life. I am the queen of Babyland. And, while I have my failings, I am kind and sweet. And as I sang I started thinking about how my love has guided her little feet. And, again, I know it's just kindergarten, and I don't think I would care as much if she were a little bit bad. But, she's not. She's not a bit bad. She's so good. So purely good. And the idea of sending her into an environment I can't control makes me quake. I feel really certain that she's going to be fine, great even, but, a part of me can't help but wish that she could stay in Babyland. Maybe forever.

So I couldn't sing past

And her love, born above

So Edie's little voice chimed in, finishing the song

Guides the little feet.

Then she held up her foot for me to tickle, like we always do.


*I think it goes without saying that I have never been good with change.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Olympics!

1. Why are we not talking about those weird sculptures they're giving the athletes instead of flowers? Are we? Have I missed the articles about them? I hate them. They're awkward, no one knows what to do with them on the medal stand, and you know they're just going to be collecting dust within two months (if not sooner). Besides that, Michael Phelps has no flowers to give his mom. BRING BACK THE FLOWERS (or, remember the lauren crowns from the Athens games? How about those?)!

2. It's always this point in the games when I'm like "USA! USA! WE WIN EVERYTHING!" because it's been swimming and gymnastics and judo, apparently. But then we move into track and field and "I'm like, oh, never mind. Look at all those flags I don't immediately recognize."

3. I never knew it before, but I'm really, really into women's rugby. If you haven't watched a game, check to see if they're still playing and watch a match. It's amazing. It's like football, but the game never stops. Someone gets tackled (which happens a lot), and they just push the ball out from under them to another teammate and keep going. I love it.

4. So, everyone has seen that the diving pool has turned green, right? And that the pool next to it, the water polo pool is also starting to turn green. Which is awful, because the last thing that sport needs is less visibility. I mean, we're talking hunger games territory here.

You guys, it's only a few days in and I've already learned so much. So much about the human spirit. And by extension, myself.

Also, USA! USA! USA!


Friday, March 11, 2016

Everything Should Come in List Form


How many times I've run this week: um, once.

How many times I meant to run this week: More than once.

What I'm reading: My own work. Over and over.

What I wish I was reading: Full disclosure: I've had Go Set a Watchman on my desk for months. What's my problem?

Lunch plans: Posy naps, burrito bowl*, Seinfeld re-runs.

Expecting any day: To know where Edie was accepted into kindergarten (it's a crazy world around here).

Needing: So many things. To go to Trader Joe's, for one. New hand soap for the bathroom. To stop going to bed at 2:00 am. A good run (see above).

Reading on the internets: Have You Encountered the Soft Boy, which James reads like he could have written it himself.

Photo of: A touchstone that no longer exists.

* Explanation: I like burrito bowls and eat them as often as possible, but today it's especially important as I've got an avocado that's ready to eat, and you know how that is--one day it's like "noooooot yet", and the next day it's like "now now now!".



Sunday, January 31, 2016

This Face, Her Face, Posy's Face





Dear Posy,

You are so little now.  But so much bigger than you used to be.  Sometimes you fall asleep in my arms, or on my bed, or in your high chair, and I carry you to your crib.  I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror, and your long legs stretch so much further than I ever expect them to.  I am always surprised that you no longer tuck into my arms.  I am glad, because you're so funny and busy now that you're big, but it's also a loneliness for something that's gone.  But, it's strange, because your infancy was, like, JUST here, it takes work to wrap my mind around the fact that, now that it's gone, it's gone forever.

Oh, my Posy.  You talk so much.  You have so much to say, and I love just looking at your face as you look, by turns, surprised and emphatic and happy.  And there is nothing happier than you when you're happy.  You laugh and look around and make everyone around you laugh too.  I laugh as I walk down the street and people look at us and laugh with us.  You wave more now, and it makes people on the street feel like a million bucks.  You're so democratic with your good graces: checkers at the market, our friends, old men on the street, teenagers on the bus, dad.  I love to watch how people change when you pay attention to them.  Before I had you and Edie, I knew it was charming to see a baby smile, but watching people watching you, I realize that when you smile at people, they smile back like they're looking at the face of God.

You and Edie love each other so much, and I can't think of a single thing in my life that makes me feel as happy and accomplished.  You two are not always on the same page at the same time, sometimes all Edie wants is to love you and kiss you, but you're busy with something only you know.  And sometimes you follow Edie around and she yells at you to give her some space (which I think she's heard me say).  But, a lot of the time, your chubby arms wrap around her round belly, and she leans down and kisses your head or your cheek.  You two take splashy baths together, and Edie begs us to let you sleep with her, so she can cuddle you.

Posy, your hair is always in your eyes.  You love to be outside more than anything--you run at a full toddler sprint for your coat and shoes whenever anyone mentions going for a walk.  You hate to be left behind, and cry bitterly on the days that are too cold for dad to walk you to school with Edie.

If I'm not paying enough attention to you, you grasp my face and turn it straight at yours.  You mash your face against mine, which is your version of a kiss.  Your chubby arms wrap around my neck and I know that even when your arms are long and thin and doing other things, I will feel them as an echo.  You love me, Posy-pie, and, like those people on the bus, being loved by you is like hearing the voice of God say my name.