Popularity's a weird thing. You can't really define it, and it's not cool to talk about, but you know it when you see it. Like a lazy eye, or porn.

That's okay," she says at last, returning her gaze to the fire. "He was still in love with you, anyway.

And suddenly it's all so ridiculously and stupidly clear I feel like laughing. This is what I want. This is the only thing i've ever wanted. Everything else---every single second of every single day that has come before this very moment, this kiss---has meant nothing.

It was craziness. Amor deliria nervosa. The deadliest of all deadly things.

His eyes are the color of honey. These are the eyes I remember from my dreams.

With the cure, relationships are all the same, and rules and expectations are defined. Without the cure, relationships must be reinvented every day, languages constantly decoded and deciphered. Freedom is exhausting.

That's the way I feel, at least: like there's a real me and a reflection of me, and I have no way of telling which is which.

You can build walls all the way to the sky and I will find a way to fly above them. You can try to pin me down with a hundred thousand walls, but I will find a way to resist.

Sometimes I feel like she deserves a best friend who is just a little more special. Once Hana told me that she likes me because I'm for real-because I really feel things. But that's the whole problem: how much I feel things.

I get that rush that comes when you know you're doing something wrong and are getting away with it, like stealing from the school cafeteria of getting tipsy at a family holiday without anyone knowing it.

They've torn through the fabric of invisibility that has cloaked us for years. Suddenly.

At our heart, at our base, we are no better than animals.

It's a bummer in some ways, since she never surprises me by making up my sheets anymore, or leaving folded laundry or a new sundress on my bed like she did when I was in middle school. But at least I know she's not rooting through my drawers while I'm at school, looking for drugs or sex toys or whatever.

This is not the person I wanted to become: Hatred has carved a permanent place inside me, a hollow where things are so easily lost.

As soon as she sees me she swings forward and hits a key on her keyboard. The music cuts off instantly. Strangely, the silence that follows seems just as loud.

What was the point of trying at all, if in the end you were no better, no longer, no more real than a bathroom sink and a rust stain?

Really, I say, and she smiles at me—small, tight, relieved. It's an honest smile. I add, But I don't want to be like you either. Her.

Maybe all of these different possibilities exist at the same time, like each moment we live has a thousand other moments layered underneath it that look different.

I know I must look like a fish, standing there with my mouth gaping open, but I'm.

One of the strangest things about life is that it will chug on, blind and oblivious, even as your private world-your little carved-out sphere-is twisting and morphing, even breaking apart. One day you have parents; the next day you're an orphan. One day you have a place and a path. The next day you're lost in a wilderness.

It's surprisingly nice out here, peaceful and pretty-strange to be standing in the middle of a little garden while enclosed by the massive stone walls of the prison, like being at the exact center of a hurricane, and finding peace and silence in the middle of so much shrieking damage.

You can't judge a book by its steel-toed combat boots.

You can see them every day—you can think you know them—and then you find out you hardly know them at all. I feel exhilarated, kind of like I'm being spun around a whirlpool, circling closer and closer around the same people and the same events but seeing things from different angles.

If you want something, if you take it for your own, you'll always be taking it from someone else. That's a rule too. And something must die so that others can live.

My heart is drumming in my chest so hard it aches, but it's the good kind of ache, like the feeling you get on the first real day of autumn, when the air is crisp and the leaves are all flaring at the edges and the wind smells just vaguely of smoke - like the end and the beginning of something all at once.

Amazingly, I can still see the stars: whole galaxies blooming from nothing - pink and purple suns, vast silver oceans, a thousand white moons.

I'm sorry,Lena.

No wonder the regulators decided on segregation of boys and girls: Otherwise, it would have been a nightmare, this feeling angry and self-conscious and confused and annoyed all the time.

I think about what I'll do to survive all the millions and millions of days that will be exactly like this one, two-face-to-face mirrors multiplying a reflection into infinity.

Happiness is found when no one is looking.

Another story. We cling tightly to it, and our belief turns it to truth.

She knew,now,that there was always light - beyond the dark,and the fear, out of the depths; there was sun to reach for, and air and space and freedom.

And for a split second I find her, silhouetted by the sky, arms outstretched like she's making snow angels in the air or simply laughing, turning in place; for a split second, she comes to me as the clouds, the sun, the wind touching my face and telling me that somehow, someday, it will be okay.

I'm dead, but I can't stop living.

Amazing, how hope lives. Without air or water, with hardly anything at all to nurture it.

Is it possible to tell the truth in a society of lies? Or must you always, of necessity, become a liar?

I'm not the Hana everyone told me I would be after my cure.

The most dangerous sicknesses are those that make us believe we are well.

We were lying on the blanket in the backyard of 37 Brooks, like we always did that summer. Lena was on her side, cheek resting on her hand, hair loose. Beautiful.

The past week and a half has slipped away so quickly, I can't remember individual days: Everything blurs together, turns the muddled gray of a confused dream.

You don't know shit about me, I don't know shit about you. You don't even know shit about you.

I met an Invalid, and fell for his art. He showed me his smile, and went straight for my heart.

That is the girl I was then: stumbling, sinking, lost in brightness and space. My past had been wiped clean, bleached a stark and spotless white. But you can build a future out of anything. A scrap, a flicker. The desire to go forward, slowly, one foot at a time. You can build an airy city out of ruins.

At night I sleep dreamlessly. In the mornings I wake to fog.

Only humans are unpredictable.

He doesn't love me. He never loved me. All along, he's loved her.

It strikes me how small everything is, our whole world, everything with a meaning - our stores and our raids and our jobs and our lives, even. Meanwhile the world just goes on the same as always, night cycling into day and back into night, an endless circle; seasons shifting and reforming like a monster shaking off its skin and growing up again.

My heart is fluid and soaring. There's no longer any space between heartbeats.

But the guilt goes even deeper than that. It, too, is dust: Layers and layers of it have accumulated.