“You must learn her. You must know the reason why she is silent . . . You must love her because many have tried and failed. And she wants to know that she is worthy to be loved, that she is worthy to be kept. And, this is how you keep her.”
“You don’t know what it’s like to grow up with a mother who never said a positive thing in her life . . . For a long time I let her say what she wanted about me, and what was worse, for a long time I believed her.”
“You lose her for every second you make her feel less and less of the beauty that she is. When you make her feel that she is replaceable. She wants to feel cherished. When you make her feel that you are fleeting. She wants you to stay. When you make her feel inadequate. She wants to know that she is enough and she does not need to change for you, nor for anyone else because she is she and she is beautiful, kind and good.”
“You ask everybody you know: How long does it usually take to get over it? There are many formulas. One year for every year you dated. Two years for every year you dated. It’s just a matter of will power: The day you decide it’s over, it’s over. You never get over it.”
“You see, in my view a writer is a writer not because she writes well and easily, because she has amazing talent, because everything she does is golden. In my view a writer is a writer because even when there is no hope, even when nothing you do shows any sign of promise, you keep writing anyway.”
“You really want to know what being an X-Man feels like? Just be a smart bookish boy of color in a contemporary U.S. ghetto. Mamma mia! Like having bat wings or a pair of tentacles growing out of your chest.”
“Rutgers was just girls everywhere, and there was Oscar, keeping me up at night talking about the Green Lantern. Wondering aloud, If we were orcs, wouldn’t we, at a racial level, imagine ourselves to look like elves?”
″[Oscar] [h]ad none of the Higher Powers of your typical Dominican male, couldn’t have pulled a girl if his life depended on it. [..] Had no knack for music or business or dance, no hustle, no rap, no G. And most damning of all: no looks.”
“In September he headed to Rutgers New Brunswick, his mother gave him a hundred dollars and his first kiss in five years, his tío [uncle] a box of condoms: Use them all, he said, and then added: On girls. ”
“The white kids looked at his black skin and his afro and treated him with inhuman cheeriness. The kids of color, upon hearing him speak and seeing him move his body, shook their heads. You’re not Dominican.”
“She was that kind of mother: who makes you doubt yourself, who would wipe you out if you let her. But I’m not going to pretend either. For a long time I let her say what she wanted about me, and what was worse, for a long time I believed her.
“Let me tell you, True Believers: in the annals of Dominican piety there has never been prayer like this. The rosaries cabling through La Inca’s fingers like line flying through a doomed fisherman’s hands. And before you could say Holy! Holy! Holy! she was joined by a flock of women, young and old [...].”
“A book about the Dark Powers of the President, a book in which Abelard argued that the tales the common people told about the president—that he was supernatural, that he was not human—may in some ways have been true. That it was possible that Trujillo was, if not in fact, then in principle, a creature from another world!”
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