Foiled again. Bright tinfoil chocolate Christmas mice, hanging by golden string tails. Foil wrappers flattened into 10G rodent squish. The foil inside of a pretzel-fish bag, of a Pringles can. Foiled again into eating things that aren’t strictly speaking food, to meet a deep-seated, deep-seeded need. Foiled and feathered. Toiled and tethered.
I sit at the table and think of foil mice. I bite a foil mouse into quarters, savoring the chocolate melting on my tongue. Foiled in the happiest of ways.
Foiled again into the holidays, which seem less serious with each passing year. While my parents take a nap, Timothy and I step out to the charity shops on Leith Walk for a box of assorted metallic ornaments and some strings of battery-powered lights: golden stars, nutcrackers, plain blue-white LEDs. We pull the fake ficus to the center of the living room and push fake gerber daisies (also latent in the apartment’s décor) between its boughs. A Christmas tree appears without planning or expectation, pulled together from What Is, shimmering with foil Christmas mice my parents brought from Switzerland.
The holidays were never not-here. I unfold the sheet of golden paper I brought from home and wrap two re-painted thrift-store sheep, a box of chocolates, a small pot of witch’s balm, some tea, a felt heart, a found Santa Claus. It is all small, all emerging from the world’s pre-existing bounty. I love my parents without being foiled in this love.
My parents give us Bluetooth beanies with built in headlamps and earphones. They are silly, they are perfect, Fats Domino comes walking through woolly hats into our ears and hearts.
What if Christmas and all the other high holidays can be foiled simply by not falling into a trance of specialness? Ordinary-extraordinary, whether the calendar says December 25th, or March 11th, or anything. You can find beauty and generosity or lack and abandonment, anytime.
Foiled: one side is shiny silver and the other is a matte-gold mouse-face with little ears, whiskers, a nose, bright eyes. Wrap this around a vaguely peanut-shaped chunk of chocolate, add a string tail, and voilà! Foiled again.
We are all here for so short time. Do not wait for something special to occur, for some special place to arrive, for some special state that precludes boogers and dog poo riding the automatic gate back and forth without end. Do not wait for a barfless sidewalk. Do not expect the shoes to come in your size. Do not let perfection be foiled in these ways.
Foiled again: I think I am going over there and fail to notice that I have arrived. I do not walk in, do not accept the invitation, the gift, the advice of two old women traveling together. I grow irritated by what does not need to get under my skin. I forget the foil has two sides. I forget my tongue sits happily inside my mouth, even without a chocolate mouse melting on it. I hesitate when I don’t need to.
Foiled again: is it peanut butter or tunafish in there? Turkey with mayonnaise, or chicken salad? Who knows? Eat it fast, and you can make yourself a tinfoil hat to block FBI transmissions. Tinfoil hat, sandwich hat, overthinking the complexities of the world’s ongoing abundance.
Tinfoil Easter eggs
Tinfoil twists of salt for hill-walking
Tinfoil potatoes in the campfire
Tinfoil reflectors for tanning the underside of your chin
Accordion tinfoil windshield covers for roasting-hot beach days
Tinfoil survival blanket rustling all through the Himalayan night
I have made a deal with the universe that says, Please foil me over and over and over again until I turn to you with an open heart, no matter what is showing up. I call on the universe as Supreme Foil to all my nonsense. Foil me, my Love. Replace my obsessions with wonder and my fears with awe. Unwrap me and show me always the loose layers of You.
Sheets of smoked salmon pulling away from a bright foil base.
Onion skin curling under the knife.
Banana Tarte Tatin dropping to the plate from a hot dish.
I am being peeled.
Experience unwraps and glows with particularity, not-needing more, better, elsewise, less, or anything. The foil wrapper is infinitely expandable, infinitely shrinkable, fits any occasion, and goes with anything. Ta-daa! Foiled again by being unfoilable.
When we are drawn to one another, what in fact is happening? You are the perfect foil for this unexamined part of myself. I am living under a foil-me-forever dispensation, but I can’t assume the same about you. You might still just be looking for a good time, and that’s fine, except Miss Foiled Again here is unlikely to be the one to deliver it. I am an agent of the Great Foil, without trying to be. My allegiance is ultimately neither with your pleasure, nor with mine. What does that make me? A Christmas mouse with Nothing/Everything filling. A 3PM sunset. The North Sea at high tide with gulls flying in the dark. A sidewalk bin of made-in-China cashmeres, curled together like bats.
Pull the golden ends apart – bang!
A flat plastic car,
A flat plastic frog,
A tissue paper crown.
A love letter written on every puddle the world has ever lapped.
Julie Püttgen is an artist, expressive arts therapist, and meditation teacher.
108 Names of Now