brown dress with white dots
"It's hard convincing yourself that where you are at the moment is your home, and it's not always where your heart is. Sometimes I win and sometimes not."
-- Jonathan Carroll

After working late at the office one night, he stopped at a diner on the way home for something to eat. The place was almost empty so he noticed the other customers. In a booth directly across the room, a couple were eating hamburgers and horsing around. Probably twenty years old, they were obviously crazy for each other and their happiness was as thick as the smell of perfume. They ate and talked with the animation and intensity of children. That picture said everything. You forget what it is like to experience the alchemy of new love. You forget how you want to tell them everything and hear everything they have to say. It does not matter what it is, so long as they keep talking.

His food came and he ate while sneaking glances at them when possible. He didn’t want to be too obvious about it so as not to embarrass the couple or make them feel self-conscious. What he liked so much was that neither of them was trying to be cool or aloof. Even from this distance he saw the flurry of goofy expressions on their faces, the constant touching, the giggling and talk talk talk. They weren’t trying to impress or play superior. They were wholly comfortable showing each other their joy. It was so nice to see that after his meal, he ordered a cup of tea he didn’t want just so he could stayand watch them a while longer.

Eventually the young man stood up and walked to the toilet. The girl began to cry almost as soon as he disappeared behind the restroom door. Sitting there alone, her face tightened and then the tears came. She cried silently but made no attempt to hide it. He couldn’t believe it. Why was she crying? Moments ago she had been laughing and flirting, touching her boyfriend’s arm and clapping her hands together in glee. Now her face was red in anguish. Where did it come from? Had something been said? Or had she waited till her love was gone before letting her real feelings show?

Fascinated by this disturbing change in the distraught girl, he could not stop staring. In the end she saw him and looked over with real hatred in her eyes; as if *he* were to blame for her tears and all her sadness, whatever the cause. He was so flustered and distressed by her glare that he threw some money down on the table to cover the cost of his meal and fled


Jonathan Carroll
Those restaurants that offer 3 or 4 course meals for a fixed price. Inevitably there’s something on those menus I don’t like, want, or wish I could change. So I rarely want to pay the price. Much the same with some people— you wish you didn’t have to take their whole ‘fixed menu.’ “Could I please have your humor and interesting insights about life, but not the moods and dishonesty.
— Jonathan Carroll
Danielle Hughson
Monia Merlo
Aleksandra Mojsilovic
In this photograph, the two of them are standing in front of the full-length bathroom mirror. Ettrich holds the camera out from his body to take the picture. His other arm is wrapped around Isabelle. Both her thin hands are on his. Eyes closed, her head is turned up toward him. She is smiling beatifically—as if she were in the middle of orgasm. You can see her perfectly, but the camera flash obscures him. Ettrich is only a dark suit and the white of his lower jaw. But he loved that aspect of the picture—it was as if her radiance was the only thing allowed to show through the flash.
Jonathan Carroll / White Apples
Vince Perraud
Els Vanopstal

One of life’s small sad facts is there are people we no longer see who nevertheless gave us some of our best or most important experiences. But they don’t know it and never will. That’s because we didn’t know it until much later, looking back.

She thought about the summer in Greece almost thirty years before when they were together and flew from island to island on cheap rattle’y propeller planes whenever they felt like it. They stayed in ten dollar rooms with the toilet outside down the hall. They read wilted, water-stained books while sitting next to each other on the balconies off their rooms, or in the shade at beach tavernas— the sea in front of them calm and beautiful. No matter what kind of accommodations they rented, there always seemed to be a view of the sea. Every day they ate salads of tomatoes, lemons, olives, and thick chunks of chalk-white feta cheese drizzled in fresh olive oil for lunch. They rented a blue Vespa. They walked on black volcanic sand. He bought them baseball caps because the Greek sun was so intense. She was happy then and knew it. But her heart needed three decades more to understand just *how* happy she had been— Hall of Fame-happy, once in a lifetime-happy. By the time she realized it, he was many years gone.

One of her final wishes was that she could tell him, thank him for those days together. And if life were magical, which it is not, to sit together again in one of those small outdoor tavernas at sunset watching the harbor, the boats, the stars coming out, their dinner being prepared, him.


Jonathan Carroll
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