Barrett is a bigger guy, not fat (not yet) but ursine, crimson of eye and lip; ginger-furred, possessed (he likes to think) of an enchanted sensual slyness, the prince transformed into wolf or lion, all slumbering large-pawed docility, awaiting, with avid yellow eyes, love's first kiss.
Where did the boy genius go? He had been, as a child, expected to be a neurosurgeon, or a great novelist. And now he's considering (or, okay, refusing to consider) law school. Was the burden of his potential too much for him?
Peter glances out at the falling snow. Oh, little man. You have brought down your house not through passion but by neglect. You who dared to think of yourself as dangerous. You are guilty not of the epic transgressions but the tiny crimes. You have failed in the most base and human of ways - you have not imagined the lives of others.
Were you relieved, maybe just a little, when they lifted you up (you weighed almost nothing by then) and shoved you into the oven? Did it seem unanticipated but right, somehow - did it strike you as satisfying, as a fate finally realized - when they slammed the door behind you?
If she were religious, she would call it the soul. It is more than the sum of her intellect and her emotions, more than the sum of her experiences, though it runs like veins of brilliant metal through all three. It is an inner faculty that recognizes the animating mysteries of the world because it is made of the same substance.