A Story About the Body

Source: Big whoop
The young composer, working that summer at an artist's colony, had
watched her for a week. She was Japanese, a painter, almost sixty, and
he thought he was in love with her. He loved her work, and her work was
like the way she moved her body, used her hands, looked at him directly
when she made amused or considered answers to his questions. One
night, walking back from a concert, they came to her door and she
turned to him and said, "I think you would like to have me. I would like
that too, but I must tell you I have had a double mastectomy," and
when he didn't understand, "I've lost both my breasts." The radiance
that he had carried around in his belly and chest cavity--like music--
withered, very quickly, and he made himself look at her when he said,
"I'm sorry. I don't think I could." He walked back to his own cabin
through the pines, and in the morning he found a small blue bowl on the
porch outside his door. It looked to be full of rose petals, but he found
when he picked it up that the rose petals were on top; the rest of the
bowl--she must have swept them from the corners of her studio--was
full of dead bees.

~ Robert Hass

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