I haven’t seen Lizzy since she was limping across the lawn. And that was two months ago. I wonder what happened to her? I wonder if she quit school, or graduated, or if she was only a tourist who was on campus for a week, and then went home? I suppose she’s out there somewhere. I wonder what she’s doing right now? I wonder if her hoof has healed? It’s hard enough to limp around when the weather is nice, but it’s worse in the snow. I wonder if she’s alone, or with someone special? Wherever she is, I hope she’s happy… and her hoof has healed.
I suppose many people have sat and wondered, over the years, about a loved one who was not there. A father, mother, son, daughter, husband, or wife. I suppose they woke up every morning and went to bed every night with a hole in their heart. With an empty space they carried around, pressing through the day with only half of themselves still there. I suppose that’s the most common way to go through life.
It’s warmer today, said Harlan. Yes, said Blurtso. You don’t look very good, said Harlan, what have you been doing? I’ve been painting, said Blurtso. Painting? said Harlan. Yes, said Blurtso, I saw Lizzy again, and I think she should be immortalized like the models of Renoir.
I call it, “Jeune âne au piano.”
What’s the matter? said Alex. I haven’t been sleeping, said Blurtso. Why not? said Alex. I keep thinking of Lizzy. Lizzy? said Alex. Yes, said Blurtso, a donkey I saw on campus. What’s so special about Lizzy? I’m not sure, said Blurtso, there’s just something about her… I think I’d give anything just to brush against her. Really? said Alex. Yes, said Blurtso, and it’s driving me mad. Like in the poem, said Alex. The poem? said Blurtso. Sure, said Alex, the sonnet by Shakespeare: “By day my limbs, by night my mind for thee and myself, no quiet find.” Yes, said Blurtso, that’s it. Shakespeare sure knew donkeys.
I am mortified, said Blurtso. What? said Alex. Poor Jane, said Blurtso, and poor Mister Bingley. Who? said Alex. I never saw a more promising inclination, said Blurtso, he had grown quite inattentive toward other people, and is not general incivility the very essence of love? What? said Alex. I am mortified, said Blurtso, I am humbled, I am grieved, and hope against hope that Wickam and Lydia will be married. I have been so ungenerous to Mister Darcy, and now we owe the restoration of everything to him. What on earth are you talking about? said Alex. And what’s that book you’re reading? It’s Pride and Prejudice, said Blurtso, by Jane Austen. Oh, said Alex. You are too generous to trifle with me, said Blurtso, if you will take another cup of tea, please, tell me at once. Another cup? said Alex. Why yes, I shall accept your offer, with gratitude and pleasure.