On Seeing The 100 Perfect Girl Essay Jamaica

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Essays on Jamaica Kincaid

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Jamaica Kincaid
...Jamaica Kincaid's surging rage, which was kindled during her colonial upbringing, towards the power relations in the society is depicted with an air wit in her commentary of 'A Small Place'. A complete comprehension of the article must invariably be based on the history of both the author and the country. The first settlement on the island we now know as Antigua was not established until the 1600s, when English settlers arrived. Antigua remained a part of the British Commonwealth until its independence in 1981. Today, Antigua is a popular vacation destination, attracting tourists with its ideal climate, 366 beautiful beaches, amazing landscape and leisurely... RUNNING HEAD: Whiteness Whiteness Whiteness...
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Girl By Jamaica Kincaid
...Jamaica Kincaid Though the genre of ‘Girl’ by Jamaica Kincaid is confusing, but it seems closer to short story. There are “five basic elements of a short story: setting, characters, plot, conflict and theme.” (Kay, Gelsheen & Gelsheen, 127) Girl is set in a single setting and the plot of the story develops with a dialogue between a mother and her daughter. The primary speaker is the mother, who starts giving instructions to her daughter regarding everyday chores of household like washing clothes, and cooking. The conflict arises when she asks her daughter: “Is it true that you sing benna in Sunday school?” (Kincaid, 8) ‘Benna’ must be some forbidden song that mother doesn’t approve... to give...
1 pages (250 words) , Download 3
Annie John, Jamaica Kincaid
...Jamaica Kincaid by John, Annie Kincaid is arguably one of the who have managed to tell stories of the girl child transiting from childhood to womanhood, incorporating emotions and splendor it deserves. Through Anna John, the protagonist, the author has successfully managed to reveal the struggle, loneliness, and isolation that meet the girl child as she tries to discover her identity. Though used to make the story more fascinating, conflict, mixed feelings and loss are among the most noticeable Challenges that Anna John faces. In addition, gender role is central in intensifying her challenges; nevertheless, she does not let herself succumb...
Literary Anaylsis on Girl by Jamaica Kincaid
...Jamaica Kincaid The short story ‘Girl’ by Jamaica Kincaid basically reflects a mother daughter relationship inwhich the mother tries to offer guidance to her daughter on how to become a desirable woman. The guidance offered is in the view of the mother the key concepts that make a good and appropriate woman in the society. The short story gives a variety of activities that the daughter is expected to carry out in order to meet the standards of a perfect woman. In short the story talks of things that the daughter should do and those she should not do. Additionally, it also tells of how do those things right and the different times that they should be done. However, the guidance... be...
3 pages (750 words) , Download 2
A Small Place by Jamaica Kincaid
...Jamaica Kincaid in her novel can be said to be structured into four sections each of which is meant to address the diverse issues concerning the island nation of Antigua. Throughout the novel, one will come to the conclusion that the beauty of Antigua that is described by the author is not what it seems. This, it can be argued, is due to the fact that while the island may be full of beauty, it is also ridden with a corruption so great that it has become an integral part of the society. It can further be argued that the main them of the novel is corruption, which is so rife in the Antiguan society that it has led to its underdevelopment....
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Annie John by Jamaica Kincaid Position Paper
...Jamaica Kincaid, around 1983, and first published in Great Britain in 1985. It is a story about a girl named Annie John, growing up from the age of ten to seventeen. It is told in the first person narrative. This essay will explore why Annie's maturity was the cause of the termination of her close relationship with her mother. Annie John is Annie's story of her maturing developments which caused the change in her relationship with her mother. Annie experienced changes in her relationship with her mother during her adolescent years. She suffered a strained relationship with her mother... Dr. Salam Mir English 76-221 3/7/2007 Annie John Relationships in Annie John. Annie John was written by...
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A Small Place By Jamaica Kincaid
...Jamaica Kincaid in the book, “A Small Place”, is humorous, sarcastic, and spot on. There is no doubt that every tourist to Antigua will after reading this book be more aware of the pain of the local life, and the dismal history of the place, which though small had a unique flavor in itself. Talking about the small island of Antigua, the writer has placed significance on the sarcasm of poverty and under-development and crossed it against the confidence and magnanimity of the hearts of the people... Introduction To A Pioneering Book The flavor of a place is truly felt only when the local culture and lifestyle is experienced. The entire anecdote of a tourist’s dismal journey in Antigua as presented by...
Critical research paper on the book Lucy by Jamaica Kincaid
