Every day was like a day out of someone else’s life. Nothing had ever happened to me, and now everything was happening to me – and by everything, I really meant Lena. An hour was both faster and slower. I felt like I had sucked the air out of a giant balloon, like my brain wasn’t getting enough oxygen. Clouds were more interesting, the lunchroom less disgusting, music sounded better, the same old jokes were funnier, and Jackson went from being a clump of grayish-green industrial buildings to a map of times and places where I might run into her. I found myself smiling for no reason, keeping my earphones in and replaying our conversations in my head, just so I could listen to them again. I had seen this kind of thing before. I had just never felt it.
“ I don’t want to preach today, instead I just wanna talk to you, about a word we don’t hear much anymore. Sacrifice. It’s not what I would call a modern word. People hear the word sacrifice, and they become afraid that something will be taken away from them or that they will have to give up something they couldn’t live without. Sacrifice, to them, means loss in a world telling us we could have it all. But I believe true sacrifice is a victory. That’s because it requires free will to give up something for someone you love, or something or someone you love more than yourself. I won’t lie to you. It’s a gamble. Sacrifice won’t take away pain and loss, but it wins the battle against bitterness, the bitterness that dims the light on all of the true value in our lives.”