Sometimes, when I cook the sorbets up, I am rushed, or distracted, or tired. And what results is a sorbet that might be pretty good, without all the mistakes. Yesterday was such a day. Three miscues in one small piece — two neglected words and one word that should not have been there. Sigh…So I am re-posting here as a sort of balm to my stupidity. Here is the corrected version of “the leaf”:
Imagine this: In his journal, there are leaves – a collection of golden poplar leaves from the side of a mountain in the fall, pressed between the back pages. Today, after he finishes his glass of wine and pays, he leaves a leaf – one soft-yellow leaf on the brown wooden tabletop, a gift for the waitress. Because it’s Thursday. Or because it felt right. Or because flipping through his journal, the yellow surprised him. He does not know why he picked the leaves off the ground on the side of the mountain. Maybe to remember the cool, clear air of that morning, or the quiet spring in his legs, or the simple happiness of that moment. Perhaps it is just something he has always done.
The waitress might think the leaf is an accident – that it fell from her customer’s notebooks – he always has notebooks – and he didn’t notice. Maybe she will have no doubt of her customer’s intention – she will smile as she takes possession of it, as she picks it gently from the table. Perhaps she needed some sort of eloquent whimsy at that moment. Because last night as she visited her mother, now 94-years and in a home, she realized her mom had no idea who her daughter was – and the sadness of this realization sits heavy on her heart. The leaf was unrequired and strange and the waitress, whose name is Enid, saw its faded yellow as something akin to love, as something irrefutably kind. This leaf was a gift of beauty with no strings. As she tucks the leaf into her journal, she realizes this is exactly what she must do with her love. The leaf reminded her that so long as she kept telling her mother she was loved – that she loved her, nothing else mattered.