Oskar Schell Quotes in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
And also, there are so many times when you need to make a quick escape, but humans don’t have their own wings, or not yet, anyway, so what about a birdseed shirt?
Isn’t it so weird how the number of dead people is increasing even though the earth stays the same size, so that one day there isn’t going to be room to bury anyone anymore?
Actually, if limousines were extremely long, they wouldn’t need drivers. You could just get in the backseat, walk through the limousine, and then get out the front seat, which would be where you wanted to go. So in this situation, the front seat would be at the cemetery.
I spent all day walking around the park, looking for something that might tell me something, but the problem was that I didn’t know what I was looking for…But that’s how tricky Dad could be. There was nothing, which would have been unfortunate, unless nothing was a clue. Was nothing a clue?
“Can’t you even tell me if I’m on the right track?” Buckminster purred, and Dad shrugged his shoulders again. “But if you don’t tell me anything, how can I ever be right?” He circled something in an article and said, “Another way of looking at it would be, how could you ever be wrong?”
A few weeks after the words day, I started writing lots of letters. I don’t know why, but it was one of the only things that made my boots lighter.
There were four more messages from him: one at 9:12, one at 9:31, one at 9:46, and one at 10:04. I listened to them, and listened to them again, and then before I had time to figure out what to do, or even what to think or feel, the phone started ringing.
It was 10:26:47.
I looked at the caller ID and saw that it was him.
A lot of the time I’d get that feeling like I was in the middle of a huge black ocean, or in deep space, but not in the fascinating way. It’s just that everything was incredibly far away from me.
It was a weird-looking key, obviously to something extremely important, because it was fatter and shorter than a normal key. I couldn’t explain it: a fat and short key, in a little envelope, in a blue vase, on the highest shelf in his closet.
“It doesn’t make me feel good when you say that something I do reminds you of Dad.” “Oh. I’m sorry. Do I do that a lot?” “You do it all the time….And Grandma always says that things I do remind her of Grandpa…It also makes me feel unspecial.” “That’s the last thing that either Grandma or I would want. You know you’re the most special thing to us, don’t you?” “I guess so.” “The most.”
And maybe you could rate the people you knew by how much you loved them, so if the device of the person in the ambulance detected the device of the person he loved the most, or the person who loved him the most, and the person in the ambulance was really badly hurt, and might even die, the ambulance could flash GOODBYE! I LOVE YOU! GOODBYE! I LOVE YOU!
When I was exactly halfway across the Fifty-ninth Street Bridge, I thought about how a millimeter behind me was Manhattan and a millimeter in front of me was Queens. So what’s the name of the parts of New York—exactly half through the Midtown Tunnel, exactly halfway over the Brooklyn Bridge, the exact middle of the Staten Island Ferry when it’s exactly halfway between Manhattan and Staten Island—that aren’t in any borough?
I conducted a pretty fascinating experiment once where I told Feliz to save all the dust from our apartment for a year in a garbage bag for me. Then I weighed it. It weighted 112 pounds. Then I figured out that seventy percent of 112 pounds is 78.4 pounds. I weigh 76 pounds, 78 pounds when I’m sopping wet. That doesn’t actually prove anything, but it’s weird.
Ever since that day, whenever we go on walks she makes us play a game like Marco Polo, where she calls my name and I have to call back to let her know I’m OK.
I’m never exactly sure when we’re playing the game and when she’s just saying my name, so I always let her know that I’m OK.
But what was weird was that they didn’t know what they had in common, which was kind of like how I didn’t know what the thumbtack, the bent spoon, the square of aluminum foil, and all those other things I dug up in Central Park had to do with each other.
I felt, that night, on that stage, under that skull, incredibly close to everything in the universe, but also extremely alone. I wondered, for the first time in my life, if life was worth all the work it took to live. What exactly made it worth it? What’s so horrible about being dead forever, and not feeling anything, and not even dreaming? What’s so great about feeling and dreaming?
So many people enter and leave your life! Hundreds of thousands of people! You have to keep the door open so they can come in! But it also means you have to let them go!
But still, it gave me heavy, heavy boots. Dad wasn’t a Great Man, not like Winston Churchill, whoever he was. Dad was just someone who ran a family jewelry business. Just an ordinary dad. But I wished so much, then, that he had been Great. I wished he’d been famous, famous like a movie star, which is what he deserved. I wished Mr. Black had written about him, and risked his life to tell the world about him, and had reminders of him around his apartment.
“The world is a big place,” he said, “but so is the inside of an apartment! So’s this!” he said, pointing at his head.
Then, out of nowhere, a flock of birds flew by the window, extremely fast and incredibly close. Maybe twenty of them. Maybe more. But they also seemed like just one bird, because somehow they all knew exactly what to do.
I adjusted the string so the keys—one to the apartment, one to I-didn’t-know-what—rested against my heart, which was nice, except the only thing was that it felt too cold sometimes, so I put a Band-Aid on that part of my chest, and the keys rested on that.
No matter how I feel, I’m not going to let it out. If I have to cry, I’m gonna cry on the inside. If I have to bleed, I’ll bruise. If my heart starts going crazy, I’m not gonna tell everyone else in the world about it. It doesn’t help anything. It just makes everyone’s life worse.
A millimeter at a time, the Sixth Borough receded from New York…The eight bridges between Manhattan and the Sixth Borough strained and finally crumbled, one at a time, into the water. The tunnels were pulled too thin to hold anything at all. The phone and electrical lines snapped…those fireflies in glass jars, which had once been used merely for decorative purposes during the festivals of the leap, were now found in every room of every home, taking the place of artificial light.
The boy covered his can with a lid, removed it from the string, and put her love for him on a shelf in his closet. Of course, he never could open the can, because then he would lose its contents. It was enough just to know it was there.
He was on one kind of carpet, I was on another. The line where they came together reminded me of a place that wasn’t in any borough.
You can see the most beautiful things from the observation deck of the Empire State Building…It’s extremely lonely up there, and you feel far away from everything. Also it’s scary, because there are so many ways to die. But it feels safe, too, because you’re surrounded by so many people. I kept one hand touching the wall as I walked carefully around to each of the views. I saw all of the locks I’d tried to open, and the 161,999,831 I hadn’t yet.
I’d never felt more alive or alone.
I want to stop inventing. If I could know how he died, exactly how he died, I wouldn’t have to invent him dying…There were so many different ways to die, and I just need to know which was his.
OSKAR SCHELL: SON
My search was a play that Mom had written, and she knew the ending when I was at the beginning.
He needed me, and I couldn’t pick up. I just couldn’t pick up. I just couldn’t. Are you there? He asked eleven times. I know, because I’ve counted. It’s one more than I can count on my fingers….Sometimes I think he knew I was there. Maybe he kept saying it to give me time to get brave enough to pick it up.
I think about all of the things I’ve done, Oskar. And all of the things I didn’t do. The mistakes I’ve made are dead to me. But I can’t take back the things I never did.
I was surprised again, although again I shouldn’t have been. I was surprised that Dad wasn’t there. In my brain I knew he wouldn’t be, obviously, but I guess my heart believed something else. Or maybe I was surprised by how incredibly empty it was. I felt like I was looking into the dictionary definition of emptiness.
I don’t believe in God, but I believe that things are extremely complicated, and her looking over me was as complicated as anything ever could be. But it was also incredibly simple. In my only life, she was my mom, and I was her son.
I’d have said “Dad?” backwards, which would have sounded the same as “Dad” forward.
He would have told me the story of the Sixth Borough, from the voice in the can at the end to the beginning, from “I love you” to “Once upon a time…”
We would have been safe.