'Tenderness towards the unknown and anonymous… was a tenderness to the self.'

Michael Ondaatje
– The English Patient –

Almásy: Swoon, I’ll catch you.

Almásy: There is no God… but I hope someone looks after you.

Almásy: I just wanted you to know: I’m not missing you yet.
Katharine Clifton: You will.

Almásy: Every night I cut out my heart.
But in the morning it was full again.

Katharine Clifton: Promise me you’ll come back for me.
Almásy: I promise, I’ll come back for you. I promise, I’ll never leave you.

Katharine Clifton: Am I K in your book? I think I must be.

Katharine Clifton: You speak so many bloody languages,
and you never want to talk.

Almásy: How can you ever smile, as if your life hadn’t capsized?

Almásy: I long for the rain on my face.

Almásy: Betrayals during war are childlike compared with our betrayals during peace. New lovers are nervous and tender, but smash everything. For the heart is an organ of fire. For the heart is an organ of fire – I love that. I believe that.

Hana: I’m not in love with him. I’m in love with ghosts…
And so is he, he’s in love with ghosts.

Almásy: This… this, the hollow at the base of a woman’s throat, does it have an official name?

Katharine Clifton: Do you think you are the only one who feels anything?
Is that what you think?

Almásy: I can still taste you. I try to write, with your taste in my mouth.

Almásy: It wouldn’t be make believe if you believed in me.

Hana: There’s a man downstairs. He brought us eggs. He might stay.
Almásy: Why? Can he lay eggs?
Hana: He’s Canadian.
Almásy: Why are people always so happy when they collide with someone from the same place? What happened in Montreal when you passed a man in the street? Did you invite him to live with you?

Almásy: When were you most happy?
Katharine Clifton: Now.
Almásy: When were you least happy?
Katharine Clifton: Now.

Almásy: You’re wearing the thimble.
Katharine Clifton: Of course, you idiot.
I always wear it; I’ve always worn it; I’ve always loved you.

Almásy: What do you love?
Katharine Clifton: What do I love?
Almásy: Say everything.
Katharine Clifton: Water, with fish in it. Hedgehogs, I love hedgehogs. Marmite.
Baths, but not with other people! Islands. I could go on all day.
Almásy: Go on all day.
Katharine Clifton: Your handwriting.
Almásy: And what else?
Katharine Clifton: A husband.
Almásy: What do you hate most?
Katharine Clifton: A lie. What do you hate most?
Almásy: Ownership. Being owned. When you leave here you should forget me.

Katharine Clifton: My darling. I’m waiting for you. How long is the day in the dark? Or a week?
The fire is gone, and I’m horribly cold. I really should drag myself outside but then there’d be the sun. I’m afraid I waste the light on the paintings, not writing these words.
We die. We die rich with lovers and tribes, tastes we have swallowed, bodies we’ve entered and swum up like rivers. Fears we’ve hidden in – like this wretched cave.
I want all this marked on my body. Where the real countries are. Not boundaries drawn on maps with the names of powerful men. I know you’ll come carry me out to the Palace of Winds. That’s what I’ve wanted: to walk in such a place with you. With friends, on an earth without maps.
The lamp has gone out and I’m writing in the darkness.

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