PDF - Ebook download as PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read book online. LOVER'S DICTIONARY DAVID LEVITHAN The paper used in this book is. Two people meet, fall in love, move in together, and then the story begins. A grand New York romance told through dictionary entries, it opens an intimate. Read The Lover's Dictionary PDF - A Novel by David Levithan Park Street Press | How does one talk about love? Is it even possible to describe.
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Taking a unique approach to this age-old problem, the nameless narrator of David Levithan's The Lover's Dictionary constructs the story of a. The Lover's Dictionary. Home · The Lover's Dictionary Author: David Levithan A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers. Read more. A sweet and touching modern love story, told through dictionary entries If the moment doesn’t pass, that’s it—you’re done. Taking a unique approach to this problem, the nameless narrator of David Levithan’s The Lover’s Dictionary has constructed the story of his.
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A stupid drunken fling while you were visiting Toby in Austin. Months ago. And the thing I hate the most is knowing how much hinges on my reaction, how your unburdening can only lead to me being burdened. If I lose it now, I will lose you, too. I know that. I hate it. You wait for my response.
Your first time in New York, feeling like you were marching through canyons, the skyscrapers leaning over to peek down at you and your trombone. Would I have believed her? The first time our mothers met: My father, your sister, her kids. How unreal it seemed at first — unreal and forced. But sharing families marks the meeting of the rivers. I think it was my dad and your niece who bonded first, over Chutes and Ladders.
I can remember how thankful I felt for that one small interaction.
My mother tried; yours, not so much. We kept talking and talking, filling the room with words, trying to make a party out of our voices. I felt silly for even mentioning it, but once I did, I knew I had to explain. And one day I got it in my head that California and Nevada were in love.
I told my mom, and she had no idea what I was talking about. I ran and got those two pieces and showed it to her — California and Nevada, completely in love. I spent all this time building a relationship.
Then one night I left the window open, and it started to rust. This is a difference between us: Like shoes. Her husband brings her coffee without her asking for it. They seem exhausted, but you can tell the exhaustion is worth it. And the kids — the kids are happy. I catch you desiring that. For your past? For your present? Your future? I have no idea.
D daunting, adj. Really, we should use this more as a verb. You daunted me, and I daunted you. Or would it be that I was daun- ted by you, and you were daunted by me? That sounds better. It daunted me that you were so beautiful, that you were so at ease in social situations, as if every room was heliotropic, with you at the center. And I guess it daunted you that I had so many more friends than you, that I could put my words together like this, on paper, and could sometimes conjure a certain sense out of things.
The key is to never recognize these imbalances. To not let the dauntingness daunt us. Just when it would seem like we were at a complete standstill, the tiebreakers would save us.
Even if neither of us got what we wanted, we found freedom in the third choices. You brought home a typewriter for me. Not just during sex, or while talking, or kissing. You catch me sometimes. But I should say this: Even when I detach, I care. You can be separate from a thing and still care about it. If I wanted to detach com- pletely, I would move my body away.
I would stop the conversation midsentence. I would leave the bed. In- stead, I hover over it for a second. I glance off in another direction. But I always glance back at you. I love the idea that an abuse can be negated. And that the things most often disabused are notions. Sometimes I tell you where I found things, and we joke about it.
Other times, I just put them back. Hours when every noise you make interferes with my silence. The proper verb for depression is sink. That someone like me could find someone like you — it renders me wordless. Because surely words would con- spire against such luck, would protest the unlikelihood of such a turn of events.
I waited until after the second, because I wanted to make sure it was real. Then, later on, I would be over- whelmed by the evidence, by all the lines connecting you to me, and us to love.
E ebullient, adj. So when the first one came, it was a kind of test. It was one of those sudden storms, and when we left Radio City, we found hundreds of people skittishly sheltered under the overhang. You took the lead, and I started to lose my sprint. But then you looked back, stopped, and waited for me to catch up, for me to take your hand, for us to continue to run in the rain, drenched and enchanted, my words to Amanda no longer feeling like a requirement, but a foretelling.
