Romance Language

My daughter’s ribbons, yellow and deep red, hang on the wall over her desk. She earned them a year ago competing in track in the spring and summer. She doesn’t care about the colors or the place they indicate—second, sixth, fourth. To her, each makes an equal decoration.

She keeps their meaning personal and small.

I haven’t yet met the person who doesn’t treat the specific circuit of their life as universal, as the template for human striving. And each one is right. What I live is the brightest glimpse of universe I’ll ever know. But each of us is also wrong for the very same reason.

No one feels the specific pulse of another. No one soaks in another’s sweat or smells the other’s stench as their own.

Humanity’s original sin lies in not accepting this. In insisting that the skin of my existence can clothe your limbs. That…

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