Eugene O’Neill says it best:
Life is for each man a solitary cell whose walls are mirrors.
In five short tales, lives that never touch arrive at the same insight. Scattered in time and place, from Paris to Hawaii, they are bound by this: All are solitary souls.
Confronting personal crisis, each realizes she (or he) is all alone even amidst a social milieu; but it’s then that she sees herself clearly. It’s a turning-point moment that propels her forward.
At a Paris Café. In early 70s Paris, a naive and eager young man chooses not to go with his buddies on a trip around the country on his summer vacation. He goes it alone in Paris. He falls in love for the first time and at first sight in his first encounter with a French couple at a café. But this encounter shakes his illusions about Paris, about love, about life.
The Gypsy. A boy recently uprooted to Paris by his parents’ divorce learns some life lessons from an old gypsy he watches through a third-floor apartment window. He sees how different she is from him, but deep inside, he feels an uneasy kinship with her.
The Sum of a Young Life. Finding a young woman’s journal at a Berkeley coffeehouse upsets an urbane but blasé young man’s precise routine. Unable to control his curiosity, he opens it and discovers a life that touches him.
In a Few Fast Heartbeats. In the Napa Valley, a middle-aged wife and mother is taking her husband home after a heart surgery. She’s looking forward to family time and the old comforting routine. But her life changes in the blink of an eye.
Fragrant Green Mangoes. Every summer on her school break, a young woman visits her beloved Grandma at her house in Waipahu, a suburb of Honolulu. But after her most recent visit, she loses her Grandma within a month of her returning home to California. In her grief, she finds the language of love, not in roses, but in fragrant green mangoes her Grandma made into mango salads.