...Jamaica Kincaid Lucy, a novel by JamaicaKincaid (Elaine Potter Richardson), was first published in 1990. This book, first of the series to be based outside the Caribbean scenario, tells the story of a young girl named Lucy who comes to America to work as an au pair to a white, wealthy couple. The entire story is narrated in first person and closely reflects Kincaid’s own life. In fact, the main protagonist Lucy Josephine Potter shares a name and also the birthday with Kincaid. Therefore, in a certain sense this book can also be called an autobiography that is more or less based on the writer’s own life and experiences. We notice this trend of having... is not presented vividly here. Instead,...
The Narrator in the story Girl by Jamaica Kincaid
...Jamaica Kincaid is about a mother offering guidance to her daughter on how she should leave a respectable kind of life. Kincaid uses the mother as the main character and also the narrator of the story. The story is told from feminist point of view. Kinkaid uses the mother as the second person narrator, giving her an authorial voice. The mother wants to prepare her daughter for her future life, following her cultural mores. The daughter, who feels indoctrination is just nagging and oppressing her, responds by being rebellious. She (the daughter) has her own sense of what she wants to do and that is the reason she resists the indoctrination from her mother... The Narrator in "Girl" The story “Girl” by...
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Analysis of Girl by Jamaica Kincaid
...Kincaid, n.p.). Here, the mother wants to indicate that it is through clothing, that the society perceives an individual for who she is. Therefore, good clothing is a symbol of respectability. Works Cited Kincaid, Jamaica. "Girl." An Introduction to Fiction. 'Comp'. X. J. Kennedy & Dana Gioia. New York: Pearson Longman, 2007. http://bcs.bedfordstmartins.com/virtualit/fiction/Girl/story.asp... Girl Plot analysis “Girl’ consists of a single run-on sentence short story cum poem, written in a consistent to-do list and counter not-to-do list, flowing in an interrupted advice and scolds to a daughter by the mother. The things to be done are followed by brief instructions of how to do them, though...
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The Theme of Emancipation in A Doll's House & Girl by Jamaica Kincaid
...Jamaica Kincaid. It’s the unending story through the Ages; it’s abouthim and her! The word marriage has a beautiful meaning. It is supposed to be the happy state of togetherness. Married life is like the scale of justice. Both arms of the scale are equally important to strike the correct balance. Imbalance leads to many problems. Ibsen in “A Doll’s House” develops a powerful theme—that of emancipation of a woman. What can a doll do? It will be controlled by the string to which it is attached. It has no free movements of its own. That is the type of married life Nora and Torvald live. Nora’s submissiveness to him is seen... ? Order 538869 Topic: The Theme of Emancipation in A Doll's House & “Girl” by...
The boy with his hair cut short by Muriel Rukeyser and The Girl by Jamaica Kincaid
...Jamaica Kincaid Devaluation of human spirit and social inequalities are popular themes/subjects among the modern writers. In the poem The boy with his hair cut short, Muriel Rukeyser protests against materialistic view of life mechanization and devaluation of human spirit. On the other side, The Girl, the poem/short story by Jamaica Kincaid represents postmodern writing in English literature. To be specific, this poem is based upon the literary technique of stream of consciousness. In addition, the poet utilizes the narrator as her mouthpiece to convey her message on the inequalities faced by girl children... ?Compare & Contrast "The boy with his hair cut short" by Muriel Rukeyser and "The Girl" by...
Compare & Contrast-- The boy with his hair cut shortby. Muriel Rukeyser and The Girl by. Jamaica Kincaid
...Jamaica Kincaid Devaluation of human spirit andsocial inequalities are popular themes/subjects among the modern writers. In the poem The boy with his hair cut short, Muriel Rukeyser protests against materialistic view of life mechanization and devaluation of human spirit. On the other side, The Girl, the poem/short story by Jamaica Kincaid represents postmodern writing in English literature. To be specific, this poem is based upon the literary technique of stream of consciousness. In addition, the poet utilizes the narrator as her mouthpiece to convey her message on the inequalities faced by girl children... Compare & Contrast "The boy with his hair cut short" by Muriel Rukeyser and "The Girl" by Jamaica ...
No Name Woman By Maxine Hong Kingston and On Seeing England for the First Time By Jamaica Kincaid
...Jamaica Kincaid It is vital to note that at the end of the book, Kincaid is happy that she “was unable to draw a map of England correctly” (Maxine 1019). She...  No Name Woman" By Maxine Hong Kingston As seen in the book “No Name Woman by Maxine Hong Kingston” adultery in an issue with a strong connection to the humanity and the entire society. The author explores how this issue, is presence in the real life. It is vivid that adultery is presence in works of literature whereby the writers actually discuss real lie events in their work, and Maxine doesn’t only write form her point of view but also from the opinions of other people who are involved in adultery. On Seeing England for the First Time" By Jam...
Write how Jamaica Kincaid uses satire, sarcasm, irony, and similes in her book, A Small Place
...Kincaid see the beauty of Antigua as ‘unreal’. She sees everything as too perfect to be true. Due to slavery and imperial rule, the Antiguans have become used acting passively rather than actively in the making of history. Colonialism has directly affected the daily lives of the Antiguans. For example, most Antiguans enjoy reading but everything they read is full of so much bitterness. This is because they learn a dominated culture from a dominated people. In an example, the Antiguans greet royal visitors with genuine excitement; this same visitors are the ones responsible for imperialism. The same victims of the imperialism greet them with excitement...
Reflections of a 17-Year Old by Sylvia Plath, The Parish and the Hill by Mary Doyle Curran, A Walk to the Jetty by Jamaica Kincaid, Private Language by Patty Crespo, and Mother Tongue by Amy Tan
...Jamaica Kincaid, “Private Language: by Patty Crespo, and “Mother Tongue” by Amy Tan For this highly interesting and analytical assignment, I have chosen to connect the following 5 stories; “Reflections of a 17-Year Old” by Sylvia Plath, “The Parish and the Hill by Mary Doyle Curran, “A Walk to the Jetty” by Jamaica Kincaid, “Private Language: by Patty Crespo, and finally, “Mother Tongue” by Amy Tan. The reason that I chose to review these 5 stories is because they all share a common theme, that of battling multiple identities as one embarks upon a life... Analysis of 5 Story Themes: “Reflections of a 17-Year Old” by Sylvia Plath, “The Parish and the Hill by Mary Doyle Curran, “A Walk to the Jetty” by...
Compare and contrast the techniques used to discuss colonialism in Jamaica Kincaids The Ugly Tourist and George Orwells Shooting an Elephant
...Jamaica Kincaid’s ‘The Ugly Tourist’ and George Orwell’s ‘Shooting an elephant’ The novel, shooting an Elephant and The ugly tourist by Jamaica Kincaid are written in the same context and depict colonial rule as their main theme. The authors illustrate various aspects in which colonialism is conducted and reactions by the locals as well as the colonialists themselves. In addition to being formulated in different historical contexts, the two authors used different approaches to bring about the theme. Kincaid addressed the audience directly by being the tourist and expressed her hatred on tourism based on its ugliness that was majorly instigated by the oppression... due Colonialism as depicted by...
Theme
...Jamaica Kincaid. It’s the unending story through the Ages; it’s about him and her! The word marriage has a beautiful meaning. It is supposed to be the happy state of togetherness. Married life is like the scale of justice. Both arms of the scale are equally important to strike the correct balance. Imbalance leads to many problems. Ibsen in “A Doll’s House” develops a powerful theme—that of emancipation of a woman. What can a doll do? It will be controlled by the string to which it is attached. It has no free movements of its own. That is the type of married life Nora and Torvald live. Nora’s submissiveness to him is seen... Order 538869 Topic: The Theme of Emancipation in A Dolls House & “Girl” by...
Analyze compare and contrast two books
...Jamaica Kincaid and The portrait of a young artist as a young man by James Joyce. Character development The major characters in Annie John by Jamaica Kincaid include Anne John, Mrs. John who is Ann’s mother and the Red Girl. Anne is the main character who dominates the whole novel... A comparison of literary elements in literature Introduction Literary elements refer to the various artistic styles of writing in literature which distinguishes a particular piece of literature material. The various literary elements in literature include the theme, symbolism, plot, character development, setting and context. This analysis seeks to compare and contrast the literary elements evident in Annie John by Jamaica...
Racial Identity, Space and Geography Operating within Girl and On Being Brought From Africa to America
...Jamaica Kincaid and “On Being Brought from Africa to America” by Phillis Wheatley involves the space for race and cultural identity intricately connected with the geography or the backdrop upon which the plot of the texts were interwoven. The essay shall focus on the thematic analysis of the short story, “Girl” by Jamaica Kincaid and the poem, “On Being Brought from Africa to America” by Phillis Wheatley and judge the intricate relations between race, culture, identity, space and geography inherent and operational within the texts. RACE AND CULTURAL IDENTITY IN GIRL BY JAMAICA KINCAID AND...
African American literature
...Jamaica Kincaid and Recitatif by Toni Morrison. All these stories seem to have different messages addressed to the readers, but there are still a lot of similar features. For instance, all of them are focused on female life. It should be noted that Zora Neale Hurston, Jamaica Kincaid and Toni Morrison depict different time periods of females they introduce to the readers. Thus, Toni Morrison tells about two little girls – white and black. They meet in St. Bonaventure’s shelter and a bit later... ? African American Literature An Assignment Submitted by of Establishment XXXX, Section XXXX, Fall African American Literature It should be noted that African American writers occupy an important part in world...
African American Literature
