a leaf.

I sometimes imagine a single object and think if I have a memory of it. This object should be something generic and obvious that seems like it would have appeared in any number of moments of my life. 

For instance: a leaf. 

And there are times when I first think of this object and no memory comes to me. Just a blank slate. And it's scary because I can picture a leaf dangling; dangling from what? I don't know. And it feels in that moment like my life is a small box that I have forgotten to take the lid off of; I am an unopened cookie jar on the counter of a life I should be living.

But, thankfully, as my blood pressure starts raising, something comes to mind. Characters and locations drift in from stage left and right and bashfully take the stage. An event looks at me apologetically. An old memory of my friend Eamon, shrugs as if to say, "we're all late sometimes".

And the show goes on. The leaf dangles from a maple tree behind a shrub that is too square, by an intersection that is too round, where a steeple of a church is too triangular. I walk by it to high school, and strangely nothing of consequence has ever taken place under or near it. I just know that that tree has watched me for a large part of my life. Seen different hair cuts and failed attempts at humor.

More recently I see a yellow leaf. It falls from a woman's purple jacket who has just come to see me at a bar. The door she walks through is painted black wood, with 8 perfectly square panes of glass in it which, in their placement, make the bottom of the door look heavier than the top. She smiles and brushes hair from her face, a short asymmetrical haircut. She always has this playful, coy, but also lost and shy look to her; someone in on a joke but a little terrified they will still be left behind. 

She bends down and laughs at her carelessness and puts the leaf back in her pocket not explaining why it is there in the first place. An item with importance seemingly on par with a wallet, yet in the form of discarded foliage. There's some tears, short talk, and a plate of lentils with a side of thinly cut vegetables that come next. But none of that seems to have much to do with the leaf.


You can tell a lot about someone based on how they clean meat off of bones. Is it a delicate process of picking off a few hanging pieces of chicken from a coveted wish bone, or are scraps of meat just a pit stop on the way to cracking open bones for the marrow? 

I've dated a woman whose whole family sat around a meal so that all that was left of a chicken was splintered bones, like scraps around a firewood cutting block. The grandmother was drinking white wine with gin, which I never knew was a thing, but I would guess there is some rhyme somewhere that says you can mix any alcohol that is the same color.

Or there was someone I was seeing briefly that had no problem nibbling raw meat off of a marinating piece of steak just to see how the flavor was adding up.

And I've watched friends who's teeth turn into sandpaper and saws as they grind off the last scrap from a bone that leave the calcium structural element comically white like cartoon dinosaur bones. 

I'm not sure I have a 1-to-1 correspondence between exact personality traits and the way of cleaning bones, but I can feel the relationship in some way. It's like seeing indigo: it's hard to connect verbally, but when I see it, everything makes sense.