Beautiful Sentences

The actress’s name means nothing to her, but the old guy seems utterly changed by saying it aloud, as if he hadn’t said the name in years. Something about the name affects her, too—a crush of romantic recognition, those words, moment and forever—as if she can feel fifty years of longing in that one name, fifty years of an ache that lies dormant in her, too, maybe lies doorman in everyone until it’s cracked open like this—and so weighted is this moment she has to look to the ground or else feel the tears burn her own eyes, and at that moment Claire glances at Shane, and sees that he must feel it, too, the name hanging in the air for just a moment … among the three of them … and then floating to the floor like a falling leaf, the Italian watching it settle, Claire guessing, hoping, praying the old Italian will say the name again, more quietly this time—to underline its importance, the way it’s so often done in scripts—but he doesn’t do this. He just stares at the floor, where the name has fallen, and it occurs to Claire Silver that she’s seen too goddamn many movies.

Jess Walter, Beautiful Ruins






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