Your grandfather dies a few months after we move in to- gether. There is no question that I will go with you, but there are plenty of questions when we get to the funeral. Something more than a boyfriend, something less than a spouse. I met your grandfather once, and he was nice to me. Something happens to us that day.
We have fallen through the surface of want and are deep in the trenches of need. From behind the wheel, I learn the difference between a eulogy and an elegy, and dis- cover which is more vital, in life and in death.
The kiss I like the most is one of the slow ones. You lean in from the side, and I have to turn a little to make it happen. I was coming back from the bathroom. You had just checked your email. I was walking to bed, but you inter- cepted me, kissed me, then clasped my left hand in your right hand and put your left hand on my back.
We started slow-dancing. No music, just nighttime. You leaned your head into mine and I leaned my head into yours. Dancing cheek to cheek. It lasted the length of an old song, and then we stopped, kissed, and the world resumed. At least, not until you sobered up. You leaned your head into mine, and I leaned my head into yours. It lasted the length of an old song, and then we stopped, kissed, and my heart stayed there, just like that.
I believe your exact words were: I have something to live up to, and if I fail, I still have a family to welcome me home. You have a storyline to re- write, and a lack of faith that it can ever be done. You love my parents, I know. But you never get too close. F fabrication, n.
In my online profile, I had lied about my age. I changed it to my real age the morning after our first date. If you noticed the incongruity, you never mentioned it. I was hurt. Of course I was hurt.
But in a perverse way, I was relieved that you were the one who made the mis- take. It made me worry less about myself. Starvation and speed. Noun and adjective. This is where I get caught. A fast is the opposite of desire. It is the neg- ation of desire. It is what I feel after we fight. The speed does us in. You make it a production. Slam doors. Knock things over. But I just leave. I am refusing you. I am denying you. I am an adjective that is quickly turning into a noun.
You wanted to keep the list on the refrigerator. I would be standing right there, and you would walk out of the bathroom without putting the cap back on the toothpaste. Part of the reason I preferred reading to sex was that I at least knew I could read well.
It took your patience to al- low me to like it more. And eventually I even stopped seeing it as patience. Except when I went to do it, I realized I only had eight days left in the billing cycle. So I gave it eight days. You emailed me on the sixth. The natural state. Our moods change. Our lives change. Our feelings for each other change. Our bearings change.
The song changes. The air changes. The temper- ature of the shower changes. Accept this. We must accept this. Does every kiss deserve a kiss back? Does every night deserve to be spent on a lover? G gamut, n. When I was eight, I was the lead in our third-grade mu- sical, a truncated version of The Sound of Music featur- ing only the numbers in which the Von Trapp children appeared. I was Kurt, and my whole family — grandpar- ents, aunts, uncles, parents, even some family friends — showed up to see me bid adieu, adieu to you and you and you.
My mother took hundreds of pictures, one of which found its way to our apartment — me in a green floral shirt, meant to approximate curtains. I am smil- ing, so proud of myself and my role. You saw this and told me that when you were eight, you were a tree in the school play.
They promised they would come, but your mother ran late and your father said he forgot. That night, you tore up your costume into tiny little pieces, but nobody noticed. You scattered the cardboard in the forest on your way to school the next day. I take you home, help you pack, help you book your ticket.
Then I stay home and wait for you to call. I cancel my plans, keep the ringer on high. I sit in my bed and listen to your breathing, until I know you are safe, until I know you no longer need me for the night. I imagine you saved my life. Soon I was able to measure the alcohol and its effect. Two drinks and you were happily unsettled.
Three drinks and you started to get going. Encour- aging everyone else to drink. Joking around with me, if you could tell I was in the mood to joke.
Talking to strangers. Saying you loved life. Four drinks and you stopped reading my cues. You joked regardless of my mood, sometimes mercilessly. Everyone was now your friend, except maybe me.
