Yeah. It’s going to take some doing, adjusting to this “clockless” life. To stop feeling like I need to be in such a rush to “get it all in.” There is all the time in the world now, for “all of it,” and less of “it” to “get in” now that I don’t have a day job. I know, first world problem, right? :)
That realization led to a scene I just finished for “Would I Lie To You?” I’m not going to post the whole book in the blog anymore, because it sometimes makes me feel like I’ve boxed myself into things that I want to change later. But I am going to drop samples in as I go…starting with this one, with Marc and Jesse having dinner on Marc’s yacht…
Marc attacked his dinner with relish, wielding the chopsticks with martial skill. He’d demolished three pieces of sushi before he looked up and saw Jesse sitting there, watching him, not eating.
Then Marc saw it. The “other Jesse,” the one who’d made him savor his whiskey, the one who’d tied him up in his office to punish him for not tapping out. It made him shiver on the outside, at the same time that, deep inside, a hot stone radiated its heat into his genitals.
“Set down your chopsticks,” Jesse said.
“Look at your plate. No, don’t look back up at me. Look at your food.”
Marc did as he was told.
“What do you see?”
“Sushi. Sashimi. Salmon, tuna…”
“No,” Jesse said in the soft but firm tone of a teacher. “Look. What do you see?”
Marc sighed, slightly aggravated. He looked at the plate some more. “Colors. Orange salmon. Red tuna. Well, blood red. Or burgundy. More like burgundy but not…”
Marc saw now, saw that he hadn’t seen. Color, there was so much color, the yellow-gold of the pickled ginger, the Speedo green of the wasabi, the rich brown of the little dish of soy sauce.
He looked up at Jesse, startled.
Jesse was beaming at him. “Yes. Pick up your chopsticks.”
Marc picked them up, waiting for instructions.
“Now eat what you see.”
It was like a different plate of food now, a…different universe. Marc picked up a piece of sushi, a slice of salmon on a clump of rice. He marveled at the marbling of the salmon, the little white wavy lines in the meat. He appreciated the expertise with which the rice had been clumped, the way it absorbed the touch of soy sauce he dipped it in without falling apart.
He put the piece into his mouth and let the flavors take turns, first the sharp tang of the soy, then the slick starch of the rice, and then finally the rich creamy fish dissolving under pressure.
He closed his eyes, lost in sensual pleasure, as he slowly chewed and swallowed.
“You rush through life,” Jesse said, picking up his own chopsticks, pausing, looking at his own plate with admiration and interest. “You miss so much pleasure. You have the money to get all this, but it’s nothing if you don’t stop and feel it.” He ate a piece of sashimi, his own eyes closing.
Marc nodded. “Yeah. I eat at my desk, I gobble my food, there’s always so much to do, something else to do, besides…whatever it is I’m doing right now, this minute.” He sighed. “I never stop and smell the proverbial roses. Never mind the real ones.”
He ate another piece of sushi. Suddenly all his senses were awake. He really saw the lights of the city, the Freedom Tower lit up at night, his own offices right…about…there. He heard the smooth hum of the yacht, and the splash of the waves, felt the cool moist breeze on his face.
“See what you notice? When you slow down and pay attention? You can celebrate everything worth experiencing in that moment.”
“Then, you know, even in the bad moments, the crises, you’re…insulated. You have a place to go in your memory, that’s so rich with good moments, that you can pick them up and re-experience them. If you try and make yourself feel good remembering ‘that day at the beach,’ you probably can’t reach it. But if you remember the feeling of the water on your feet after you ran over the hot sand, if you remember the taste of the snow cone with the fake raspberry flavor…”
Marc’s intuition moved a piece in his head. “Is that what you did in prison?”
Jesse came back to the here and now. “No. But I learned…things in there. About myself. Over time. I learned to appreciate things I’d lost. And how to appreciate them when I had them again.”