By Rina Rossi
“So tell me, Tess. It’s going to take more than your scrupulous emails entitled “URGENT. READ NOW- Desperate Teen Looking for Writing Agent” for me to actually work on publishing your book, darling. I mean, you’re not even a teen. Forgive me, but the title of your blog already confuses me; why is it called “Dominican Rice Pudding?” I said, gazing at the pint-sized, raven-color haired, eleven-year old girl, whose glasses were too small for her large hazel eyes, and whose intellect was far too great for a pupil in the sixth grade.
“Well you see…” Tess chirped, unfolding the red gingham napkin to wipe the buttery grease the breakfast croissant left on her lips. “…The blog is a safe space where I publish my daily thoughts, hopes, and dreams. The title of it draws attention to my infatuation with Dominican Rice Pudding. It’s more than desirable. I have a cup of it every day for brunch; it’s a way of life. I know that sounds posh, but hey, you were the one who invited me to this sleazy French café that’s really just American with a few croissants and Eiffel Tower embroidered tablecloths…”
I took off my cat-eye glasses and cleaned them with my tunic, as I sighed in disbelief that I once actually thought publishing an eleven year old’s novel would benefit the Pizzicato Publishing Group.
“Moving on to what you called me here for. I’ve recently started using my blog as a publishing platform, as I researched that self-publishing is determining the future for young writers in the 21st century. It’s quick and easy, efficient, and just as lucrative as paperback publishing. But I’ve yearned for copies of my book, and my mother told me that with a rising young author’s novel like mine, combined with the plummeting status of your publishing group, publishing my book would benefit all of us.”
I simply rolled my eyes, but I remembered that Tina told me that this kid, Tess, “writes adorable romance novels” and “really had some sort of talent that cannot be overlooked,” and along with the fact that the Pizzicato Publishing Group is hosting City Council’s upcoming Valentine’s Day party, I decided to give the opportunity one final push.
“So what’s the novel about, kid? What’s in it for these lovebirds attending the Group’s Bash? They gonna read something like Pride and Prejudice?”
“Novella, miss. And, yes, this is a story about love. Unrequited love, if we are to be speaking exactly. There’s this person…and I know that I love them, but I can’t seem to proceed to show these feelings. Allow me to quote the book, but their eyes are like “the pools of Heshbon, by the gate of Bath-Rabbim” and their “nose, the Tower of Lebanon, sentinel facing Damascus”, such a beautiful sight. Others, such as friends, cronies, acquaintances, tell me that this person deserves to be loved, felt as if they are the only person in the world, understood, perhaps even be deprived of sleep for a night thinking of either myself or how wonderful they truly are. Some people get surprised, flustered even, when they come to odds with the fact that I could possibly be in this situation of unrequited love, and even possible love for that matter. I’m a seemingly emotionless person, too caught up in my own deeds to think of another. Some might call that selfish. But what’s a life without deep individual focus? I’m so caught up in my book publishing and writing drive, and often find myself spending more time with the butter knives at the Croissant Place than with actual people. As I’m sitting in my desk at school, practicing arithmetic, or conjugating verbs in Italian, the feeling that this person is alone, without a heart to share, hand to hold, irks me feverishly. Who deserves love? That feeling that makes one so euphoric, something that can’t stand to be held in, like a fly trapped in a jar, but can’t be released.
Is it the innocents in the primary school gleaning for the path of life? Or is it the infants in the
foster home, who have nothing but themselves. Who deserves this euphoric fly-trapped feeling
that makes us worthy of thinking of our other half, whenever we want to. What makes us worthy
of thinking that we’re enough, that we deserve someone’s heart, that we can play with someone’s
Heart, break it, cherish it. Now that was awfully poetic. But I’ve decided to incorporate this story into a novel because, emotional statistics have shown that more people die of unrequited love than tuberculosis every year, and I find it of the deepest importance and regard for people to love themselves. Love thyself before you can give love to others,” Tess said, then took a deep sip of coffee that left her with a milk mustache.
“Okkkkkay…I’m confused now. You were saying that this novel-LA was about your deep potential love for someone else. And now all of a sudden you’re talking about self confidence, and loving thyself. I mean, who is this unrequited love sermon even about? Who are you unable to love?” I asked, feeling increasingly frustrated about what further web of lies this little girl has spun. After waiting for a few seconds, and spending those taking a peek at the city, heaps of snow lumped on cars and against window sills, I looked back at Tess, the little liar. Her head was nestled down, the nape of her neck at an angle, and her beret covered her face, which appeared to be wet from a few tears.
Tess finally brought her head up, and readjusted her beret, using the gingham napkin to wipe off her milk mustache, and said “It’s about me. Just me, myself, and I.”