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red peony


'This afternoon she discovered my birth date had just passed. She is filing old documents, the birth certificate applications and so forth, now that the flurry of typing is done. She seemed hurt. "A man turns thirty years, that's important," she scolded, "and to think I sat here and knew nought of it, all the day long."

I didn't say what Frida would have. That you can't really know the person standing before you, because always there is some missing piece: the birthday like an invisible piñata hanging great and silent over his head, as he stands in his slippers boiling the water for coffee. The scarred, shrunken leg hidden under a green silk dress. A wife and son back in France. Something you never knew. That is the heart of the story.'

— from The Lacuna, Barbara Kingsolver