A young woman sees a piece of luscious-looking Black Forest cake on a dish right in front of her. She doesn’t know whence it came from, or who owns it, but she knows for sure it is not hers. Black Forest being her favorite cake, she is very much tempted to taste the cake, but having been taught since she was child that she cannot take what is not hers, she dares not touch it.
Yet she sits there and stares at the cake, imagining what it actually tastes like. One might say it is a total waste of time to sit there and just stare at it. Why not pick up a fork and just eat? Perhaps the owner has forgotten it. Or maybe it was really intended for her. Or why can’t she just leave and buy her own cake? Surely that is not a difficult thing to do?
Yet, the young woman stays and admires the cake and enjoys the taste of it in her mind.
One might say what a silly thing to do. Yet it is human nature to linger long after the ship has sailed.
So why do humans linger? Why do we linger when, for some, the chapter has come to a close?
Could it be the young woman is hoping that someone is going to come and tell her that without a doubt, this cake was baked especially for her, that the baker had no one else in mind but her when the cake was baked. (A little self-absorbed, wouldn’t you say?)
Or could it simply be that in her mind, and in her mind alone, the cake is doubtlessly luscious and doubtlessly hers alone, not to be shared with others, because a truly good cake is not to be shared but to be savored only by oneself. (This time our heroine has imagination, no matter how pathetic.)
“Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard are sweeter.” John Keats knew the power of the imagination.
Without actually eating the cake, the woman can imagine its texture, its sweetness, how the chocolate melts in her mouth. If she does taste it, there is a huge possibility she will be disappointed. (So true about Chinese cakes!)
So our heroine sits and stares and sits and stares. She sometimes sighs. But she is somehow satisfied with sitting and staring, much like an old lady sitting on her rocking chair staring at nothing, but in her head reliving the joy of living like she experienced once when she was a young vivacious woman.
I learned to swim only in my 20’s, and it was jealousy that made me do it. My then boyfriend and I had been trying to learn to swim, but he learned faster than I did. Once we went swimming with my friends, who were pretty good swimmers. They all swam to the deep part of the pool, and my boyfriend went to join them leaving me behind. I was annoyed that I let that happen (I was a disgustingly clingy and obsessive girlfriend. Ugh!) So out of the blue, courage came and my limbs became stronger, and I successfully swam to the deep part of the pool.
Sometimes jealousy can be awesome!
Now I can swim, but only in the pool. I have not been waist-deep in the sea since elementary school, I think.
But I love the sea. I love sitting on the beach and listening to the waves. I love the smell of the sea, and the feel of the breeze on my skin. I love the feel of the fine sand and the touch of the cool water on my bare feet. But only on my feet and my shins, no further than those or I will lose my balance and the waves will carry me, and I will drown. That’s not how I want to die (better on a plane that explodes mid-air –quick and no body to bury.)
I truly love the sea; I am in love with it. Its music soothes me; the undulations of its waves hypnotize me; its breeze refreshes me.
But I love the sea from a distance. Its depth terrifies me; its vastness isolates me; its power humbles me.
For a weak swimmer like me, it is best to swim in the pool.
Got it, dear?