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Harper Lee

The watch ticking
“Presently I picked up a comb from Jem’s dresser and ran its teeth along the edge.
“Stop that noise,” Atticus said.
His curtness stung me. The comb was midway in its journey, and I banged it down. For no reason I felt myself beginning to cry, but I could not stop. This was not my father. My father never thought these thoughts. My father never spoke so. Aunt Alexandra had put him up to this, somehow. Through my tears I saw Jem standing in a similar pool of isolation, his head cocked to one side.
There was nowhere to go, but I turned to go and met Atticus’s vest front. I buried my head in it and listened to the small internal noises that went on behind the light blue cloth: his watch ticking, the faint crackle of his starched shirt, the soft sound of his breathing.
“Your stomach’s growling,” I said.
“I know it,” he said.
“You better take some soda.”
“I will,” he said.”
To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee, Pan Books Ltd. Edition, London, 1974.

“Writing is a process of self-discipline you must learn before you can call yourself a writer. There are people who write, but I think they’re quite different from people who must write.” —Harper Lee

 

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