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English rain has temperament. It can tease you, flutter across your skin like dust and you feel like you’re a plane piercing through a cloud. It can be brutal and pour on you, yet it’s so cold that you feel as if you’ve been hollowed out. You can feel the rain, but you’ve almost forgotten your existence in the midst of trying not to let the cold get to you. And then there’s the mush of soggy plant carcasses on the pavement, like soaked cereal. When I step on it I am halfway between disgust and self-satisfaction. And then there’s that empty vodka bottle perched like a baby on the naked skeleton of a tree. At least, that’s how I feel when I walk in the rain here. I feel like I have met my match.

I remember being at a firm social and someone asked me, “So why did you come to England to study?”

And I said, “For the English rain.”

Because a befuddling question warrants a befuddling response.

Chive leaves

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In the saline waters off Sulawesi, a sorceress rests spread-eagle on a cloud of sand. She ponders over her wardrobe. Rays of sunlight flounder through the waters to kiss her gelatin skin, and she accepts them with motionless indifference. She has today inherited the character of statues. It is merely one of many characters in her repertoire, and every performance is a concoction of empathy and pretention. To fend off the clownfish, she blooms into a throbbing jellyfish. Upon sight of a whitetip, she contorts into a lionfish. Eventually, she grows tired of mimicry. Thinking no one is watching, she wrings her body into a fictitious creature and crawls across the seabed in stealthy reverie. It is a talent over which she is both generous and gleeful.

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