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- 火島, 紐約
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|瓦哈拉的塗鴉簿 La fille aux cheveux de lin (Apr 15, 12)|
|I knew the woman from my professional life. I was not really sure if we would become friends should we know each other under other circumstances. The woman, like me, talked much faster than she thought, and never apologized for consequences.|
We lived in the same neighborhood, and her daughter was of the same age as mine. One day the woman brought a Girl Scout cookies order form for her daughter’s fund raising.
“Why don’t parents just pay for Girl Scout curriculums?” I asked, out of ignorance of American culture.
“They want the girls to participate in fund raising,” said the woman.
“So friends and families end up paying much more to support cookie business?” I said, and regretted immediately.
To make up for the mistake, I said I would love to support.
“Give me four boxes of the least favorite variety,” I said
The woman was an alumnus of the school my daughter attending. I told her how I liked the school and teachers. I was probably too sentimental, and I asked the woman what the school looked like when she was young.
“Newer, “ said the woman flatly.
I was foolish.
The woman’s daughter was in a ballet school. One day in December she talked about her daughter’s ballet performance.
“What do they dance,” I asked, knowing it must be Nutcracker, and got confirmed.
“I love Tchaikovsky as much as I love George W. Bush," I said, "It is sad this Christmas is probably the last time we see Bush around, but Tchaikovsky prevails,”
I was not sure if she loved Tchaikovsky, but she was not a Republican.
One day I was late for a meeting. I looked around to search for a seat but couldn’t decide whether I would sit next to the woman. She noticed.
“Do you want to sit on my lap?” said the woman.
“It’s too early now. Can I take rain check?” I was tempted to say but too cowardish.
I enjoyed the tension in our relationship. It was good for the brain.
I ran into her in a spring carnival of my daughter’s school. The woman greeted me as if I were a long lost friend she missed for twenty years. She hugged me, I kissed both her cheeks, and we started to chat as if we were catching up each other’s life of past twenty years. Then we suddenly realized our daughters were anxious as if they would rather be at someplace else, so we bid farewell and headed to different rides.
I did not enjoy hugging or kissing a woman I had no romantic fancies. Maybe I was too conservative. If the recipe of Metropolitan called for brandy, you did not need an exotic Cognac, I thought as I looked for exotic drinks but only found coke available in a school carnival.
The woman had flaxen hair. I wondered if I would fall for her should we meet at our teens. Then I realized my fantasy about a girl with flaxen hair was too Debussy.