an overheard conversation between richard brautigan and aimee herman

It was a day unlike Wednesday, but it was Monday or was it Sunday. It was definitely sometime around 4pm and 3:15.

Richard: I started out this day thinking about the exhaust fumes from cars fighting their way to a parking spot in Hawaii and now I am wondering why the cost of cantaloupe has gone up.

Aimee: I call them candy-lopes.

Richard: I had a lover who lasted through one nocturnal whose hair smelled like the ripest of cantaloupes. She was studying botany and when I kissed her, she told me she could feel the rash my mustache would give her mouth. She smelled like a harvest.

Aimee: And did you give her a rash?

Richard: In more places than just her lips.

Aimee: I started out this day thinking about that library you wrote about. I wanted to find that tall door leading into the house for books and bring you one.

Richard: Poetry.

Aimee: No. The other one.

Richard: You done with it?

Aimee: I’m scared to peek at its end.

Richard: I wrote letters. Mailed some. Gave others away to the wrong ones. Sometimes I’d write suicide notes and stick them beneath seats. I never signed them, of course.

Aimee: Why not?

Richard: Because they weren’t mine.

Aimee: I found one of my suicide notes in Connecticut.

Richard: Was it beneath a white oak?

Aimee: Yes. No! In a tiny drawer, second one down. Purple. Purchased at a garage sale somewhere east. I didn’t recognize the handwriting, but I recognized the name.

Richard: Did you want to edit it?

Aimee: Yes.

Richard: Tell me about the painter. Didn’t she bring me to you?

Aimee: No. Yes! She reimagines rooms. When I met her, I was hours away from an interaction with ticks. I was also desperate for a recall.

Richard: What do you mean?

Aimee: I mean…we were in a town full of three hundred people. Or less. And I was this blank page. I kept wondering what words I could fill for them. Who I could be? You know I come from a city where we are forgotten. Or–

Richard: Unseen.

Aimee: Yes! No. Seen through. Or unheard. No one looks up anymore, Richard. But she does.

Richard: The painter.

Aimee: Yes. Yes!

Richard: Tell me what she looks for.

Aimee: An answer. But there are so many questions.

Richard: Do you know, I spent days in my youth obsessing over a family who brought their furniture to a fishing hole. They’d sit on big, comfy chairs as they dug their line into water to see what they’d catch.

Aimee: And did they catch much?

Richard: Always. And you know why?

Aimee: Ummm….persistence?

Richard: Because they were comfortable. Tell her she needs to settle. She needs to bring her chair with her wherever she goes.

Aimee: Really?

Richard: Aimee. No. Yes! She’s a painter! So, I imagine she can paint this chair. Paint this comfort. Paint what she needs. Paint her answer!

Aimee: And then she will find her fish.

Richard: Right. Or whatever it is she desires at the end of her line.

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