Monday, April 19, 2010

Twenty-five cents each.

Woke up Saturday morning with a patio set on my mind.

Momentarily money conscious, I garage sale it, my mind focused down like a clamp: four black iron chairs, one tiny table.

Four black iron chairs, one tiny table. Four black iron chairs, one tiny table.

Do not be distracted by pretty sparkly things, I tell myself. By chandeliers and picture frames, linens and old wood.

Four garage sales later I have a single black iron chair, no tiny table and four perfect books.

Close Range, by Annie Proulx
The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Diaz
The House on Mango Street, by Sandra Cisneros
The Maytrees, by Annie Dillard

The chair was five bucks; the books were twenty-five cents a piece, sitting in a cardboard box with so many others, like puppies. I had to limit myself to four, an even number, a dollar.

I can't believe my luck. I open randomly to a page and gems fall out everywhere. Pretty, sparkly things.

From Close Range:

"He used to be a pretty good rancher, but his wife died and he's a dirty old boar in a boar's nest now," their father had said. "Stay away from there." Men had that flaw in them, Inez thought, to go over the cliff of events and fall precipitously into moral ruin.

From The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, page 117:

She tried to keep him out of her mouth but it was hopeless. Her forearm ached at the oddest of moments and she could feel his hangdog eyes on her everywhere.

From The House on Mango Street, page 57:

My Papa, his thick hands and thick shoes, who wakes up tired in the dark, who combs his hair with water, drinks his coffee, and is gone before we wake, today is sitting on my bed.

And I think of my own Papa died what would I do. I hold my Papa in my arms. I hold and hold and hold him.

From The Maytrees, page 122

Jane came back blinking. -Why is it always a big black snake? Have you ever seen a small one? Imagine their eggs. She looked at Lou, who had not budged. -Oh, you and your marble calm! Lou laughed and knocked down her water.

While I am doing this, Finn, my three year old just getting over the flu comes and crawls in next to me, his head on his blanket, his blanket on my keyboard. I try to explain all the books, the computer. I love words, I tell him.

Me too, he says. I love words. My favorite word is pumpkin, he says. But it comes out like "punkin."

My second favorite word, he says, is balloon. But it comes out like "bayooon."

My third favorite word, he says, is kitty cat. And it comes out exactly like that.

I have never thought of words so preciously. Even as I have loved them all these years, fussed over them, seen them in print. I have Sandra, Annie P., Junot and Annie D. to thank for that today.

And Finn.

Today, I am rich.

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