The boy-man on the Tarmac in Manaus, Brazil middle of the day on December 27, 1987 was wearing a Talking Heads t-shirt, and the girl inside the plane thought Talking Heads in the heart of the rainforest? Small world, then disembarked to a claustrophobic gift shop, lined as it was with fertility statues and shrunken heads. And jewelry made from river stones, each one small and beautiful and perfect: irreplaceable held in the palm
of the hand.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
- 2 doz. cupcakes
- Tea lights
- 2 doz lei
- 2 doz gift bags
- 12 feather boas
- 12 pirate swords
- 2 gal milk
- Birthday banner
- 2 packs juice boxes
- 5 pizzas
- 12 assorted party crowns
- 12 pink tiaras
As the children come into the party room they see the treasure box by the door overflowing with odd vests, second-hand dresses, scarves, hats, helmets, shields, tutus, capes (of course), foam swords, and they don these things, perhaps serially-changing from knight to ballerina to carpenter
Because they are children
And this is their kingdom.
At the beginning of the black-tie fundraiser (325-1675 dollars a plate, depending on your commitment to “the cause”), the organizers have a basket full of random names, (where did they come from? Who were/are these people?) to the current batch of servers-take one and pin it on they say, so they do and for this night they are foreign to themselves-Renata, Consuela, Xavier…instead of Pam, Ashley, and Rob… They have to remember these temporary identities when beckoned or chided by the plate-holders. As when, mid-dessert, a tray falls, sudden show of violence, shattered porcelain, all those scrumptious (expensive) eclairs.
Three players, all brothers, familial resemblance in their eyes, the curve bones of their faces, halo-ed hair, lean in. All intent on winning the game of choosing–rock! paper! scissors! Shoot!! The mantra, the litany, the eventual victor, unaware of what can be broken with all these ordinary things.
Old time-y barber shop, corner of a once prosperous downtown, old fellas talking about the game on cathode ray TV mounted on the wall. Men coming and going, sitting, standing, paying tips with crumpled dollar bills. So many versions of the naked pate, the scruffy, and the wispy comb-over. Knife to chin, razor to scalp, going through this mitzvah of voluntary loss as that ancient metaphorical talisman turns on its axis outside-red/white/red/white ribbons of our old, shared story of triage. Triage or else.
the girl-woman in the kitchen takes her time, cracking the dome of the speckled egg with patience and surgical precision, holds the broken pieces together so that only the white can slip through, the round, intact yolk cradled in the serrated halves of a thing once whole and intact which could have been another thing entirely or…an omelet, a quiche, the whipped interstices of meringue, or these lovely macaroons scooped dough into her piping bag from the sterile bowl on the counter, suburban kitchen, tinted carnival colors, creamy in the middle.