Z’s friend Jochen came to visit from Leipzig with his girlfriend Doris. I asked J, over tacos, how he met Doris. He said she lived in his house. I told him that’s every writer’s dream: to meet someone without having to leave the house. He said his house was 4 stories high and had 8 rooms. I sighed. We talked about books. Doris asked if I had read a certain book. She only knew its German title. Jochen tried to translate it. The Change? The Transformation? I said, The Metamorphosis? They both nodded.
My son’s art teacher is beautiful. She’s in her forties and used to live in Naxos, Greece. I asked her if she painted a lot there. She said she was paralyzed by the beauty all around her. When she lived in San Francisco she used to paint with lots of color because outside it was always grey. In Naxos she was surrounded by the blue ocean and the blue sky, blue blue everywhere. She didn’t paint for three years. I asked her what she did the last four years, and she said she got turned on to mica. Naxos is in a volcanic area and the mica all around comes in every single color. Orange and red and green and yellow and black that looks like jeweled asphalt and grey and brown. I am astonished, and I ask, does it come in every single color? Yes, she says, every color… except blue.
The bachelors next door listen to bad Mexican polka and stay up on the patio chatting until 2 AM. They wake me promptly at 6 every morning when they honk at each other as they leave to work. I can hear the people they’re on their cell phones with. I want to slide the window open and yell at them furiously, but instead I bite my pillow. I wish I lived in a house in Leipzig.