And the clash of our cries till we spring to be free

And then I was sure.

It took a long time and all my strength to work the book around behind the heater and into what was left of our old nest in the corner, a few piles of soiled confetti with almost no smell left. Once in there I could scarcely hear the sounds of the world. The roar of trucks became the wind. The crashes and booms of falling walls were the surf beating on black rocks. And the sirens and car horns became the sad calls of seabirds. It was time to go. Jerry used to say that if you didn’t want to live your life over again, then you had wasted it. I don’t know. Even though I consider myself lucky to have lived the life I did, I would not like to be that lucky twice. I tore off a piece from the back of the book and folded it over and over. It became a wad. I made myself a little dip in the confetti, and holding the wad down with my forepaws, I read what was written on the top, and the words rang in my ears like trumpets: “Ho hang! Hang ho! And the clash of our cries till we spring to be free.” I turned around once in my nest. I unfolded the wad, unfolding it all the way out till it was once more a piece from a page, a page from a book, a book from a man. I unfolded it all the way out and I read: “But I’m loothing them that’s here and all I lothe. Loonely in my loneness. For all their faults. I am passing out. O bitter ending! They’ll never see. Nor know. Nor miss me. And it’s old and old it’s sad and old it’s sad and weary.” I stared at the words and they did not swim or blur. Rats have no tears. Dry and cold was the world and beautiful the words. Words of good-bye and farewell, farewell and so long, from the little one and the Big One. I folded the passage up again and I ate it.

— Sam Savage, Firmin


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