Paper-white narcissuses, one hundred bulbs in shallow pools of moistened pebbles, their roots exposed, clinging, pale anchors steadying the blooms as they angle toward the sun. The windows are never completely closed because the sweet powdery scent would be unbearable. In those corners where sunlight is an unfulfilled promise, there are bowls of varying sizes holding hydrangea clusters, dried, the color of barely brewed tea. With no water to weigh them down, the blooms rattle against their china vessels whenever a draft sidles through the garret. The petals scraping lightly against the bone-enriched walls sing the song of a rainfall. I choose to remember these things only. The rest I will discard.
I will forget that you entered 27 rue de Fleurus as a "writer" among a sea of others who opened the studio door with a letter of introduction and a face handsome with talent and promise. You stood at the front of the studio listening to a man who had his back to me. I entered the room with a tray of sugar-dusted cakes for all the young men who sit and stand, a hungry circle radiating around GertrudeStein. After years of the imposed invisibility of servitude, I am acutely aware when I am being watched, a sensitivity born from absence, a grain of salt on the tongue of a man who has tasted only bitter. As I checked the teapots to see whether they needed to be replenished, I felt a slight pressure. It was the weight of your eyes resting on my lips. I looked up, and I saw you standing next to a mirror reflecting the image of a wiry young man with deeply set, startled eyes. I looked up, and I was seeing myself beside you. I am at sea again, I thought. Waves are coursing through my veins. I am at sea again.
-- from The Book of Salt by Monique Truong
Yin yang. Balance. Very important. The flip side to the excerpt above ...
Here’s a scene from one of my favorite shows right now -- PARKS and RECREATION. I just love Amy Poehler. She plays that mixture of incompetency + earnestness so well. Here's the scene ... Amy’s character is called Leslie Knope (love that name!), she’s with her friend, Ann, and is very nervous about going out on a first date. She’s asking Ann for advice and is now asking “what if” questions.
Leslie: What if he shows up with another woman? What if one of my sleeves catches on fire and it spreads rapidly? What if, instead of Tic Tacs, I pop a couple of Ambien and I have to keep punching my leg to stay awake?
Ann: Those are all insane hypotheticals and I promise you they won’t happen!
Leslie: They have happened. All of these have happened to me.
Leslie: No, there’s more. One time I accidentally drank an entire bottle of vinegar ... I thought it was terrible wine.