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Elisabeth Tova Bailey
“Those of us with illnesses are the holders of the silent fears of those with good health.”
“Given the ease with which health infuses life with meaning and purpose, it is shocking how swiftly illness steals away those certainties. ... Time unused and only endured still vanishes, as if time itself is starving, and each day is swallowed whole, leaving no crumbs, no memory, no trace at all.”
“There is a certain depth of illness that is piercing in its isolation: the only rule of existence is uncertainty, and the only movement is the passage of time. One cannot bear to live through another loss of function, and sometimes friends and family cannot bear to watch. An unspoken, unbridgeable divide may widen. Even if you are still who you were, you cannot actually fully be who you are.”
“We are all hostages of time. We each have the same number of minutes and hours to live within a day, yet to me it didn't feel equally doled out. My illness brought me such an abundance of time that time was nearly all I had. My friends had so little time that I often wished I could give them what time I could not use. It was perplexing how in losing health I had gained something so coveted but to so little purpose.”
“My snail possessed around 2,640 teeth ... It seemed far more sensible to belong to a species that had evolved natural tooth replacement, than to belong to one that had developed the dental profession.”
“Each evening the snail awoke and, with an astonishing amount of poise, moved gracefully to the rim of the pot and peered over, surverying, once again, the strange country that lay ahead. Pondering its circumstance with a regal air, as if from the turret of a castle, it waves its tentacles first this way and then that, as though responding to a distance melody.”