From The Time of the Doves, by Merce Rodoreda, translated by David Rosenthal
"Sometimes I'd heard people say, 'That person's like a cork,' but I never understood what they meant. To me a cork was a stopper. If I couldn't get it back in the bottle after I'd opened it I'd trim it down with a knife. Like sharpening a pencil. And the cork would squeak. It was hard to cut because it wasn't hard or soft. And finally I understood what they meant when they said, 'That person's like a cork...' Because I was like a cork myself. Not because I was born that way but because I had to force myself to be like a cork to keep going because if instead of being a cork with a heart of stone I'd been like before, made of flesh that hurts when you pinch it, I'd never have gotten across such a high, narrow, long bridge."
From page 138