Six drinks and you were ready to fall. Of course, it would all depend on the drink. But eventually I learned to take that into account, too. I would always wait to take you home. Yes, I keep the water next to the bed in case I get thirsty at night.
It was a slow Sunday. You were reading the paper, and I was cleaning up after breakfast. The light between the slats of the blinds was making your hair glow in a pat- tern that shifted every time you moved. You sensed me watching, looked up. I think of a photograph you took of me, up in Montreal.
You told me to jump in the air, so in the picture, my feet are off the ground.
Later, I asked you why you wanted me to do that, and you told me it was the only way to get me to forget about the expres- sion on my face. You were right. I am completely unposed, completely genuine. A snow day. The subway has shut down, your office has shut down, my office has shut down. We pile back into bed, under the covers — chilly air, warm bodies. Nest- ling and tracing the whole morning, then bundling up to walk through the empty snowdrift streets, experiencing a new kind of city quiet, then breaking it with a snowball fight.
A group of teenagers joins in. We come home frozen and sweaty, botching the hot chocolate on first try, then jump back into bed for the rest of the day, emerging only to wheel over the TV and order Chinese food and check to see if the snow is still falling and fall- ing and falling, which it is.
When the stem broke, the name of your true love would be revealed. Whenever I played, I always made sure that the apple broke at K. At the time I was doing this because no one in my grade had a name that began with K. Then, in college, it seemed like everyone I fell for was a K. I will admit: When I got home that night, I went to the refrigerator and took out another apple. But I stopped twisting at J and put the apple back. This is actually the natural state. All I need are my thoughts and my small acts of creation and my ability to go or do whatever I want to go or do.
I am myself, and that is the point. Pairing is a social construction. It is by no means necessary for everyone to do it. I feel a break is a break, and if it starts small, it only gets wider.
So I said I wanted you to stay, even though nothing could stay the same. As if that one word from me could have that kind of power. Me without anyone else. We stopped counting our relationship in dates first date, second date, fifth date, seventh and started count- ing it in months. That might have been the first true commitment, this shift in terminology. So what better reason for me to take you to lunch and then keep you at lunch for the whole afternoon?
Reserving these after- noons to do all the city things we never get around to doing — wandering through MoMA, stopping in at the Hayden Planetarium, hopping onto the Staten Island Ferry and riding back and forth, back and forth, watch- ing all the people as they unknowingly parade for us. Had we tried to plan these excursions, they never would have worked.
There has to be that feeling of escape. You left your email open on my computer. The doubts. You had to save me from my constant doubts. It was just something I knew. Everyone else was playing along, but I was sure that one day they would all stop.
That first night, you took your finger and pointed to the top of my head, then traced a line between my eyes, down my nose, over my lips, my chin, my neck, to the center of my chest. It was so surprising, I knew I would never mimic it. That one gesture would be yours forever. These words will ultimately end up being the barest of reflections, devoid of the sensations words cannot con- vey.
Trying to write about love is ultimately like trying to have a dictionary represent life. No matter how many words there are, there will never be enough. We think of them as hiding in the hills — rebels, ran- sackers, rogue revolutionaries.
I was so nervous to meet Kathryn. I was on safer ground once we started talking about books, and she seemed impressed that I actually read them. She remarked on the steadiness of my job, the steadi- ness of my family. At the end of the dinner, I got a hug, not a hand- shake. She seemed so relieved. I should have been glad.
I wondered why I was considered such a break from the norm. America will never vote for a Jew for presid- ent right on down to The younger, cuter, puppydog guy will totally be the next American Idol. In the end, we both want the right thing to happen, the right person to win, the right idea to prevail. We have no faith that it will, but still we want it.
Neither of us has given up on anything. It just sits there. I tell you about Sal Kinsey, the boy who spit on me every morning for a month in seventh grade, to the point that I could no longer ride the bus. The next day, you bring home a photo of him now, downloaded from the Internet. He is morbidly obese — one of my favorite phrases, so goth, so judgmental.