...Jamaica Kincaid and Recitatif by Toni Morrison. All these stories seem to have different messages addressed to the readers, but there are still a lot of similar features. For instance, all of them are focused on female life. It should be noted that Zora Neale Hurston, Jamaica Kincaid and Toni Morrison depict different time periods of females they introduce to the readers. Thus, Toni Morrison tells about two little girls – white and black. They meet in St. Bonaventure’s shelter and a bit later... African American Literature An Assignment Submitted by of Establishment XXXX, Section XXXX, Fall African American Literature It should be noted that African American writers occupy an important part in world lite...
Feminist way of reading
...Jamaica Kincaid The poem Girl is a piece of advice from mother to daughter presented as a single sentence, separated by colons. The advice is often insulting to the part of the daughter but the reader also sees the fact that the mother wants to help the daughter as well. There are a lot of practical advices that the mother is telling her child, most of them points that will help the child become a good, domesticated wife. She tells the daughter the correct ways on how to do household chores like sewing, ironing, doing the laundry, sweeping the floor; she tells the daughter useful information as to where to plant okra and how to make abortifacients. The mother also... Your An Analysis of “Girl” by...
Feminist way of reading
...Jamaica Kincaid The poem Girl is a piece of advice from mother to daughter presented as a single sentence, separated by colons. The advice is often insulting to the part of the daughter but the reader also sees the fact that the mother wants to help the daughter as well. There are a lot of practical advices that the mother is telling her child, most of them points that will help the child become a good, domesticated wife. She tells the daughter the correct ways on how to do household chores like sewing, ironing, doing the laundry, sweeping the floor; she tells the daughter useful information as to where to plant okra and how to make abortifacients. The mother also... Your An Analysis of “Girl” by...
Globalization
...Jamaica Kincaid tries to express her anger and thoughts about the situations that happened in her homeland, Antigua. Kincaid explains how her beautiful homeland... comments: Work on developing your analysis and providing points rather than summary. Too long, stick closer to the constraints. Introduction has to be clear, and has specific thesis. Working on the body paragraph. It should have clear and focused topic sentence. Paragraph should exhibit unity, coherence, and completeness. Examples/evidence are adequately discussed. I want to make this essay become 4 pages. I also put the professor’s comment in the paragraph with “(CAPS LOCK)” Globalization Nowadays, globalization is constantly happening all ar...
Analyze and develop BeautyWhen the dancer is the self
...Jamaica Kincaid agrees... 23 September Moment of Destiny: Beauty in the Self-Made “Self” So many people either lose or find themselves, as they tryto unearth the meaning of “beauty” in their lives. Modern world easily deceives people into accepting the notion that “beauty” pertains to the physical self. Companies use advertisements to imbibe materialistic formulations of “beauty.” The past two essays helped clarify the definition of “beauty” and what it personally means to me. Alice Walker explores “beauty” in “Beauty: When the Dancer Is the Self.” Her autobiographical essay asserts that beauty cannot be seen through the naked eye of others, but the naked eye of oneself on one’s personal strengths....
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Analyze and develop BeautyWhen the dancer is the self
...Jamaica Kincaid agrees... 23 September Moment of Destiny: Beauty in the Self-Made “Self” So many people either lose or find themselves, as they tryto unearth the meaning of “beauty” in their lives. Modern world easily deceives people into accepting the notion that “beauty” pertains to the physical self. Companies use advertisements to imbibe materialistic formulations of “beauty.” The past two essays helped clarify the definition of “beauty” and what it personally means to me. Alice Walker explores “beauty” in “Beauty: When the Dancer Is the Self.” Her autobiographical essay asserts that beauty cannot be seen through the naked eye of others, but the naked eye of oneself on one’s personal strengths....
How I learned to sweep analysis
...Jamaica Kincaid’s “Girl” Jamaica Kincaid’s “Girl” brings into focus how parenting style has changed over time to be what it involves today. Apart from highlighting issues parenting, Kincaid possibly uses her art piece to tell the story of how women were subject to stringent control in her world. In “Girl”, two characters prominently feature; a mother and her daughter (the girl). The girl in the short story is given order after order by her mother and is subject to a lot... Analysis of How I Learned to Sweep In Alvarez Julia’s poem “How I Learned to Sweep”, the poet describes how she first learnt to sweep having never been taught by her mother how to perform such a task. The setting of the poem is in the ...
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Compare and contrast The Lesson with Girl
...Jamaica Kincaid "The Lesson" by Toni Cade Bambara and "Girl" by Jamaica Kincaid are interesting short stories. Below some aspects of the stories are compared. THEME Since the length of “The Lesson” is according to conventional short story therefore it is able to address multiple themes. On the other hand the unconventional style and length of “Girl” is making multiple themes a difficult task. The main theme of “Girl” is the relationship of two generations and how older generation is trying to dictate terms. The generation gap is obvious by the amount of talking done by mother and the short responses... Teacher Compare the two literary short stories. "The Lesson" by Toni Cade Bambara and "Girl" by...
Caribbean Literature
...Jamaica Kincaid's Annie John and the poems by Jamaican Lorna Goodison and British-based poets Jamaican Jean Binta Breeze and Guyanese Grace Nichols illustrate the writings by women in the 1980s. These woman writers were born in the late 1940s and 1950s and they produced their first major works in the 1980s. "The term 'Caribbean women writers' describes an extremely diverse collection of women: women of numerous racial and ethnic groups who reside in many nations and write in at least four European languages and many Caribbean Creoles." (Rody, 117) Significantly, the most acclaimed woman writer of the region, Jean Rhys, is a white... Women's Writing in the 1980s in Caribbean Literature One of the obvious...
Reckoning
...Jamaica Kincaid well illustrates the process of shaping an idea into a reality. In the essay “On seeing England for the First Time” (720), Jamaica Kincaid expresses her impressions and ideas... develop a new perspective. By thinking it in the wider picture, you may be able to know the answers to deeper questions you could not understand. Kincaid had beautiful ideas of England from reading and hearing stories, but her experience shapes her ideas to conform to reality. Through her story, Kincaid shows a deeper change of ideas forced on her by the harsh reality. Works Cited Bouson, J B. Jamaica Kincaid: Writing Memory, Writing...
Short Story Essay
...Jamaica Kincaid "Girl" A Rose for Emily Subject: Girl Character: Emily Grierson Character: Mother Setting time period: 1930 Setting time period: 1983 Writing style: Symbolism Writing Style: Diction Language: English Language: English The stories “Girl” and “a Rose for Emily” share the same themes of resistance to change and generation gap. In the short story “A Rose for Emily”, her father made her personality change from being a happy and a vibrant person in her youth stage. Her father could not accept her suitors who were potential for her. He always rejected them for no genuine and concrete reason. This made... "A Rose for Emily" and "Girl" William Faulkner, "A Rose for Emily"...
Answer my questions
...Jamaica as a result of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) policies and the globalization drive of the World Bank. The starting point of the film is the highly acclaimed essay (non-fiction) A Small Place written by Jamaica Kincaid. The film depicts several interviews with Michael Manley (the former Prime Minister). By explicit factual exposition, the IMF policies along with the global framework of free market have been extensively examined in the film. Research Question What are the effects of trade liberalization... Running Head: Life and Debt Life and Debt Life and Debt Introduction Life and Debt is a sort of documentary film, which scrutinizes the social and economic circumstances that prevail in...
Short Story Essay
...Jamaica Kincaid "Girl" A Rose for Emily Subject: Girl Character: Emily Grierson Character: Mother Setting time period: 1930 Setting time period: 1983 Writing style: Symbolism Writing Style: Diction Language: English Language: English The stories “Girl” and “a Rose for Emily” share a similar theme of resistance to change and generation gap. In the short story “A Rose for Emily”, her father made her personality change from being a happy and a vibrant person in her youth stage. Her father could not accept her suitors who were potential for her. He always rejected them for no genuine and concrete reason. Emily could not, however, go... "A Rose for Emily" and "Girl" William Faulkner, "A Rose for Emily"...
Post Colonial Lit & A Small Place
...Jamaica Kincaid, relates to the big issues of life, individual, national and international. The author has adopted a unique but simple style of dealing with important and serious issues. With their enormous force of military and culture the British commenced the process of domination and began to impose their values upon Antigua. Political and cultural corruption began to hit at the roots of identity of Antiguans. Aggrandizement for wealth of the British began the process of corrosion of the local values, whether they intentionally wanted it or not. With no power to launch a counter attack on any fronts... on the book by Kincaid. Though it relates to the impact of...
Response Analysis About Girl
...Jamaica Kincaid, contains advice from a mother figure who wants her daughter to follow a stringent set of rules. The narrator talks about how the daughter should abide by her duties at home and how to act like a lady. She advises her daughter from using vulgar language. These instructions further caution her to avoid being overtly liberal thus equating it to acting like a slut. Rightfully, the mother wants her daughter to be a righteous woman and she insists that this happens by following her advice and sticking to the conduct that women must observe. However, some of these words of wisdom did not make any sense and sounded useless... Response Analysis About “Girl” This flash fiction, Girl, written by...
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One beautiful April morning, on a narrow side street in Tokyo’s fashionable Harujuku neighborhood, I walked past the 100% perfect girl.

