The Krakow Diaries

75 days in Krakow. On a literary grant from the German Kulturstiftung der Länder. In the Guesthouse of the 16th century Villa Decius, with 10 other writers from Poland, Germany, Belarussia, Ukraine and Georgia. Beautiful city. Nice Krakovians. Fun nightlife. Beautiful women. And in the guesthouse: Meetings of the minds. Too much vodka. Good friends. One of the great pleasures of my life.

Day #26: Thursday, Oct. 12: The Mysterious Package Part 3

This morning I got up and decided to put an end to it. These nightmares of missing the cookies, of cookies going stale, of Katja appearing out of nowhere, saying, "But those cookies were for you!"

When I was young and a Mormon, I thought a lot about the phenomenon of temptation and resistance. A friend, another Mormon, told me a parable about a Buddhist monk. He is walking along a path in the woods with his pupil beside him when they come upon a stream. At the stream, a beautiful woman is standing. "I'm afraid I will slip and fall," she said. "Can you carry me across the stream?" Without hesitation, the older monk picked her up in his arms and carried her across the stream.

When they were alone again, the pupil, who was a little concerned, asked: "Why did you do that, master? Didn’t you vow never to touch a woman?"

"I did, Grasshopper," said the monk (I don’t think he actually said "Grasshopper"), "but I knew if I didn’t do it, I would be thinking about it for the rest of my days – in my mind, touching her over and over again. this way, I touched her, I know how it felt, I got it over with, and I can go on."

This is the story I thought of as I sat in bed after another terrible night. So I got up, pulled on some pants, and in the early morning hours I stumbled down the stairs and into the kitchen, determined to make that package of cookies mine.

But when I got there, it was gone.

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