On reading an inscription in This Side of Paradise

If I can only imagine the snow swept streets of 1920 America when Paul gave Marion a copy of This Side of Paradise that Christmas morning and what she must have thought as she unwrapped the ribbon and thin paper of his gift and touched those lovely pages with her fingertips while Fitzgerald, even then was travelling toward some palmy Hollywood studio backlot, his hands wringing and desperate, trying to write Gatsby and who knows what happened to Marion and Paul, how their lives were shaped by unforeseen tides and how it happens that on this sunny Wednesday morning in March in Florida, 86 years later, I take their book off the shelf and touch Fitzgerald’s pages wanting to write something, anything this morning and know another Christmas looms – even as the roses and geraniums outside my window proclaim paradise.