Quotes Galore : My Dark Vanessa By Kate Elizabeth Russell

Quotes Galore : My Dark Vanessa By Kate Elizabeth Russell


From all the books I have read in 2020, I must say, My Dark Vanessa very easily rose up to become one of my favorites. Which is why I want to dedicate a post just for all the quotes I love in My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

My Dark Vanessa is a novel that explores the intricacies of teacher/student romance relationship. However, My Dark Vanessa offers readers the ability to see this usually “taboo” story through a different point of view. A point of view where, instead of being forced to engage in sexual activities, the student actually wants to do it. And instead of throwing off the blame the second shit hits the fan, the student stepped up and take the blame onto herself.

This novel gave me a lot to think about, of ways how we––the society––sometimes jump to conclusion too quickly based on what we’re taught to believe as morally just or otherwise. My Dark Vanessa made me wonder, maybe a lot of the stories where the villains are painted as one aren’t exactly as black and white as we thought it to be. Maybe, instead of the surety of black and white, of rights and wrongs, we’re all living in shades of grey.



Feel free to press play:



Out of the ash I rise with my red hair


And I eat men like air.


It’s both creepy and out of my control, this ability I have to notice so much about other people when I’m positive no one notices anything at all about me.



my dark Vanessa quotes



The world is made of endlessly intersecting stories, each one valid and true.


Sometimes I marvel at how easily I deceive people, doing it without even trying.





When Strane and I met, I was fifteen and he was forty-two, a near perfect thirty years between us. That’s how I described the difference back then—perfect.





I loved the math of it, three times my age, how easy it was to imagine three of me fitting inside him: one of me curled around his brain, another around his heart, the third turned to liquid and sliding through his veins.


He kisses the top of my head then, his own half kiss, and again I press my mouth against his neck. It’s a dialogue of half actions, neither of us fully committed. There’s still a chance to turn away, change our minds. Half kisses can be forgotten but full kisses cannot.


“I kind of feel like this whole thing is destiny.”


“This whole thing,” he repeats. “You mean what we do together?”


I nod. “Like maybe this is what I was born to do.”



my dark Vanessa quotes



“I wonder what they think about you spending so much time with me.”


I don’t know who he means by “they”—other students or teachers, or maybe he means everyone, reducing the entire world down to a collective other. “I wouldn’t worry about it,” I say.


“Why’s that?”


“Because no one ever notices anything I do.”


“That isn’t true,” he says. “I notice you all the time.”





Vanessa, you were young and dripping with beauty.

You were teenage and erotic and so alive, it scared the hell out of me.





“Some days I sit in your chair after you leave class. I rest my head on the table like I’m trying to breathe you in.”


His hand slips out from under my skirt and he slides like liquid out of his chair and onto the floor. Kneeling before me, he lays his head on my lap and says, “I’m going to ruin you.”



my dark Vanessa quotes



I see him so clearly now, understand how lonely it must be for him, wanting the wrong thing, the bad thing, while living in a world that would surely villainize him if it knew.


“Would you show me what you’ve written?”


“No way.” I steady myself and add, “It’s just not finished.”


“Is writing ever really finished?”





He said he wanted to kiss me. He touched me. Every interaction between us is tinged now with something potentially ruinous, and it isn’t fair for him to pretend otherwise.





By believing our lives have endless possibilities, we stave off the horrifying truth that to live is merely to move forward through time while an internal clock counts down to a final, fatal moment.


It’s funny to think how wrong Mom was about all that. Because there’s another option for those brave enough to take it: bypass boys altogether, go straight to men. Men who will never make you wait; men who are starved and grateful for scraps of attention, who fall in love so hard they throw themselves at your feet.



my dark Vanessa quotes



“You’re in charge here, Vanessa. You decide what we do.”


I wonder if he really believes that. He touched me first, said he wanted to kiss me, told me he loved me. Every first step was taken by him. I don’t feel forced, and I know I have the power to say no, but that isn’t the same as being in charge. But maybe he has to believe that. Maybe there’s a whole list of things he has to believe.


There are things he needs to believe in order to live with himself, and it would be cruel for me to label these as lies.


Is it really impossible to imagine that I might emerge from this worldly and wise, a girl with a story to tell? Someday when people ask me, “Who was your first lover?” the truth will set me apart. Not some ordinary boy, but an older man: my teacher. He loved me so desperately I had to leave him behind. It was tragic, but I didn’t have a choice. That’s just how the world works.



my dark Vanessa quotes



What girl would want what he did to me? But it’s the truth, whether anyone believes it or not. Driven toward it, toward him, I was the kind of girl that isn’t supposed to exist: one eager to hurl herself into the path of a pedophile.





