something crucial is revealed to the audience
D.L. is utterly silent throughout this exchange, watching the odometer begin slowly to lose its magic. There is a reason for her silence that is in a way parallel to the historical U.S. conflict in Vietnam. For her, Vietnam does not exist except as complicatedly cancelled letters and hissingly connected phone calls, a completely flat-eyed father whom she first met on a tarmac at nine. Who had a hook. Who dropped at automobile backfires (Datsuns never backfire--too little power), who gazed dully and accepting at the mosquito feeding at his one big bicep. Who's long gone, now. Who left a note.
hauntingly magical paragraph
For there were, by this time, degrees and gradations of public sweating, from a light varnish all the way up to a shattering, uncontrollable, and totally visible and creepy sweat. The worst thing was that one degree could lead to the next if he worried about it too much, if he was too afraid that a single sweat would get worse and tried too hard to control or avoid it. The fear of it could bring it on. He did not truly begin to suffer until he understood this fact, an understanding he came to slowly at first and then all of an awful sudden.
Do pictures tell? I have a color Polaroid of Vance at seven and Veronica at twenty-nine traversing a rickety dry-gray dock in Nova Scotia to board a fishing boat. The water is a deep iron smeared with plates of foam; the sky is a thin iron smeared with same; the mass of white gulls around Vance's outstretched bread-filled hand is a cloud of plunging white V's. Vance Vigorous, as he holds out his white little child's hand, is surrounded and obscured by a cloud of living, breathing shrieking, shitting, plunging incarnations of the letter V; and I have it captured forever on quality film, giving me the right and power to cry whenever and wherever I please. What might that say about pictures.
an unexpectedly beautiful and sad paragraph
[...] He had called the station from inside the first tower to describe what was happening. The host quickly thanked him for calling in and then said, in a bit of a panic, Why are you on the phone with me? Why aren't you on your way down?
You don't understand, the man said. The whole center of the building is gone. I can't go down. That's why I'm calling.
I don't know how to describe the feeling I had in the silence that followed, except that it was approximately the length it would take you to read this sentence aloud.