Water drumming the shower floor sounds like train wheels’ groan and rumble which sound like the skipping note of a ceiling fan turning overhead, an airplane cabin’s canned quiet, performance anxiety.
Coriander tastes like lemon which tastes like sunlight on water, impulse buys, the last page of a book you regret reading too quickly.
Pipe smoke smells like dusk and time well spent, traces of vanilla, dark hair splayed across a pillow.
Threadbare carpet feels like shared glances with strangers who refuse a smile and look away first.
The kettle boiling over sounds like shot brakes, disdain, poppyseeds nestled meanly between your teeth.
Rose tea tastes like luck, black tea like fortitude, green like new hope.
A customer came in yesterday evening, a woman - in her 40’s, 50’s? - with blue eyes and a silk scarf to match. I told her how lovely her eyes and scarf looked together and she smiled and said, ‘Thank you, baby. I’m on the road, having an adventure, and I’m trying to look good. As if the road cares.’ I pointed out that you never know what you’ll run to on an adventure, so it’s best to be prepared. That made her laugh. “You couldn’t be more right,” she said. I wished her safe travels and watched as she climbed into her car and drove off, thinking that is who I want to be decades from now. Intrepid and sharply dressed, adventuring alone, braving the night with an easy smile.
If every stranger that has inspired me was aware of the impression they had left, I wonder what they’d think or if they’d think of it at all. A tiny, traceless mark, like a figurative fingerprint. Each brief encounter has changed my life by a small degree, mostly unconsciously, mostly in a way of no consequence, but collectively, they have shaped me into someone I might not otherwise be. So thank you, strangers. Thank you, unknown persons, for informing my general existence. It’s been wonderful.
“I was deeply interested in conveying what is a deeply felt conviction of my own. This is simply to suggest that human beings must involve themselves in the anguish of other human beings. This, I submit to you, is not a political thesis at all. It is simply an expression of what I would hope might be ultimately a simple humanity for humanity’s sake.”
- Rod Serling
1. Les Boulevards, Pierre Bonnard (1900)
2. Le Verger (The Orchard), Pierre Bonnard (1898)
1. Les Attitudes Sont Faciles et Chastes (The Poses Are Easy and Innocent) (1898)
2. Mother With a Child At a Window (1900)
3. Ce Fut Un Religieux Mystère (It Was A Religious Mystery) (1898)
In the thralls of a Maurice Denis bender.
Art by Maira Kalman