On a Thursday

“out of focus” by Kira Westland is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Getting lost in memories, on trash day.

Poetry lifts the veil from the hidden beauty of the world, and makes familiar objects be as if they were not familiar. – Percy Bysshe Shelley

Ten o’clock in the morning, another alarm snoozed too long. The sun’s rays, sprinkled on the white sheets, have gone progressively from a gentle warm to an uncomfortable hot, and the early morning, indigo silence has given way to the bustle of a city well into its day.

Eyes still closed, she observes: today is Thursday. She parts from the pillows and puts on her robe, double knot around the waist.

The small steel mocha is in the kitchen, in the same spot on the counter as it was yesterday. And has been since the day they first set it there, years ago, till they could find a better place.

That spontaneous, three-euro buy long ago, on a road trip through Tuscany. The old stove that had to be coaxed and wooed to work, in a friend’s kitchen in Sant’Angelo. The first cup of coffee the mocha proudly brewed, which tasted like garden soil. That he drank with a smile nonetheless and declared the best he had had in his life.

Now it smells strongly of the many cups of coffee it has since, more expertly, poured. This morning, same as yesterday, it pours one cup more. She sips it on the couch she remembers them buying with their savings some time back, and contemplates this day she already knows, has already lived a few times.

Today there will be letters and emails to answer, phone calls and the bed to make.

The clumsy, wonderful first time he tried to make the bed himself.

Groceries to be acquired, dinner to be cooked.

Frozen pizza and chopped lettuce, on the floor that first night. The for-no-reason, romantic dinners, the dozens of dinner parties since. The lazy Monday night take outs, the Thursday night pairings with wine, dancing in the kitchen, stove forgotten, dinner left to burn.

Shirts to iron, a week’s worth of laundry to do, dry, and put away.

Bubble baths wrapped in those dryer-warm towels, Sunday mornings in those sheets. The day, three years ago, the exact shelf and aisle, where a younger version of him and her first picked them out.

A distinguishing note: the trash to take out. Today is, after all, Thursday.
When did coffee become just coffee? When did the white couch turn grey? She really must have overslept; today looks just like yesterday. She wonders what happened to the color, the laughs, the poems she used to have. What else she absent-mindedly, lately, threw away with the trash.

The bin by the couch is full to the brim, overflowing with the remnants of other days; bits of ribbon, an old newspaper, landscape cutouts from travel magazines. Plane tickets and movie stubs, out of focus photographs. She kneels by it and rummages through, looking for the life she misplaced.

Drafts of letters, half written, unsent; receipts for paintbrushes and bouquets. Last month’s utilities bill, the synopsis of a ballet. The program of an evening of chamber music, a recipe for chocolate soufflé. An empty bottle of Saint-Hilaire,

Love at the first glass she tried, it must still be here, the poetry, the love. She cannot have used it all up.

Suddenly, a silver chocolate wrapper studded with dark blue stars. Baci, her favorite, one, two, five of them. The bin was full of stars!

A summer in Florence, 2015. The first bite-size piece of chocolate and hazelnut, wrapped in a love note. ‘We choose our joys and our sorrows long before we experience them,’ it read. Gibran, like everything, sounded better in Italian.

Un bacio is one kiss, baci are many, and of chocolates and kisses she slowly remembers hundreds, since that first one they shared.

Love Note number 7 is Dickinson: ‘Till I loved, I did not live enough.’

‘Love is the poetry of the senses,’ Balzac. Note number 139.

‘Grow old with me,’ writes George Sand. ‘The best is yet to be.’

‘In dreams and in love there are no impossibilities.’ János Arany, number 42. The sun bounces off the shiny notes as she pulls them out one by one. The fog lifts as she reads the last word; she knows where she left her life.

She rushes back to bed and starts the day over; today is Thursday. Eyes still closed, from the walk-in closet, she picks out a white lace dress.

Today she will make coffee again, and the bed, wear opal earrings and ballet shoes. Answer correspondence in verse, iron shirts to jazz. She will cook with wine and use the bottle as a vase for wildflowers she will pick. She will empty the bin, and tonight there will be new Baci wrappers to fill it with.

‘Yes, there is a Nirvanah; it is in leading your sheep to a green pasture, and in putting your child to sleep, and in writing the last line of your poem.’ And taking out the trash on Thursday.

Seven o’clock in the evening, another day gone too fast. The sun’s rays are receding quietly, the neighbor is playing Chopin. ‘[…] Love coming out of the trees, love coming out of the sky, love coming out of the light.’ Same as every day, same as yesterday, except today is Thursday.

Filed under Trash
Yara Y. Zgheib

Yara is a bookworm, writer, and passionate consumer of wine and chocolate. Born in Beirut, she has lived in Glasgow, Washington, Paris, and Saint Louis, and is not done traveling yet. She is a Fulbright scholar with a PhD in international affairs, who has also taught art history in the US, ballet in China, and etiquette in France. Yara is the author of “Biography of a Little Prince”, a memoir of her adventures with a little boy dear to her heart. Her blog, “Aristotle at Afternoon Tea”, is a compilation of weekly essays on politics, art, culture, economics, literature, and philosophy. Her idea of a smart conversation over afternoon tea, and she loves company.