Outside the bookstore an academic journal lies half-propped against the curb, its cover grazing the tires of a parked car. The pages are swollen with rain, and certain words glisten in deep black.
Candles, silver, grapes, iced cakes, jellybeans, and chickpeas. We pack into the dining room and pass around drinks ("l'chaim, l'chaim"). As the newborn sleeps upstairs, his great-uncle talks to the guests about the tremendous potential we each have in life to do good.
Her email is a golden droplet. "Hi" is the only word she writes, and I understand the tentative hopeful tone (the question mark that follows); the last time I heard from her was two years ago. But for the moment nothing else needs to be said.
Different ways to dig in one's heels against demands, responsibilities, the press of time. One person watches clips from Beatles concerts, marvels at the music and how wild the crowds were. Another oversleeps, and at dinner takes pleasure slowly eating slices of beet from a plastic cup. A third slips into computer games as a warrior with esoteric skills.
On top of the pink-frosted cupcake sits a strawberry that was dipped in dark chocolate. As I peel the strawberry off, some frosting clings to it in small pink splodges. My first bite is a burst of fruit, bittersweet chocolate, and hyper-sugary pink.
Dark stairwells lead down to doors we can't see. Windows are boarded, black plastic bags slither along the sidewalk, and at the street corner in a warehouse some bright lights flicker and machines hum. Of the houses, one front stoop seems welcoming, with fairy lights, wind chimes, and a fold-out chair (we wonder who lives in that house, and if they ever sit out on the stoop this late, when the street is eerie and nearly deserted).
We're jigsaw puzzle pieces, curiously shaped, and we prefer not to lock ourselves rigidly in place; once a jigsaw puzzle is put together there's no room for any new pieces. What we like is to laugh and talk and scuffle in the box, and welcome anyone who wants to hop in.