‘The Finest Milled Cotton’ by Katherine Hill
|April 18, 2012|
Four days after Alissa dropped out of college, she snagged a job at the preppy clothing retailer that made sumptuous cashmere in a rainbow of farmer’s market hues. Persimmon. Morel. Sage. A friend’s brother had worked there the previous summer and he put her in touch with the manager, Mark, a hair-geller in herringbone who sat her down in the chairs normally reserved for customers trying on loafers to ask her a few questions about herself.
“That’s a good school,” he said, looking at the resume she’d printed on a piece of her mother’s linen paper. Light from the mall-front window filtered through the sheet, illuminating a watermark that vaguely resembled an anchor, tilted rakishly on its end. Or maybe it was a crab. Either way, it was the sort of thing this company might embroider on a pair of green chino pants, so she figured she was set.
“I’m taking some time off,” she told him, hoping he wouldn’t need a reason.
He leaned forward in the chair and looked her over, resting his eyes an extra moment on her thigh. “When can you start?”
Pale Youths in Love
I remember when I was a pre-teen and they moved into a loft across the street from me in Tribeca, where I lived. And an older neighbor friend told me they were living in her building, on the top floor. I saw him at my corner deli, and on the street smoking, but never her. At night, I sometimes looked up at their windows and saw their lights on. He was not very impressive in person. Cute, but no big deal.
What is Work?
Without a written record, we cannot know with certainty how the earliest humans thought about work, but the importance of sharing food and other resources means that prehistoric work embodied at least an element of serving the needs of a community rather than just those of an individual and his or her immediate family.
Genesis: A Supreme Fiction
It occurred to me that Genesis is such a supreme fiction, or perhaps it is the supreme fiction in western culture, which begat many others. For thousands of years this book has been the mirror or lamp that reveals what reality consists of – regarding the nature of human existence, the cosmos and God. Or, to put it differently: the meaning of life, the universe and everything.
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Just as the thirteenth year of my life started, the Iraqi-Iran war began. Before it was even a year old, my oldest brother was killed and one of my cousins was taken as a prisoner of war. That is when I began hearing my father curse “Mr. President” whenever he found himself alone with my mother in the orchard, kitchen, or bedroom, or as she milked our cows in the pen.
In a corner of our country not far removed from two of its great cities, there is a low range of mountains, the hoary evidences of ancient volcanic action. Countless years have elapsed since the great tide of molten lava rolled over the region. Years fewer, but still countless, have passed during which the shattered and tilted remnants of the lava sheets have watched over the land. Deep gorges divide the masses into separate mountains, lonely and desolate, and the most desolate and the most conspicuous of all is the West Peak.
After his second heart attack, the judge knew that he could no longer put off informing his wife about the contents of his will. He did this for the sake of the woman he had been keeping for twenty-five years, who, ever since his first attack, had been agitating about provisions for her future.