At the gym, I think about wine and dinner. At home, over French Fries, chocolate, and wine the color of blood, I think about the gym. Tomorrow I will step-up my jog to a run. I’d showered, but forgot to put on deodorant. I can smell myself. Even the cat’s meow holds a hint of accusation. I somehow recall a history lesson from childhood about people getting tar-and-feathered: the French or Irish or English, perhaps all of them. I couldn’t remember exactly, not even for cash. When the wine and food are finished, I think about driving in my car, anywhere. I stand, a little unsteady, and decide instead on tea. I blow on the too-hot tea, making bubbles the color of dirty water. In the morning, I’ll need aspirin; I’ll feel like I’ve been mugged, my brain knifed. Still I’ll drag myself to the gym. So much in life is like my cup: China both a vast country and a fragile vessel. I study my tea-leaves. My great-aunt claimed she could read tea-leaves like psychics purport to read stars. My leaves sit in three soggy clumps, and I think I know what that means, but I wouldn’t bet on it.
The Collected Stories