Cracking an egg into a bowl, I’m reminded of Jacques Pepin once telling a story about how his fellow French chef Andre Soltner (was it Soltner? he doesn’t seem old enough) would scrape all of the egg from the inside of the shell with his finger. “There is always more in there than you think,” said Pepin, scooping out the goopy clear liquid with an adroit index finger. This reminded me of Julia Childs – is she really gone? – and watching her and Pepin exchange wits on their TV show. Which made me think of the first movie I saw with Chris, Julie and Julia. We’d only known each other a few weeks and were far from a couple, but we squeezed each other’s arms with mutual delight at the true love of Julia and Paul as portrayed by Streep and Tucci. Which got me to thinking about an interview I heard with Tucci and Terry Gross about his wife’s death that I listened to while I painted my son’s bedroom. Which reminded me of sleeping in that same room with both of my kids after the divorce, the three of us curled together over two mattresses, limbs intertwined. From that to carrying a mattress up the stairs of an apartment on John Street in Seattle. And to the the truck that would come two mornings a week in the dark of morning to pick up glass recycling, the terrible rattling often startling me upright from that same mattress. And … on and on, the memories unspooling.
I wonder about Andre Soltner wiping that egg clean with his finger, the combination of hunger from World War II Europe and a reverence for something as simple as an egg. I wonder about the limes that are disappearing, and the way this make me feel like Andie McDowell fretting about all of that garbage in Sex, Lies, and Videotape. I think of Andie MadDowall and how she still seems quite beautiful, but James Spader is all puffy and odd looking. I think of how the men I found attractive when I was in my twenties, movie stars, musicians and writers, are graying or more so. More so. More.
The people who are in my life now, I sometimes wonder about them: Will I still know her when I’m dying? Will she bring me a smoothie when I’m in hospice? Will she write a nice note to my kids?
Walking the dog today and seeing spring on its cusp, the crabapples and lilacs about to explode – tomorrow’s heat will do it, I bet — I wondered: How many more of these will I see, how many more of these gorgeous springs, each a reminder of the others, each its own moment of breathtaking loveliness and renewal.
I guess it’s dark of me, and I think that sometimes, too; “You’re too dark.” But it feels more crucially an observation of the possibility and grace, of the fullness and quickness of life. A reminder to taste the lime before it’s gone. To cherish each bit of the yolk.
p.s. I also marvel at the unreliability but beauty of memory. In looking up Soltner online, I discovered that the egg story came from Gabrielle Hamilton’s book Blood, Bones, and Butter. And that makes me think of so, so many other wonderful things.