It will be quiet here by the lake for several more days. We are saddened by the death of my favorite Aunt. Even though her health had been failing for the past few years, her passing was still somewhat unexpected.
I'll be back next week...
"In Paris in the 1950's, I had the supreme good fortune to study with a remarkably able group of chefs. From them I learned why good French food is an art, and why it makes such sublime eating: nothing is too much trouble if it turns out the way it should. If one doesn't use the freshest ingredients or read the whole recipe before starting, and if one rushes through the cooking, the result will be an inferior taste and texture - a gummy beef Wellington, say. But a careful approach will result in a magnificent burst of flavor, a thoroughly satisfying meal, perhaps even a life-changing experience."
"We had lived on peaches alone in Monte Carlo, and slept on half the beaches in the northern half of the Mediterranean; had outstayed our welcome in the houses of Italians and watched a naked, muscular Dutchman, with dreadlocks halfway down his glistening black back, play Macbeth in a scaffolding castle on the polder. We played it gay and straight, depending on whom we didn't want to sleep with, for Emma was saving herself for a romantically thin man at Manchester University, and I was just saving myself."
"Since Donald was the only reason I had come to that place, I'd watch him to see if he was more in favour of the tree or against the Jaters, but he had other problems that summer and was more disconnected than his usual, ethereal self. Because there wasn't a spare bed, and because I wasn't supposed to be there at all, I slept in the same bed as him, which was how I would have slept for preference in any case. We assumed that it was assumed that we were lovers. And that was fine, because it was part of the elaborate double bluff we played on ourselves..."
'Salt,' I said, wiping the back of my salted face on Donald's shirt. 'You can kill the tree with a strong solution of salt, and no one will be the wiser.'
"Cathy was often wrong, she found it more interesting. She was wrong about the taste of bananas. She was wrong about the future of the bob. She was wrong about where her life ended up. She loved corners, surprise, changes of light."
"Quietly, one customer after another was guided to the inevitable and surprising choice of a bag that was not 'them' but one step beyond who they thought they might be.Cathy knew what handbags were for. She herself carried everything (which wasn't much) in one pocket, or the other."
"As she came down the stairs, Nancy glanced at the photograph; she wondered when it would be right to take it down."
...The real world.As vague and as broad as this term is, I have a sense of what it means and of the difficulties it entails. Following the rules of the real word means, for example, engaging in small talk with other people. It means refraining from talking about my special interest. It means looking people in the eye and shaking hands. It means doing things "on the hoof", as we say at Paterson, which means doing things that have not been scheduled in advance. It means walking or going to places I am not familiar with, city streets full of noise and confusion. Even though I am trying to look calm, a wave of terror comes over me as I imagine trying to walk the streets of Boston by myself. (page 20-21)
My girlfriend died. I was heartbroken, and vowed to remain faithful to her memory. At first I had no difficulty; my distress was so great that I couldn't even contemplate kissing anyone else. But, after a while, another girl started showing an interest. I resisted her advances. "You're very pretty," I told her, "but it's just too soon. I'm sorry." She wouldn't give up. She kept touching me, and fluttering her mascara-coated eyelashes. Eventually I yielded, and fell into her arms. The man asked us to leave. He said our rustling, slurping and giggling was upsetting the other mourners.
January said it was important for couples to be completely honest with each other, and I agreed. I told her very honestly just how much time I spent thinking about her, that whenever I pictured the future she was always there by my side, and how even after three years together I sometimes couldn't help feeling a little nervous when she was around. She told me to stop. "That wasn't what I meant," she said. "I meant I just don' love you anymore." She looked away. "And the more I think about it, the more I realize I never really did."