WILLIAM CARLOS WILLIAMS
Q: Help! My girlfriend ate all the plums I’d been saving!
I was standing in the produce section when it hit me. Nobody eats plums anymore! Am I right? When was the last time someone offered you a plum? Said, “Hey William, do you want a plum? These ones are fresh. They’ve been in the fridge for a week. That’s how long most plums take to ripen. One week. Mmmm.”
So I bought some. Six to be precise. I put them in the fruit drawer of the refrigerator. They were wrapped in one of those plastic grocery store bags. It was sealed with a twist tie. They were safe there, I thought. My six plums.
Everything was fine until my girlfriend came to visit. She visits every other Saturday during the summer. For dinner I cooked her pesto pasta, my specialty. I never even went near the fruit drawer. Didn’t mention the plums once.
On Sunday morning, when she was gone, I realized the plums must be ripe. So I opened the door to check on them. THEY WERE GONE. THE BAG WAS GONE.
How do I bring this up to my girlfriend? Do I text her? We need to establish some boundaries when it comes to my plums. How could someone just take another person’s plums like that? Plums that I’d been saving! She’s usually so sweet, but this was cold. What should I do?
Q: Best song to sing in the shower?
Thirty six years of manhood I have lived. My body I have kept clean and lithe like the bodies of all young men. In the mornings and in the evenings I wash my body in the cool streams of my shower. As I bask in the jets of my showerhead, which is like the showerhead of you, my reader — for you and I are the same, our showers the same shower — I sing many songs.
I lean and loafe at my ease, observing a bar of peppermint soap.
My arms and my legs I scrub with a stiff horsehair brush. My shoulders too, and the hard-to-reach place on my back, which most people miss. These too I scrub: the underfoot and the overfoot, the upper ear and the inner ear, the dandruff and the naughty stuff. As I scrub, I sing, and the echo of my voice rings loud and true, like the flag of many nations.
The body of a bather is like a song.
Q: Have I been ghosted?
I’ve been struggling to meet men, for I have a habit of walking the gardens behind my house and writing all through the day. Such antisocial behavior, compounded by my residence in the small town of Amherst, has made it difficult for me to find a husband these past dozen years.
Nevertheless, like most unmarried ladies my age, I cultivate a dating account on the side. On a recent April morning, seated in the front drawing room, which has striking light during that time of year, I finally matched with a young gentleman.
His name was Death, and though I did not swipe for him, he kindly swiped for me.
After many days of deep contemplation I accepted his gracious offer, we arranged a time to meet, and at the appointed hour he arrived in a horse-drawn carriage.
We travelled a wondrous route, passing by the new schoolhouse and riding out of town. The carriage had come to a halt as the sun was setting over the fields of grain, when Death took my hand and told me he “was in a weird place emotionally right now.”
It’s been two days since our first date, and yet, it feels longer than a week. Have I been ghosted by my beau?
Q: Having an issue with these two roads
Behind my summer house there’s a wood, which is bordered on the west by an interstate and to the east by a private drive. At night I can hear the cars cruising over the rumble strips. I tell the kids not to wander too far into the wood, because even though the highway has guard rails and such, I’m worried they might get too comfortable close to the road.
The private drive is owned by a youngish couple who bought a house up here. The driveway wouldn’t be a big issue if it weren’t for these massive mastiffs which live on the property. The kids aren’t allowed within 200 feet of the place.
My wife always says that the highway (being the more travelled) is the most dangerous. But the way I see it, the two roads are about the same. Death by mammoth dog or death by reckless driver. New Hampshire sure isn’t what it used to be when I was growing up.
I picture the day, ages and ages hence, when it all goes wrong. I’m inside making dinner. The kids are playing in the back yard, but take their play into the woods. When I open the door to call them in to eat for dinner, I can no longer hear their shouts. Only the roar of the interstate, the barking of dogs, the rustle of the yellow forest.
Q: I got deferred from my dream college — what should I do?
I really had my heart set on this place, and I don’t know what to do next. I’m so crushed and I frankly don’t know how I can apply to more schools after this. My mother says I should let it go, not to hold on and let it fester. It’s my senior year at Harlem Renaissance High School, but I’m all dried up at this point. What’s more, all the kids who got into their dream schools are being syrupy sweet in their condolences. It really stinks — this whole process has made me angry and some days I just want to explode.