For Katerina, with Love and Squalor

foresmewithloveandsqualorI just drank my coffee at the downstairs cafe where two British children-an 8-year-old girl and her barely verbal little brother–grilled me gravely on such lifestyle topics as pets and profession. Mostly, they approved of my answers though they felt I should have a cat AND a dog (emphasis theirs). On this point I agreed, and suggested they bring up the matter with my anti-canine landlord. The girl asked if I lived next door ALONE and if I was SAD, and I answered yes and not usually. She nodded dubiously. It was all I could do to keep from buying her a second cookie (her nanny had put the kibosh on this notion) while intoning: “For Esmé, With Love and Squalor.” Her name was Katerina, anyway.

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy