From Jonathan Franzen's Freedom:
She was a grave and silent little person with the disconcerting habit of holding your gaze unblinkingly, as if you had nothing in common.

As she talked on and on, he found himself admiring her determination to survive without success of the sort still plausibly available to him.

He could see this person so clearly, it was like standing outside himself. . . . This wasn't the person he'd thought he was, or would have chosen to be if he'd been free to choose, but there was something comforting and liberating about being an actual and definite someone, rather than a collection of contradictory potential someones.

But nothing disturbs the feeling of specialness like the presence of other human beings feeling identically special.
(What is dogeared?)

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