Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick
Originally published: August 13, 2013
“I once told Herr Silverman about that red line painting, saying I could easily do it myself, and he said in this superconfident voice, ‘But, you didn’t.‘”
“Sometimes I actually hope that he did once feel empty and hopeless and helpless enough to slash his wrists to the bone, because if he felt that horrible and survived to be such a fantastic grown-up, then maybe there’s hope for me.”
“I’m hoping he can save me, even though I realize he can’t.”
“Kids fake it better than adults, right? My theory is that we lose the ability to be happy as we age.”
“I realized that the truth doesn’t matter most of the time, and when people have awful ideas about your identity, that’s just the way it will stay no matter what you do.”
“It actually makes me feel good, and I’m surprised by the fact that I can still feel better sometimes.”
“She had this desperate look in her eyes — the kind that needs someone else to make it go away.”
“She was like one of those exotic plants that lure insects into their sticky sweet traps and then eats them. When I looked at her, I wanted to be eaten.”
“It’s like I’m too fucked up to be nice and appreciative.”
“Can’t it just exist without an explanation? Why do we have to assign meaning to art? Do we need to understand everything? Maybe it exists to evolve feelings and emotions — period. Not to mean something.”
“But really — why do some people post the correct ways to commit suicide on the internet? Do they want weird, sad, people like me to go away permanently? Do they think it’s a good idea for some people to off themselves? How can you tell when you are one of those people who should slash his wrists the right way with a razor blade? Is there an answer for that too?”
“It’s like even if Disney World were run on power generated by secret underground slaves from Africa, people who were chained and forced to ride stationary bikes hooked up to generators, people who were whipped and lived in cages at night and weren’t properly fed — people all over America would still take their children to Disney World. Just as long as no one saw the slaves being whipped. Hide the horrors and most Americans would be happy as hell. Depressing.”
“Did you ever think about all of the nights you lived through and can’t remember at all? The ones that were so mundane your brain just didn’t bother to record them. Hundreds, maybe thousands, of nights come and go without being preserved by our memory. Does that ever freak you out? Like maybe your mind recorded all the wrong nights?”
“The type that makes you risk being murdered by her enemies just so you will eventually be able to kiss her as the string music cranks up and she’s about to faint. The kind of girl for whom you happily lose your mind.”
“In addition to the P-38, there are four gifts, one for each of my friends. I want to say good-bye to them properly. I want to give them each something to remember me by. To let them know I really cared about them and I’m sorry I couldn’t be more than I was—that I couldn’t stick around—and that what’s going to happen today isn’t their fault.
Today is Leonard Peacock’s birthday. It is also the day he will kill his former best friend, and then himself, with his grandfather’s P-38 pistol.
Maybe one day he’ll believe that being different is okay, important even.
But not today.
The New York Times bestselling author of The Silver Linings Playbook, Matthew Quick, brings an unflinchingly eye to the impossible choices we deal with every day—and the light in us all that never goes out.”
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