Brian Johnson

The Earlobe


During my twenties, I fell in love with a woman’s earlobe. There was nothing
else: no pillow-pile of strawberry blonde hair, no sashaying of lathe-rounded
hips—only the earlobe itself.  Nothing could stop me dreaming of it. I read, I
went for long drives in the country, and still that earlobe reappeared in my
mind’s eye. I knew it was a pointless obsession. What could I do with an
earlobe? Was it so unprecedented, this earlobe, as to make the woman herself a
prize? And would I be pursuing the earlobe alone, or recognizing it as a sign of
greater wonders? Unable to answer myself, I watched the earlobe for six
months, advancing on it and retreating from it each time I served the woman
her plate of chicken salad.  Then one day, without warning, as often happens in
the restaurant world, the woman vanished. She never came to the restaurant
again. I was left with my young imagination, and now this, this writing, a climb
towards the earlobe and the ankle mole and all the other treasures that are
virtually mine.