After the Novels




There was eternal, unobjectionable profundity in my cup, at play with all conceptions of what I thought the world would be after I left the café. I looked around : the decor paid reference to matters social and cultural, a distinctive Scandinavian impression manifesting itself in the minimalism, the white walls integrating a functional, practical sense. It was a comfort, calling for my attention without demanding it.

And there I was, making a business of reflection. Individualizing the senses so that I could detect and know what I was working through, reaching in all of it. I bit through the doughnut without anticipating the lime curd, without expecting something to contrast the white chocolate. It came as a surprise, all of it.

What constituted a romantic life? Was it the level of emotion or simply the necessity of it? Maybe it was just the hypersensitivity we put forth, an equal acknowledgement of everything’s significance in what we understood life to be. It showed itself in this doughnut, how I tasted it, how I saw myself in relation. I knew I was quickly becoming metaphysical, but I saw the confection more for what it wasn’t : conventional, similar, like all the rest. It was outside, flirting on the exterior of what we accepted as delicious, attractive and charming. Permissible.

I ran my hands through my now chin-length hair. I was androgynous, no longer the agreeable sprite who returned every glance with a smile. It wasn't my purpose anymore, to please, to make happy. I was like the lime curd doughnut that day, a surprise. Oh, I was sweet, but God, I was sexless. Hanging tightly to my notebook, I thanked myself for this, for the refusal to be anything but what my mind permitted, for what my pen allowed.

What was beauty without risk?

Isabelle EymanComment