Water is my wine. The earth is my body.

The Man Who Taught Me about Wealth and Poverty

“All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.” –Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

At a cafe in the Marais section of Paris, I ordered too much food.

I started out with a salad, because I was hungry. And then I couldn’t help myself—I ordered cheese. Some kind of circular thick round of goat cheese that was filled with honey, and a small bowl of sliced baguette.

As soon as the waiter brought the food, I realized I didn’t need it. I was full. I shouldn’t have ordered it.

So I sat and continued to study French words on the computer, hoping I’d eventually work up an appetite.

A few minutes later a man approached the cafe, moving toward the diners outside, asking for food. Everyone turned him down. At first he didn’t see me, but I waved him over and pointed at my food.

You want this? My eyebrows said.

He shook his head no, squinting his eyebrows, his palms pushing toward me. No, that’s yours. I realized he didn’t speak English, so I didn’t know how we were going to communicate.

The diners started to look over. The women in front of me. The waiter. Everyone was watching.

What can I get you? I said out loud, even though I knew he couldn’t understand. I looked back into the cafe to see if there was prepared food I could order for him, but there wasn’t.

Finally I looked back to my plate and motioned to the cheese again. I put my hands on the plate and lifted it toward him.You sure? My eyes said.

He shrugged and nodded reluctantly, and I began to remove the cheese brick.

That’s when he put his palms up again and shook his head. He motioned with his fingers, Just a little.

So I would cut into the cheese, but there was no knife. I looked to the women in front of me, whose eyes were wide.  “Do you have a knife?” I asked.

They shook their heads.

But I saw that I did have a spoon.

I picked it up and sliced into the round of cheese. It was gooey inside, full of honey. I scooped a slab onto a slice of toasted baguette and spread it around. Then I handed it to the man.

He took a bite. Cheese dripped down his chin. He held the bread up toward me in thanks, in cheers, and went on his way.

I ate the rest, each dollop soaking through the baguette, until I was full once again.

It was very good.

“le cafe”by lightcomposer is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Categories: spirituality and faith

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