By Laura Schiller
Based on: Matched/Crossed
Copyright: Ally Condie
"Sorry, Em. I've got hiking today, remember? Another time, maybe?"
Like the poem, Ky's rebirth began with the water: the sting of chlorine, the silence at the bottom of the pool, and the sunlight reflected in the smiling eyes of a redheaded stranger.
Cassia never tires of watching the colors of Ky's eyes.
Xander is like the sun: warm and golden and reassuring, but stand too long in the intensity of his light and it just might burn you.
Ky's messages to Cassia are the best and truest things he's ever put to paper.
"Everything is free in the Society," Official Standler remarks, "As long as you do what you're told."
If Cassia were ever to take the green pill, it would be on the morning after Ky's disappearance; it has never been so difficult to be strong.
Nobody suspects how hard it is for Em to be so delighted with a Match who could be Xander's twin.
How ironic is it, Xander wonders, that Cassia chose to rebel by loving Ky, when he himself was in the Rising all along?
According to Ky, Cassia's eyes are like jade: a calming, almost luminescent green.
Their first kiss may have been sweet, but if Xander were to kiss Cassia now, his secret bitterness (why not me?) might very well spoil the flavor for them both.
Cassia once dreamed of whispering bedtime poetry about Queen Anne's lace flowers to the daughter she would raise with her Match – one of many possible futures she's given up.
Cassia didn't understand Song no. 37 (My Heart Will Go On) until she knew Ky.
Ky is the night to Xander's day: a keeper of secrets, dark and protective, but breathtaking in his occasional glimmers of light.
Vick survives being a decoy villager by remembering the ocean: sunlight on the waves, the lonely cry of seagulls, and the salt wind tangling his Laney's soft black curls.
Cassia will never see or smell a raspberry pie again without thinking about Grandfather's death.
"Could you have loved me if you'd never seen his face on that microcard?"
Ky once hated thunderstorms, remembering the black drops of death that fell from the sky – but watching Cassia dance in the rain for the first time is enough to counter any nightmares he might have.
Ky and Indie put out the campfire with a frown, explaining that too much smoke would make them too easy to track; meanwhile Cassia and Eli, making do with raw fish and nuts, feel embarrassed for not even knowing thngs like that.
Ky rides on the air train every day the way he lives: silently, with perfect balance, and always blending in.
Vick observes Ky from the corner of his eye: is he just another decoy, a special agent sent to guard General Roberts' wayward son, or is he the Pilot, come at last to lead him to his calling?
Finding Ky Markham in the Matching pool is an unexpected variable for Official Standler; startling, yet intriguing, and a promise of some fascinating data to come.
Would Grandfather still have said "it's all right to wonder" if he had known that too much wondering would lead his little girl through illness, hunger, loss and the abandonment of (almost) all she holds dear?
"Fear of the unknown," says Ky, "Is only one of many problems in this Society."
With every rule that little Bram learns to slow his steps and curb his exuberant spirit, even as she convinces him it's only part of growing up, his older sister dies a little inside.
Cassia and Ky alone in the cave, dancing cheek to cheek just like the painted couples, both thinking: Can it possibly get any better than this?