I Stepped on Yoko's Toe

I hope I didn't break anything. She is so very small and delicate—but then again, so am I.

It was at a crowded art opening in a small bookstore. She was dressed in black and wearing the signature sunglasses. They function as an optical barricade; it's as if she's within a dark-glassed limousine at all times, even when she isn't. I wanted to tell her how much I liked her work. I wasn't even going to talk about her husband, the second one, who was part of that quartet named after bugs. Instead, I stepped on her toe. Accidentally.

She wore pointy black shoes or boots; I couldn't tell which, because her black pants covered their tops. I apologized immediately. I hope I didn't break anything. She is so very small and delicate—but then again, so am I.

I once attended a performance she gave. She took a probably expensive large porcelain or something vase and smashed it to smithereens on the floor, or maybe she hammered it under a towel. I cannot recall the exact method of breakage, but it started out whole and ended up in pieces. That is a certainty. Then she had each shard placed in an unmarked white envelope. The white envelopes were sealed and distributed to every audience member, one per customer, with the explicit instructions that they remain unmolested (the envelopes, but perhaps the people as well); that she would have another performance in ten? 15? 20? 25? 100 years?—I don't remember; and that, at the appointed time, presuming all the shard-holders still counted among the living, we would return with our unopened envelopes, hand them over, and someone, perhaps Yoko herself, would reassemble the broken vase, busted to bits so long ago.

[The photograph, from an ancient newspaper item, shows a mountain of broken crockery, constructed by the staff of an English hotel to serve "as a gentle admonition to careless guests and attendants, inviting them to refrain from adding to its height. In spite of this warning, however, the monument to carelessness continues to rise...."]


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