I cut 6" off the top of the tree this morning to move the coffee table from the center of the room and the tree beneath it. Once I light a fire on Tuesday, I do not need the tree smoking the house to the ground with a dozen people crammed around the table. It was something to get it off the ground; a serious mouth full of pine needles.
The grocery store was a zoo today. I went up to get some cheese and olives and some flowers for the table. A friend of mine once remarked how much flowers brighten up the day, and I tend to agree.
I think you and I both need a poem tonight. I paused for a bit after writing this and thumbed through some Emily Dickinson, but I have realized only now how little I like her poems. I have had that anthology a long time. I may give it away.
The Secret History, by Donna Tartt, (forgive me Father, for I have utilized Wikipedia) is ranked in my top 5 favorite books. Alma Rose is close to my #1 favorite. Of course, in my head all of these books all sit on the #1 favorite spot, elbowing each other for rank. I've read both books 3 or more times, and anything that can garner that much of my attention is most certainly tops.
So, I'm taking a passage out of it tonight for you to take away, out into the blackness of the night perfectly punctuated by the fullest of moons:
"To say that the dinner went badly would be an exaggeration, but it didn't go all that well, either. Though I didn't do anything stupid, exactly, or say anything that I shouldn't, I felt dejected and bilious, and I talked little and ate even less. Much of the talk centered around events to which I was not privy, and even Charles's kind parenthetical remarks of explanation did not help much to clarify it. Henry and Francis argued interminably about how far apart the soldiers in a Roman legion had stood: shoulder to shoulder (as Francis said) or (as Henry maintained) three or four feet apart. This led into an even longer argument - hard to follow and, to me, intensely boring - about whether Hesiod's primordial Chaos was simply empty space or chaos in the modern sense of the word. Camilla put on a Josephine Baker record; Bunny ate my lamb chop.
I left early. Both Francis and Henry offered to drive me home, which for some reason made me feel even worse. I told them I'd rather walk, thanks, and backed out of the apartment, smiling, practically delirious, my face burning under the collective gaze of cool, curious solicitude.
It wasn't far to school, only fifteen minutes, but it was getting cold and my head hurt and the whole evening had left me with a keen sense of inadequacy and failure which grew keener with every step. I moved relentlessly over the evening, back and forth, straining to remember exact words, telling inflections, any subtle insults or kindnesses I might've missed, and my mind - quite willingly - supplied various distortions.
When I got to my room it was silver and alien with moonlight, the window still open and the Parmenides open on the desk where I had left it; a half-drunk coffee from the snack bar stood beside it, cold in its styrofoam cup. The room was chilly but I didn't shut the window. Instead, I lay down on my bed, without taking off my shoes, without turning on the light.
As I lay on my side, staring at a pool of white moonlight on the wooden floor, a gust of wind blew the curtains out, long and pale as ghosts. As though an invisible hand were leafing through them, the pages of the Parmenides rippled back and forth..."