Archive for February, 2012

“One afternoon, Nasruddin and his friend were sitting in a cafe, drinking tea and talking about life and love. His friend asked: ‘How come you never married?’

‘Well,’ said Nasruddin, ‘to tell you the truth, I spent my youth looking for the perfect woman. In Cairo I met a beautiful and intelligent woman, but she was unkind. Then in Baghdad, I met a woman who was a wonderful and generous soul, but we had no common interests. One woman after another would seem just right, but there would always be something missing. Then one day, I met her; beautiful, intelligent, generous and kind. We had very much in common. In fact, she was perfect!’

‘So, what happened?’ asked Nasruddin’s friend, ‘Why didn’t you marry her?’

Nasruddin sipped his tea reflectively. ‘Well,’ he replied, ‘it’s really the sad story of my life…. It seemed that she was looking for the perfect man…’ “


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The Bedroom Wall

My old apartment had cream coloured walls.  When my (then) boyfriend moved in, he was very insistent on painting a pink feature wall in the bedroom.

“NO!” I objected, trembling with anxiety.  I was happy with cream.  I didn’t want a change.

“What’s the worse that can happen?” he asked.  “If you don’t like it, we’ll paint over it”

A few months later, he woke up and said “I’m bored of pink, let’s repaint!”

“NO!” I insisted.   I was happy with pink.  I didn’t want a change…


Years later, I find myself reminding myself in a variety of settings that ‘the bedroom wall can always be repainted’.

When I take the risk, I usually love the outcome…

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What if a demon were to creep after you one night, in your loneliest loneliness, and say, ‘This life which you live must be lived by you once again and innumerable times more; and every pain and joy and thought and sigh must come again to you, all in the same sequence. The eternal hourglass will again and again be turned and you with it, dust of the dust!’ Would you throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse that demon? Or would you answer, ‘Never have I heard anything more divine’?

-Friedrich Nietzsche

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“Deprived of one, he wanted to be with them all at the same time, which is what he always wanted whenever he was fearful.  For even during his most difficult times and at his worst moments, he had maintained some link, no matter how weak, with his countless lovers of so many years: he always kept track of their lives.

And so that night he remembered Rosalba, the very first one, who had carried off the prize of his virginity and whose memory was still as painful as it had been the first day.  He had only to close his eyes to see her in her muslin dress and her hat with the long silk ribbons, rocking her child’s cage on the deck of the boat.  Several times in the course of the numberous years of his life he had been ready to set out in search of her, withought knowing where, or her last name, or if she was the one he was looking for, but certain of finding her somewhere among groves of orchids.

He remembered the Widow Nazaret. He was more understanding of her than of any of the others, because she was the only one who radiated enough tenderness to compensate for Fermina Daza despite her sluggishness in bed.  But she had the inclinations of an alleycat, which were more indomitable that the strength of her tenderness, and this meant that both of them were codemned to infidelity.  Still, they continued to be intermittent lovers for almost thirty years, thanks to their musketeers’ motto:  Unfaithful but not disloyal.  She was also the one for whom Florentio Ariza assumed any responsibility:  when he heard that she had died and was going to a pauper’s grave, he buried her at his own expense and was the only mourner at the funeral.

He remembered Angeles Alfaro, the most ephemeral and best loved of them all, who came for six months to teach string instruments at the Music School and who spent moonlit nights with him on the flat roof of her house, as naked as the day she was born, playing the most beautiful suites in all music on a cello whose voice became human between her golden thighs.  From the first moonlit night, both of them broke their hearts in the fierce love of inexperiene.  But Angeles Alfaro left as she had come, with her tender sex on her sinner’s cello, on an ocean liner that flew the flag of oblivion, and all that remained of her on the moonlit roofs was a fluttered farewell with a white handkerchief like a solitary sad dove on the hoizon, as if she were a verse from the Poteic Festival.  With her Florentino Ariza learned what he had already experienced many times without realizing it:  that one can be in love with several people at the same time, feel the same sorrow with each, and not betray any of them.

Alone in the midst of the crowd on the pier, he said to himself in a flash of anger:  “My heart has more rooms than a whorehouse.”  He wept copious tears at the grief of parting.  But as soon as the ship had disappeared over the horizon, the memory of Fermina Daza once again occupied all his space.”

— The memories of Florentino Ariza
Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez

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“Then he knew that they had rounded the cape of good hope, and he took her large, soft hand again and covered it with forlorn little kisses, first the hard metacarpus, the long, discerning fingers, the diaphanous nails, and then the hieroglyphics of her destiny on her perspiring palm.”

— Dr. Urbino to his wife

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“Tell him yes”, she said.  “Even if you are dying of fear, even if you are sorry later, because whatever you do, you will be sorry all the rest of your life if you say no.”

– Love in the Time of Cholera

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“In reality they were distracted letters, intended to keep the coals alive without putting her hand in the fire, while Florentino Ariza burned himself alive in every line.”

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