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lacunae

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Lacuna (pl. lacunae or lacunas): A gap in a manuscript, inscription, text, painting, or musical work. It is not always clear whether the gap consists of words, sentences, or whole passages.

 


1. Some books intentionally add lacunae to be filled in by the owner, to encourage children to create their own stories -

 

dark hair curling just so over his forehead, and he’s reaching out a hand to touch it when someone jerks him out of sleep and


what was his name? That man you were dreaming about?”

“I don’t remember,” he says.

“Oh you should,

you should. That was me!”

, delighted.

 


 

2. - or as a game.

 

_____ puts his hand on ______’s shoulder. He smiles, a _____ quirk of his mouth, and ______ smiles back. The hand is very warm, warmer than anything ____ has touched in what feels like a century. He’d forgotten what it was like to be touched like that. He’s realizing now just how much he _____ it.

“Hey, it’s okay,” ______ says.

“I know, I’m fine. It’s just


He’s never felt more _____

 


 


3. Weathering, decay, and other damage are often responsible for lacunae. 

 

“Oh wow, I love it. Except for the part where it doesn’t


hops off of the kitchen counter and swings its head towards them, away from the tv. “I have the most perfect idea!”


you’re upset. I’ll


“That was fun!”

hand running down his chest, cigarette limp in his mouth, and the buttons on his shirt are


After all of it, he sits on the couch and runs a hand through his hair. It feels a little tacky; he’s wiping his hand on his jeans when Julia sits down next to him and says, “Well that was fucked up.”

“Hm,” Quentin agrees, but he’s more focused on this sticky little clump that feels like it’s tangling its way into the fine hair at the back of his neck. He scrapes at it but it just smears out over his skin. Right at the spot Julia has always insisted he has a birthmark, he thinks. Making him anonymous. Just another person covered in -

“Hm,” Julia says back. The mockery has an edge to it. “Penny could have died, Q. That other psychic did die!”

“I don’t…” Quentin says, trailing off as he finally scrapes the biggest pieces of the clump away.  “I know, but -“

But!” Julia starts, then pauses. “Q, stop.”

“Stop what,” Quentin says, and then her fingers are on his, closing them into a fist.

“Fuck, I thought you were bleeding, but it’s just - I’m going to get a dish towel and some cold water. You’re just. You’re not getting it off, you’re just spreading it. Jesus. Just stay here.”

 


 


4. To reconstruct the original text, the context must be considered. This may lead to competing reconstructions and interpretations.

 

“You should be,” Eliot says, “you should be angry. I’m angry. I’m fucking incandescent with rage, and I wasn’t even the one -“ he cuts himself off with a pained twist of his mouth. “I’m trying to say that it’s alright if you’re angry.”

It takes Quentin a long moment to make himself breathe slowly enough to talk without spitting the words out. He runs the ragged nail of his index finger back and forth across his thumb. Letting it bite.

“What I should be,” Quentin finally says, “what I should be


blood all over the bedspread and the walls and him, and even once he’s been dragged back to himself he can still see it everywhere, like the present is a filter over the scene he’s actually living, where the Monster is absently handing him a man’s arm and saying, “He doesn’t need this anymore."


what I should be is dead. I didn’t want to be here, for this. I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to be angry. I was supposed to die there and I don’t want


Eliot opens his mouth, then closes it. Blinks, sighs. Doesn’t seem sure of how to start the conversation. Quentin remembers how he’d looked those last days at Brakebills, smeared eyeliner around dull, darting, distracted eyes that had almost gotten them killed, and Quentin had barely fucking cared about that because it’d been Eliot, and Quentin could barely look at him sometimes but he’d still wanted, he’d wanted


what I should be is angry, but I’m not. I know I should be, and I know you feel,” he pauses, and shrugs, looking up at Eliot. “You feel guilty about doing something stupid and not even fucking talking to me about it to try and save me, and I just - I’m sorry, but I don’t feel guilty about trying to save you. Because I fucking did it. It was my choice. People died, and I just, I don’t feel guilty about that, and I don’t feel angry at you either. It just seems like we’ve gotten a - a second chance here, you know? Or a fourth chance, whatever we’re on, I just think


what I should

 

he doesn’t end up saying anything, in the end, just sits down next to Quentin, and Quentin


a knee against his, and the movement makes him collapse all at once, head aiming for his shoulder but instead just folding down until it hits his knee and he curls and shudders and settles, closes his eyes at the feeling of fingers running through his hair and just

breathes.