Saturday, February 27, 2010

Hit the soft spot in my heart

1) From “The Book I Read,” by Talking Heads (1977)

I’m embarrassed to admit it hit the soft spot in my heart
When I found out you wrote the
book I read so

Take my shoulders as they touch your arms I’ve
Got little cold chills but I feel alright the
book I read was in your eyes oh oh

2) From “Fiction,” by Alice Munro (2009)

“Your name?”
“Just Joyce will be fine.”
Her time is passing so quickly.
“You were born in Rough River?”
“No,” says Christie O’Dell with some slight displeasure, or at least some diminishing of cheer. “I did live there for a time. Shall I put the date?”
Joyce retrieves her box. At Le Bon Chocolatier they did sell chocolate flowers, but not lilies. Only roses and tulips. So she had bought tulips, which were not actually unlike lilies. Both bulbs.
“I want to thank you for ‘Kindertotenlieder,’” she says so hastily that she almost swallows the long word. “It means a great deal to me. I brought you a present.”
“Is that a wonderful story.” The saleswoman takes the box. “I’ll just hang on to this.”
“It isn’t a bomb,” says Joyce with a laugh. “It’s chocolate lilies. Actually tulips. They didn’t have lilies so I got tulips, I thought they were the next best thing.”
She notices that the saleswoman is not smiling now but taking a hard look at her. Christie O’Dell says, “Thank you.”
There is not a scrap of recognition in the girl’s face. She doesn’t know Joyce from years ago in Rough River or two weeks ago at the party. You couldn’t even be sure that she had recognized the title of her own story. You would think she had nothing to do with it. As if it was just something she wriggled out of and left on the grass.
Christie O’Dell sits there and writes her name as if that is all the writing she could be responsible for in this world.
“It’s been a pleasure to chat with you,” says the saleswoman, still looking at the box which the girl at Le Bon Chocolatier has fixed with curly yellow ribbon.
Christie O’Dell has raised her eyes to greet the next person in line, and Joyce at last has the sense to move on, before she becomes an object of general amusement and her box, God knows, possibly an object of interest to the police.

Walking up Lonsdale Avenue, walking uphill, she feels flattened, but gradually regains her composure. This might even turn into a funny story that she would tell someday. She wouldn’t be surprised.

No comments: