Life is pain. Anyone who says otherwise is selling something.
And when she at last came out, her eyes were dry. Her parents stared up from their silent breakfast at her. They both started to rise but she put a hand out, stopped them. ‘I can care for myself, please,’ and she set about getting some food. They watched her closely. In point of fact, she had never looked as well. She had entered her room as just an impossibly lovely girl. The woman who emerged was a trifle thinner, a great deal wiser, and an ocean sadder. This one understood the nature of pain, and beneath the glory of her features, there was character, and a sure knowledge of suffering. She was eighteen. She was the most beautiful woman in a hundred years. She didn’t seem to care. ‘You’re all right?’ her mother asked. Buttercup sipped her cocoa. ‘Fine,’ she said. ‘You’re sure?’ her father wondered. ‘Yes,’ Buttercup replied. There was a very long pause. ‘But I must never love again.’ She never did.
Do you love me, Westley? Is that it?’ He couldn’t believe it. ‘Do I love you? My God, if your love were a grain of sand, mine would be a universe of beaches. If your love were—‘ ‘I don’t understand the first one yet,’ Buttercup interrupted. She was starting to get very excited now. ‘Let me get this straight. Are you saying my love is the size of a grain of sand and yours is this other thing? Images just confuse me so—is this universal business of yours bigger than my sand? Help me, Westley. I have the feeling we’re on the verge of something just terribly important.’ ‘I have stayed these years in my hovel because of you. I have taught myself languages because of you. I have made my body strong because I thought you might be pleased by a strong body. I have lived my life with only the prayer that some sudden dawn you might glance in my direction. I have not known a moment in years when the sight of you did not send my heart careening against my rib cage. I have not known a night when your visage did not accompany me to sleep. There has not been a morning when you did not flutter behind my waking eyelids….Is any of this getting through to you, Buttercup, or do you want me to go on for a while?’ ‘Never stop.’ ‘There has not been—‘ ‘If you’re teasing me, Westley, I’m just going to kill you.’ ‘How can you even dream I might be teasing?’ ‘Well, you haven’t once said you loved me.’ ‘That’s all you need? Easy. I love you. Okay? Want it louder? I love you. Spell it out, should I? I ell-oh-vee-ee why-oh-you. Want it backward? You love I.’ ‘You are teasing now; aren’t you?’ ‘A little maybe; I’ve been saying it so long to you, you just wouldn’t listen. Every time you said ‘Farm boy do this’ you thought I was answering ‘As you wish’ but that’s only because you were hearing wrong. ‘I love you’ was what it was, but you never heard, and you never heard.