I think that will be it. But then, the next night, you tell me that you tracked down his office address. Anonymous, of course. You even ordered the bouquet online, so no florist could divulge your personal information.
And at the same time, I am afraid of it. It scares me how hard it is to remember life before you. It seems foolish to play games of better and worse. K kerfuffle, n. From now on, you are only allowed one drink at any of my office parties. Preferably a beer. I still see that now. Reaching out to it, gathering energy.
L lackluster, adj. We were barely over the one-month mark, I believe. You nodded. Only for the first week or two. But still, it was strange, to realize my version of those weeks was so far from yours. What a strange phrase — —not seeing other people. We see other people all the time. The question is what we do about it. After working for so long on being sure of each other, sure of this thing, suddenly we were unsure again.
I never understood why anyone would have sex on the floor. Until I was with you and I realized: Fuck you for cheating on me. Fuck you for reducing it to the word cheating. As if this were a card game, and you sneaked a look at my hand. Who came up with the term cheating, anyway? A cheater, I imagine. Someone who thought liar was too harsh. Someone who thought dev- astator was too emotional.
Fuck you. These are our lives. You went and broke our lives. You are so much worse than a cheater. You killed something. And you killed it when its back was turned. Oh, how I hated this word. So pretentious, like it was al- ways being translated from the French. The tint and taint of illicit, illegitimate affections. Dictionary mean- ing: Unfa- milial. Inextricably linked to sex.
I have never wanted a lover. In order to have a lover, I must go back to the root of the word. For I have never wanted a lover, but I have always wanted to love, and to be loved. There is no word for the recipient of the love. There is only a word for the giver. There is the assumption that lovers come in pairs. I want us to go back down to that root. I want you to be the one who loves me. I want to be the one who loves you. M macabre, adj. If you ever need proof that I love you, the fact that I al- lowed you to dress me up as a dead baby Jesus for Hal- loween should do it.
I had always thought there were two types of people: Things rarely get fixed the way they need to be. I think. Last night, I got up the courage to ask you if you regret- ted us. N narcissism, n. You should know that. But you recovered. There are millions upon millions of people who have been through this before — why is it that no one can give me good advice?
You pointed to the couch. The refrigerator. This is what it sounds like when doves cry. O obstinate, adj. Sometimes it becomes a contest: Which is more stub- born, the love or the two arguing people caught within it? The best friend and the boyfriend — no way to know how to split the check. To talk about you would be disloyal, weird.
But what else did we have in common?
Oh, yes. Vampire Weekend. Did one of you get it from the other, or have you always laughed like that? She said she hoped I was more successful in sharing a bed with you than she had been on your junior year road trip, when you would take up all the space and snore so loudly that one night she went and slept in the bathtub. And I told her about the time that I got so tired of you stealing the sheets that in my sleep-weary logic I decided the thing to do was to tie them around my legs, knot and all, and how, when you attempted to steal them that night, you ended yanking me into you, and I was so startled that I sprang up, tripped, and was nearly concussed.
But I liked that she was no longer entirely yours. We had four hours of history without you. P paleontology, n. I sat there as you excavated your boyfriends, laid the bones out on the table for me to see. I shifted them around, tried to reassemble them, if only to see if they bore any resemblance to me. We stuck to the plan: Yours simply had books, most of them from college, while mine was overrun by souvenir thimbles downloadd by my preteen self, compact discs that had been orphaned from their cases, mugs from colleges at- tended by forgotten friends, and jam jars of quarters just in case, for some reason, I had to quickly launder everything we owned.
You never seemed to mind. But I had learned: Drugging you up for the airplane, dragging you hither and thither through Montreal, Seattle, San Francisco. Your parents never took you on trips as a kid, not when they were together and not when they were apart, and I think this left your sense of exploration stunted. Eventually I won you over to the geo- graphy of wandering. Although I will admit that for you the best part is still the napping in the middle of the day. We have to get to the next part.
