“ And she imagined how things could be later. It was stupid, but the picture just appeared in her mind. Abel and Magnus shoveling snow together... in twenty years, in thirty. Magnus had grown old, his broad back still strong but bent from time, his hair nearly white at the temples. And Abel... Abel was a different Abel, an adult one, one who was absolutely self-confident and didn't let his eyes dart around the room at lunch, as if he were caught in trap.
"Nonsense," she whispered. "Thirty years? You don't stay with the person you meet at seventeen... what kind of fairy tale are you living in, Anna Leemann?"
And still the picture seemed right. ”
“ I'm so glad you're here, Anne,' said Miss Lavendar, nibbling at her candy. 'If you weren't I should be blue…very blue…almost navy blue. Dreams and make-believes are all very well in the daytime and the sunshine, but when dark and storm come they fail to satisfy. One wants real things then. But you don't know this…seventeen never knows it. At seventeen dreams do satisfy because you think the realities are waiting for you further on. ”
“ Every person has one particular time in his life when he is more beautiful than he is ever going to be again. For some it is at seven, for others at seventeen or seventy, and as Laura Fleischman read out loud from Shakespeare, I remember thinking that for her it was probably just then. ”
“ This one had come to me, though, picked me out. I thought she was trouble from the start. I don't read minds and I can't see the future, but call it instinct or experience, something was prickling my spine.
You could call it something else, if you wanted: adolescence, hormones, lust. Being seventeen. That doesn't go away, however long you practice.
"Hullo," I said politely, warily.
She was long and slim and very neatly put together, dark hair tumbling over denim, old worn black jacket and jeans that somehow hadn't faded into grey. They probably didn't dare. Right from the start I saw a focus in her, a determination that must go all the way through, like the writing in a stick of Brighton rock. In another world, another lifetime, I thought she'd have raven-feathers in her hair, a bear's tooth on a thong about her. She'd be the village shaman, talking to spirits, and even the headman would be afraid of her, a little...
Seventeen, I told you. She was devastating to me, she was sitting at my table, and I couldn't afford her. Not for a minute.
If I'd stood up, if I'd left, if I'd run away...
Nah. She would just have come after me. Faster, fitter, and on longer legs. What chance did I ever have? ”