When Lauren was in high school she had a poster, beige with big, black, bold lettering of the name of the poet, she admired, Yevgeny Yevtushenko, taped to her wall. She could see it from her bed, her favorite poem in the entire world, “Stolen Apples.” To this day, some thirty-five years later it is still one of her favorites. Because life is like poetry she loved the way the poem emphasized that the taste of forbidden fruit, “stolen apples” tasted so much better than the apples she could pick up off the gray pavement or buy in one of the cloudless supermarkets. It was the process, she thought always, not the acquisition that was the exquisite pleasure; the art of rolling around a heaping tablespoon of Nutella chocolate on her tongue sensually instead of a hard bite of Nestle’s Crunch. They were both, of course, chocolate, but so far apart in terms of experiences. One was lingering over the pleasure of the taste sensation and how it wrapped around her senses like a soft, warm red knit scarf in winter lying against her neck. The other, a sharp bite and a mere second’s taste of flavor and it disappeared immediately with no recollection of how it tasted or felt.
She was not judging anyone elses tastes but her own. She always knew what she liked. She liked the “game,” the flirtation, in one word, the “dance.” It was the dance itself that made all the experiences exciting, holding her eyes down a quarter of a second too long could be quite innocent but it also could be an introduction. It could be whatever she wanted to be, that was her power, the power of a look and the power of her youth.