Tell you the truth, she’s not that good-looking. She doesn’t stand out in any way. Her clothes are nothing special. The back of her hair is still bent out of shape from sleep. She isn’t young, either - must be near thirty, not even close to a “girl,” properly speaking. But still, I know from fifty yards away: She’s the 100% perfect girl for me. The moment I see her, there’s a rumbling in my chest, and my mouth is as dry as a desert.

Maybe you have your own particular favorite type of girl - one with slim ankles, say, or big eyes, or graceful fingers, or you’re drawn for no good reason to girls who take their time with every meal. I have my own preferences, of course. Sometimes in a restaurant I’ll catch myself staring at the girl at the next table to mine because I like the shape of her nose.

But no one can insist that his 100% perfect girl correspond to some preconceived type. Much as I like noses, I can’t recall the shape of hers - or even if she had one. All I can remember for sure is that she was no great beauty. It’s weird.

“Yesterday on the street I passed the 100% girl,” I tell someone.

“Yeah?” he says. “Good-looking?”

“Not really.”

“Your favorite type, then?”

“I don’t know. I can’t seem to remember anything about her - the shape of her eyes or the size of her breasts.”

“Strange.”

“Yeah. Strange.”

“So anyhow,” he says, already bored, “what did you do? Talk to her? Follow her?”

“Nah. Just passed her on the street.”

She’s walking east to west, and I west to east. It’s a really nice April morning.

Wish I could talk to her. Half an hour would be plenty: just ask her about herself, tell her about myself, and - what I’d really like to do - explain to her the complexities of fate that have led to our passing each other on a side street in Harajuku on a beautiful April morning in 1981. This was something sure to be crammed full of warm secrets, like an antique clock build when peace filled the world.

After talking, we’d have lunch somewhere, maybe see a Woody Allen movie, stop by a hotel bar for cocktails. With any kind of luck, we might end up in bed.

Potentiality knocks on the door of my heart.

Now the distance between us has narrowed to fifteen yards.

How can I approach her? What should I say?

“Good morning, miss. Do you think you could spare half an hour for a little conversation?”

Ridiculous. I’d sound like an insurance salesman.

“Pardon me, but would you happen to know if there is an all-night cleaners in the neighborhood?”