“We’re born, we live, we die,” he says,

“and the choices we make in the middle, all those things we agonize over day after day, none of those matter in the end.”





“I want to be a positive presence in your life,” he says. “Someone you can look back on and remember fondly, the funny old teacher who was pathetically in love with you but kept his hands to himself and was a good boy in the end.”


“Pathetically in love with you.” As soon as he says this, I become someone somebody else is in love with, and not just some dumb boy my own age but a man who has already lived an entire life, who has done and seen so much and still thinks I’m worthy of his love.


“You’ll get sick of me.” Then he adds, “You’ll be the one to break my heart, you know. You’re holding me in your little hands.”


I try to imagine myself having that power, holding his heart, mine to abuse, but even when I picture it pulsing and pumping in my hands, it’s still the boss of me, leading me around, jerking me this way and that with me clinging and unable to let go.



my dark Vanessa quotes



He just wants and wants and wants. Sometimes when he’s on top of me, when he’s moaning with his eyes squeezed shut and not even noticing if I’m excited or sad or bored, I get the feeling all he really wants is to leave part of himself inside me, to stake his claim, not to impregnate me or anything like that, but something more permanent. He wants to make sure he’ll always be there, no matter what. He wants to leave his fingerprints all over me, every piece of muscle and bone.





“People will risk everything for a little bit of something beautiful.”





“Will you do something for me?” he asks. “I want you to say something. Just a few words. Will you do that? Will you say a few words for me?”


I open my eyes. “Ok.”


“Ok? Ok. Ok.” There’s some muffling, like he’s moving the phone from one ear to the other. “I want you to say ‘I love you, Daddy.’”





Fifteen years old is a strange thing, a real paradox. That in the middle of your adolescence, you’re the bravest you’ll ever be because of how the brain works at this age, the combination of malleability and arrogance.





I miss him so much, I exhaust myself from it.


He’s always going to be old. He has to be. That’s the only way I can stay young and dripping with beauty.



my dark Vanessa quotes



“I knew what I was getting into. I wanted it.”


“You were fifteen.”


“Even at fifteen.”


“I feel so strongly toward you,” he says. “Sometimes I worry I’ll drop dead from it. It’s stronger than anything I’ve ever felt for any woman. It’s not even in the same universe of feeling.” He stops, looks at me. “Does it frighten you to hear a man like me talk this way about you?”


“Know that I loved you. Even if I was a monster, I did love you.”





I’ll remember everything as hard as I can.

I’ll live inside these memories until I can see him again.





If I think about how many days lie before me, I end up obsessing over things I know I shouldn’t. Like, maybe being dead isn’t the worst thing. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad.



my dark Vanessa quotes



“I tortured him,” I say. “I don’t think you understand how much I contributed to everything. His whole life descended into hell because of me.”


“He was a grown man and you were fifteen,” she says. “What could you have possibly done to torture him?”


For a moment I’m speechless, unable to come up with an answer besides, I walked into his classroom. I existed. I was born.


“How much strength does it take to hurt a little girl? How much strength does it take for the girl to get over it? Which one of them do you think is stronger?”





Vanessa, I wonder if you remember me, last November, moaning into your soft warm lap, “I’m going to ruin you”?

My question for you now is, did I? Do you feel destroyed?





I’m not a victim because I’ve never wanted to be, and if I don’t want to be, then I’m not. That’s how it works. The difference between rape and sex is state of mind. You can’t rape the willing, right?



my dark Vanessa quotes



“Hurt” is such a subjective thing. Think of all the thoughtless pain we inflict. A mosquito on your arm; you don’t even hesitate to smack it dead.


“Did he kiss you? Did he bring you into his office?”


“Office? Why does it matter so much to you?” she asks.


I open my mouth, the word because poised to come out—because—because whatever happened to you couldn’t have been so bad, because it’s ridiculous for you to demand so much when I’m the one who bore the brunt of him. I’m the one marked for life. What was a hand on the leg compared to what he’d done to me?


“I just feel . . .” I press the heels of my hands into my thighs. “I can’t lose the thing I’ve held on to for so long. You know?” My face twists up from the pain of pushing it out. “I just really need it to be a love story. You know? I really, really need it to be that.”


“I know,” she says.


“Because if it isn’t a love story, then what is it?” I look to her glassy eyes, her face of wide-open empathy. “It’s my life,” I say. “This has been my whole life.”





This, I think, is the cost of telling, even in the guise of fiction—once you do, it’s the only thing about you anyone will ever care about. It defines you whether you want it to or not.





I want to be low enough to slip beneath the surface and swim without needing air. He’s the only person who ever understood that desire. Not to die, but to already be dead.



my dark Vanessa quotes



He was never so simple; neither was I.





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