Excerpt from the recently finished short story “Open House”
The day after we met, Tara and I had come upon an artist market while searching for some breakfast. It was September on Cortes Island, we were both attending a workshop on meditation. It was early and our feet were soaked by a heavy dew in the tangle of grasses. While the artisans were in the midst of setting up Tara floated amongst the stalls fingering pieces of jewelry, pottery, and wooden carvings. She felt the density of the silver pieces and the cold of the metal. Her fingers explored the different textures of the rough un-glazed pottery. Her palms slowly rose and fell like a scale, measuring the weight of a carved block of wood. She was more of a tactile person than visual. She held everything, sensitive to texture, weight and form. Once out of her reach much was forgotten, including myself, as I would one day learn.
Just before we left the market, she had purchased a wooden bowl. Highly polished, carved from a block of a Maple. The swirls and imperfections of the wood’s grain pushed from beneath the thick lacquer, a Braille history of the tree. She held the bowl in the upturned palm of her hand, her fingers brushing and circling around the interior. She played it like a monk, turning the hammer of a meditation bell. Against her pale hand, the tones of the wood were dark.
Leaving the craft area, we chose a cafe further down the road. At the counter I paused and turned to her, raising an eyebrow. Modern day intimacy requires that the second thing you know about a person is how they take their coffee. I had no idea. We both had tea.
We sat outside at a cedar picnic table. In the moist coolness the steam rising from our cups quickly dissipated. In search of warmth I wrapped my fingers around the paper cup; we had asked for mugs. “I hate that word disposable,” she said lifting the paper cup to eye level between us. “This concept of throwing something away, when all it really means is somewhere else.”