No, this is just as ridiculous. I’m not carrying any laundry, for one thing. Who’s going to buy a line like that?

Maybe the simple truth would do. “Good morning. You are the 100% perfect girl for me.”

No, she wouldn’t believe it. Or even if she did, she might not want to talk to me. Sorry, she could say, I might be the 100% perfect girl for you, but you’re not the 100% boy for me. It could happen. And if I found myself in that situation, I’d probably go to pieces. I’d never recover from the shock. I’m thirty-two, and that’s what growing older is all about.

We pass in front of a flower shop. A small, warm air mass touches my skin. The asphalt is damp, and I catch the scent of roses. I can’t bring myself to speak to her. She wears a white sweater, and in her right hand she holds a crisp white envelope lacking only a stamp. So: She’s written somebody a letter, maybe spent the whole night writing, to judge from the sleepy look in her eyes. The envelope could contain every secret she’s ever had.

I take a few more strides and turn: She’s lost in the crowd.

Now, of course, I know exactly what I should have said to her. It would have been a long speech, though, far too long for me to have delivered it properly. The ideas I come up with are never very practical.

Oh, well. It would have started “Once upon a time” and ended “A sad story, don’t you think?”

Once upon a time, there lived a boy and a girl. The boy was eighteen and the girl sixteen. He was not unusually handsome, and she was not especially beautiful. They were just an ordinary lonely boy and an ordinary lonely girl, like all the others. But they believed with their whole hearts that somewhere in the world there lived the 100% perfect boy and the 100% perfect girl for them. Yes, they believed in a miracle. And that miracle actually happened.

One day the two came upon each other on the corner of a street.

“This is amazing,” he said. “I’ve been looking for you all my life. You may not believe this, but you’re the 100% perfect girl for me.”

“And you,” she said to him, “are the 100% perfect boy for me, exactly as I’d pictured you in every detail. It’s like a dream.”

They sat on a park bench, held hands, and told each other their stories hour after hour. They were not lonely anymore. They had found and been found by their 100% perfect other. What a wonderful thing it is to find and be found by your 100% perfect other. It’s a miracle, a cosmic miracle.

As they sat and talked, however, a tiny, tiny sliver of doubt took root in their hearts: Was it really all right for one’s dreams to come true so easily?

And so, when there came a momentary lull in their conversation, the boy said to the girl, “Let’s test ourselves - just once. If we really are each other’s 100% perfect lovers, then sometime, somewhere, we will meet again without fail. And when that happens, and we know that we are the 100% perfect ones, we’ll marry then and there. What do you think?”

“Yes,” she said, “that is exactly what we should do.”

And so they parted, she to the east, and he to the west.

The test they had agreed upon, however, was utterly unnecessary. They should never have undertaken it, because they really and truly were each other’s 100% perfect lovers, and it was a miracle that they had ever met. But it was impossible for them to know this, young as they were. The cold, indifferent waves of fate proceeded to toss them unmercifully.

One winter, both the boy and the girl came down with the season’s terrible influenza, and after drifting for weeks between life and death they lost all memory of their earlier years. When they awoke, their heads were as empty as the young D. H. Lawrence’s piggy bank.

They were two bright, determined young people, however, and through their unremitting efforts they were able to acquire once again the knowledge and feeling that qualified them to return as full-fledged members of society. Heaven be praised, they became truly upstanding citizens who knew how to transfer from one subway line to another, who were fully capable of sending a special-delivery letter at the post office. Indeed, they even experienced love again, sometimes as much as 75% or even 85% love.

Time passed with shocking swiftness, and soon the boy was thirty-two, the girl thirty.

One beautiful April morning, in search of a cup of coffee to start the day, the boy was walking from west to east, while the girl, intending to send a special-delivery letter, was walking from east to west, but along the same narrow street in the Harajuku neighborhood of Tokyo. They passed each other in the very center of the street. The faintest gleam of their lost memories glimmered for the briefest moment in their hearts. Each felt a rumbling in their chest. And they knew:

She is the 100% perfect girl for me.

He is the 100% perfect boy for me.

But the glow of their memories was far too weak, and their thoughts no longer had the clarity of fouteen years earlier. Without a word, they passed each other, disappearing into the crowd. Forever.

A sad story, don’t you think?

Yes, that’s it, that is what I should have said to her.

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