The woman cropped up and side-by-side we went afield, but will we ever find our golden plateau of sorts?

I don’t forget how she once approached me – she was slightly bowed down (I was seated) – how she stuck her tongue out beside my cheek, and then how she told me she loved me.

Please don’t assume she’s unappealing or that I’m not interested. She is a long-necked creature and there are subtle variations in the shadow patterns produced by her facial features. She is easy to motivate and she shows genuine humility.

So with her along, I was bringing a porcelain jar – or it’s a pot – to be corrected, mended.

There’s a better word for pot. There are better words for any of my words.

Well, there are born storytellers and this story should certainly make every point clear, show an enthusiastic appreciation of all things beautiful, supply quickness of thought and even report climate changes.

Recently I had been unkind to Clara without reservation and as we proceeded, she crossed her arms over her waist, while a dog who was leashed at his ease, looked our way and held up its paw.

‘I’m sorry,’ I said – and then the woman wore a smile and was turned toward me, one hand at her breast.

We skirted an exposed concrete building, an early skyscraper and finally arrived at the Queen Anne storefront. The proprietor greeted us – and other stylized humans of plaster and marble, as if alive, sat or stood on surfaces everywhere – a toddler. It was a winged boy.

One of these figures was actually a real girl with her back to us who was kneeling behind the counter. She didn’t attempt to stand. Perhaps she was engaged in stock work or she was injured beyond reasonable wear. I told myself, Don’t look!

Then I was making a good bargain and my item, as a matter of course, was examined.

My making things better brings an exhilaration that sticks in the memory.

‘My responsibility does not extend to all losses,’ the proprietor said – ‘I want you to understand.’

Another customer came in. ‘You are a very handsome couple,’ he told us. ‘But,’ he asked Clara, gesturing at me – ‘Do you like him?’

Clara began to answer, but I cannot imagine not correcting her.

I pause here.

I think now and then of getting married, but have not done so.




Let me say, I wrote all of the above only to amuse myself.

Can you hear me?

The whole experience of writing this was enjoyable, as is the entire seriousness with which I take myself.

In the shop I identified a bust of Beethoven and I felt a throb of confidence while taking the measure of his enormous bulk.

I tried to tip it, to force him back a bit, but not to crack him.

Then up popped the specter, the kneeling girl from behind the counter.

I was completely shot to pieces thinking what I should do about her.


Photograph © Eric E Castro

Little nothings: Nabokov’s road notes
Grief in Moderation