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Victor LaValle, from Big Machine (Spiegel and Grau, 2010), on love at first sight:


It was a woman.

She came down the hallway, walked to office four, unlocked it, and went inside.

She couldn’t have been older than me. Thirty-eight or thirty-nine. And her thighs were so thick she wobbled when she walked. Now, let me say I don’t mean that part as an insult. In fact, I mean it as the highest compliment. She was shaped like a bowling pin. The kind of figure that makes a man like me feel vigorous. And if I hadn’t seen her in the context of the Washburn Library, I would’ve asked that thick little woman on a date.

Her face reminded me of a pinecone, just as brown. And she had these little nicks and bumps on her neck, half a dozen. They were razor scars. The kind you get from fighting, not shaving.

I went to my toes so I could see her over Peach Tree’s head. I guess you might say I was ogling. Then I caught myself and relaxed. I hoped nobody had noticed.

Violet first gave her the nickname. By nighttime, as we left the Library, I doubted we’d ever refer to her in any other way. The Gray Lady, that’s what we called her. The Gray Lady.

My future wife.