Archive | Essays

That Stranger Called My Life

I just saw an old lover on the street. He didn’t see me (or pretended he didn’t) but I got a good eyeful. We were together off and on for four years and I hadn’t seen him in two. Recently he turned fifty, so he’s been on my mind though our connection is too dangerous to ignite with a polite phone call or card. We live in the same neighborhood so it’s a wonder we don’t run into each other. I often think spirit is protecting us by ensuring this doesn’t happen; we caused each other a lot of pain–more than the pleasure we gave each other, even. I watched him talk to someone–a friend, it looked like, but not a close one. Maybe a colleague. I watched him clasp his big hand on that man’s shoulder, then make his way down the street in the opposite direction from where I was standing. My old lover seemed smaller and bigger, blurrier and more filled in. It was a shock to see him alive at all–still human, not just an animation of my many memories. Continue Reading →

NYC, My Heart: East River Ferry Edition

This is Rosa and Vera. Both are Jews who fled Nazi Germany, emigrated to Argentina, and eventually made their way to New York City, where they have rent-controlled apartments, speak four languages, and take long walks every day. I met these longtime friends while waiting for the East River Ferry at 34th street. All three of us were fretting because the ferry were delayed, and bonded when they found out I was a card-carrying feminist who hated Trump as much as they did. “How do people not see this is what happened to us in Germany?” Vera wailed. I felt ashamed that they should survive so much only to witness later generations forgetting everything. “Past is present,” said Rosa, clasping my wrist. Then she complimented my Audrey Hepburn glasses. “With this style, you’ll find a new job soon.” “What are you doing in Brooklyn today?” I asked, admiring her pretty necklace in turn. “Well, we thought we’d sit by the Promenade and then stroll down to Sahadi’s,” she said. “Just because the world treats 80-year-old women like they’re invisible doesn’t mean we don’t like to do things.” Meeting these two birds is why I’ll never leave New York.

The Mothers Day Grinch

For me, Mothers Day is the plain worst. In the past it made me weepy; now it makes me grim. I know I’m not the only person who feels this way. I also know that vocalizing this dissent is controversial at best, toxic at worst. (I’ve got stories.) That said, I’m going to vocalize it once again, and not just in solidarity with all those who don’t have kids or lost their mother or don’t exactly have a hearts-and-flowers relationship with her. I’m calling out Mother’s Day because shattering myths is one of the few upsides of our new dystopia.

I’ll start with this: I am electively child-free. I mentor, I big-sister, I god-parent, but I never wanted to be a mother, and I say this as a person who has been pregnant twice. (What happened in either instance is a story I’ve yet to tell in print.) I like some kids, even love a few, but ended up feeling I’d spent too much of my youth babysitting adults and other people’s offspring to sign on for dirty diapers and asshole adolescences as a grown woman. As well, I don’t much care for the emphasis of nuclear families over other, more elective types of human relationships; the fact that Freud is still a common reference is evidence enough of their inherent dysfunction. And the relationships between mothers and daughters? Oy vey. Continue Reading →

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