Elsa Briggs Quotes in The Golden Age
When at last she’d left the Isolation Ward and her parents were allowed to sit by her bed, they looked smaller to her, aged by the terror they had suffered, old, shrunken, ill-at-ease. Something had happened to her which she didn’t yet understand. As if she’d gone away and come back distant from everybody.
Sometimes even now in the Golden Age, after her mother visited, Elsa had the funny feeling that there was another mother waiting for her, blurred, gentle, beautiful as an angel, with an angel’s perfect understanding.
It seemed sadder somehow. He knew [the babies] cried because they were alone. But visitors reminded you of how much you had grown apart from them. It was almost a relief when they went home.
Margaret grieved that her daughter had to carry this burden. Elsa, each time she saw her, had become more adult. She had lost her childhood. If she didn’t see Elsa more often, didn’t pay her close attention, Margaret wouldn’t keep up with her. Her daughter would outgrow her.
Her parents never said a word about her expulsion from the Golden Age. Nothing could affect their shining gaze on Elsa. But they hadn’t tried to stick up for her, they hadn’t saved her. She saw them differently. They had no power. They cared what other people thought.