Sometimes I love it when we just lie on our backs, gaze off, stay still. I try not to think about us growing old together, mostly because I try not to think about growing old at all. Both things — the years passing, the years together — are too enormous to contemplate. But one morning, I gave in. You were asleep, and I imagined you older and older. Your hair graying, your skin folded and creased, your breath catching. And I found myself thinking: If this continues, if this goes on, then when I die, your memor- ies of me will be my greatest accomplishment.
Your memories will be my most lasting impression. Cue the imaginary interviewer: So when all is said and done, what have you learned here?
Q qualm, n. There is no reason to make fun of me for flossing twice a day. I have never met anyone else who does that on a regular basis. It sounded like you were lifting me, but it all fell.
I want to take back what I said about you being an emo- tional zombie. I want to take back the wineglass I broke when I was mad, because it was a nice wineglass and the argument would have ended anyway. I want to take back the time we had sex in a rent-a-car, not because I feel bad about the people who got the car after us, but because it was massively uncomfortable. I want to take back the trust I had while you were away in Austin.
I want to take back the secrets I told you so I can decide now whether to tell them to you again. I want to take back the piece of me that lies in you, to see if I truly miss it. That is, that my self is so inseparable from being with you that if we were to separate, I would no longer be.
I save this thought for when I feel the darkest dis- content. I never meant to depend so much on someone else. Rest with me for the rest of this. Come closer. I catch you checking out some guy on the street. Why did your father leave? You told me to get the money for the pizza from your wallet. So I had permission, I swear.
And then I found the photo behind your health insurance card: I remember you stopping that woman and asking her to take the picture, and how she had no idea how to use the camera on your phone. You gave her the full tutorial as she oohed and aahed.
That one gesture would be yours forever. These words will ultimately end up being the barest of reflections, devoid of the sensations words cannot convey. Trying to write about love is ultimately like trying to have a dictionary represent life. No matter how many words there are, there will never be enough. We think of them as hiding in the hills — rebels, ransackers, rogue revolutionaries. I was so nervous to meet Kathryn. I was on safer ground once we started talking about books, and she seemed impressed that I actually read them.
She remarked on the steadiness of my job, the steadiness of my family. At the end of the dinner, I got a hug, not a handshake. She seemed so relieved. I should have been glad.
I wondered why I was considered such a break from the norm. All rights reserved. Among the novel''s pleasures are micro-stories that speak volumes, reminiscent of Lydia Davis'' work. There''s plenty of reflection, not just on the relationship but on the attempt to distill and describe such complex feeling, including this: ''Trying to write about love is ultimately like trying to have a dictionary represent life. The brief entries are like poetry; poetry with a gravitational pull back to the central narrative, which is two people falling in love.
The fact that the pieces hold together so well is testament, not only to Levithan''s light hand and gracious writing but also to the power of this universal story. Surrounded by large amounts of white space--which may be useful for readers as we walk through these dictionary-like entries for musing on our own loves and losses--the spare number of words in Levithan''s novel may be just enough.
But allow me to exclaim. Without ellipsis. The Lover''s Dictionary isn''t about how lessons were learned, and in what order--it''s a documentation of facts, memories, war wounds. And anyone who has been in a romantic relationship will recognize themselves in Levithan''s lovers, from the tiniest details of merging bookshelves and quiet afternoons to the largest anxieties of sexual inadequacy and romantic reciprocity. Levithan''s rhapsody is just that: an ode to desire written as an account of the traces such desire leaves behind.
Levithan gives readers the kind of love story that Billy Pilgrim in ''Slaughterhouse-Five'' would have appreciated: unstuck in time, reliving moments in unpredictable order and in varying emotional colors. Entries slip back and forth in time as they unfold through an alphabet of romance, anger, forgiveness and tenderness to make up one particular relationship.