SNAP: chance antecedent to study for a passion, required reading: 1. we shall not walk on all fours 2. we shall not drink blood 3. we shall not inhale poison

Things happen the way they happen.

Planned they are from the get-go, eternal they are and eternal are we all. One and the same are we and those facts, forever. The way Brother Alejandro’s starched clerical collar moved as he spoke. The angle of the sunlight on the boys who knelt on the gravel. The shadows they cast. The taunts, the blow to the head, the tears, the dirty magazines, the bag of popcorn, and the trajectory of every popcorn kernel as it fell to the floor. The hand extended in goodwill. Each bewildering gift from on high. Every temptation, every glimpse of the crevasse inside our souls. The Judas kiss. The basest humiliation. Everything. All of it seamlessly woven into the story of my fall, our fall, yours and mine, that deep and steep fall. That happy fall, that joyous fall during which we can always, in the wink of an eye, with grace, sprout wings and scrape the gates of heaven.

– Carlos Eire, Waiting for Snow in Havana: Confessions of a Cuban Boy, Free Press, N.Y., 2003, pp. 33-34

Nowadays I play a game with my own three children. I ask them, suddenly and unexpectedly, at the oddest moments: “What is the Law?” They know the answer, and they pronounce the words as I have taught them, slowly and ponderously: “We shall not walk on all fours. We shall not drink blood.”

Moreau’s creatures, barely erect, ask themselves and their creator, “Are we not men?”

– Ibid., p. 41

Jesus was there in my dreams to say an infinite number of things. Messages too vast in number to be understood all at once, or even in a whole lifetime on earth. Vital messages such as:

“Behold your mother.”

“Lipstick is wonderful.”

“Lizards are beautiful.”

“Demons are doomed to fail: I have defeated evil, and so shall you.”

“Fear not death: you shall live forever in a wondrous body, just like Mine.”

“Drink champagne, and blow it out your nose.”

“This pain, this cross, shall vanish as quickly as I did in your dreams; these stains on your soul shall be wiped clean, just like that lipstick smudge you once had on your cheek, that smudge you never saw, from the kiss you never felt, you drunken fool.”

– Ibid., p. 48