What was the question? I'm sorry. I wasn't paying attention: the light was shifting against the branches of the trees, illuminating everything in an inarguable golden yellow, and if I had paid attention to the question I would have missed this five minutes of glory when everything is transformed into Technicolor and the world switches into high definition surround sound with every tree, cloud, house, cat, car, bird outlined in its truest form, so I actually have no idea why you are looking so quizzical, so expectant.
Had I enquired about the health of your grandmother, forgetting that she died in China in the 1960s, confusing her with some other grandmother who gardens in Seattle or moved to Buenos Aires with a man thirty years her junior; or did I inadvertently mention plans to go on a trip which you believe to be the ill-advised tom-foolery of too much wine too late at night and access to airplane reservations; or were you following up on the discussion of the Napoleonic era from yesterday or last week and I obviously wasn't paying attention then, either, since the book I promised to look up for you -- what was that? Something about a chair, or a new method for the espalier of apple trees?
I'm sorry, the coffee is cold, and now you are upset, and I'm not sure if it is the cold coffee or the forgotten question or the cat that just crossed the neighbor's lawn stalking a robin or if you just remembered that beginning of the month bills are due and there is a meeting tomorrow morning regarding signing a power of attorney for the family business.
You don't mind if we let the question drop for a moment, do you? I'm sorry, what did you say?
reading a list of 100 books published since 1900, perhaps 75% of which I have read, the plots and characters of the vast majority of which have been consigned to the shadows of memory
weather everywhere, the satiated scent of lilacs