Sudden sunlight broke into the living room as I was writing. Furrowed into myself in front of the computer — busy stringing sentences together and trying to make them sing — I looked up for the first time in twenty minutes. The clouds had been nudged out of place by bright, blue-tinted light. Seattle light. Winter-slowly-coming-into spring light.
I stood up and looked out the window. A young father held the hand of his little boy as they crossed the street. I smiled, my face softening. Whenever the Chef sees that scene, he calls to me from the kitchen, “Come here! Look out the window!” Now, I was seeing it for him, the little red rain slicker, the tottering steps, the sure grip and vast expanse of crosswalk before the curb. I thought of John Lennon, his song “Beautiful Boy,” the Caribbean steel drums. Always, I go back to the line in that song: “Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans.”
I lay aside the writing.
Hungering, I went into the kitchen. Jicama sat on the countertop, left over from a shopping trip during which I had plans. I had forgotten them. I picked them up again. Slowly, as slowly as I could with the hunger building inside me, I chopped up the jicama. I reached for the mango sitting beside it on the counter and started to slither off the peel, like remnant flesh of a snake’s forgotten skin. Lemon — I could have used limes, but I had no limes. Fresh ginger. A soft avocado, squishy and probably a day past its prime. But there. It was all there. Golden balsamic vinegar. Salt that stuck to my still-wet fingers. Black pepper, settling onto all those colors.
When I looked at the red bowl, I saw its unexpected beauty. I could have cut the pieces smaller — next time. It might taste better with a pinch of nutmeg — we were out. If I had planned to take a photograph, I would have wiped off the edges of the bowl, just to make it look pretty.
But sunlight in Seattle, in February, fades fast. Imperfections are just as fleeting.
Sunlight on the red bowl, the edge facing west a golden illumination. For a moment, heartbreak. All this beauty.