Katherine “Kathy” Kirk Quotes in Playing Beatie Bow
[Abigail’s] chief concern was that no one, not even her mother, should know what she was like inside. Because maybe to adults the turmoil of uncertainties, extravagant glooms, and sudden blisses, might present some kind of pattern or map, so that they could say, ‘Ah, so that’s the real Abigail, is it?’ The thought of such trespass made her stomach turn over. So she cultivated an expressionless face, a long piercing glance under her eyelashes that Grandmother called slippery. She carefully laid false trails until she herself sometimes could not find the way into her secret heart. Yet the older she grew the more she longed for someone to laugh at the false trails with, to share the secrets. What secrets? She didn’t yet know what they were herself.
The May holidays always made [Abigail] feel forlorn and restless. […] if her mother didn’t want her to help at the shop, she spent hours squashed into the corner of the brown armchair, which had once been a kindly bear and now was only a bear-shaped chair near a window which looked out on cranes and mast tops, on the deck of the Harbour Bridge and the pearly cusps of the Opera House rising through the gauzy murk like Aladdin’s palace. Mumping, her mother called it. But she was not doing that, or even thinking. Mostly she was just aware of something missing. When she was young she thought it was her father, for she had missed him miserably as well as hating him. […] But now she wasn’t a kid she knew that it wasn’t the absence of her father that caused the empty place inside. It was a part of her and she didn’t know what it was or why it was there.
“Oh, I know all you schoolgirls think you know every last word in the book about the relationships between a man and a woman; but love is a thing you have to experience before you know—” she hesitated, and then blurted out—“how powerful it can be.”
For an instant she remembered her mother's dark dewdrop eyes, as she said, “You don't know how powerful love can be,” and she thought how strange it was that love had made her both callous and tender. She did not care if this child died. Though she had never liked him, she had not wanted to deprive him of his life. But now, if his death meant that Judah lived, then she did not care a jot if he died. At the same time she did what would have made her skin creep a day or so before: she put her arms around his shivering, bony little body and held him comfortingly.
Abigail saw ahead of her the lamp that lit the steep stairs to the alley which ran down to the playground. Beatie kicked angrily at the kerbstone. Her face was undecided, back to its crabbed urchin look.
“I know you hate me because I fell in love with your brother. Well, he doesn't love me, never did and never will. And I did save Dovey for him.”
“’Twas no more than what you were sent for,” said Beatie churlishly.
Abigail lost her temper. “Oh, you know everything, don't you? Let me tell you, you sulky little pig, you know nothing about love, that's one thing. You have to experience it to know how powerful it is.”
Here she stopped, dumbstruck, remembering who had said the same words to her.