When I was young, my parents employed a housekeeper who worked five days a week. Cora washed laundry, cleaned the house, and, during the summer, often cooked lunch for me and my brother Richie. She made a grilled cheese sandwich that no one else could duplicate, though we all tried. She said the secret was in the butter, but we didn’t know what that meant. We closely watched her make the grilled cheese sandwiches but never noticed anything unusual about how she used the butter. It was a delightful mystery.
Abby leans over the kitchen sink. She pours three cups of long-grain jasmine rice into a rice cooker bowl. It’s enough for dinner for her family of four tonight, for fried rice tomorrow. She runs cool water over the grains, swirls the rice and water with her hand. She tilts the bowl, letting foggy water spill over the edge. As she washes the rice, her mother’s voice from years ago brushes her shoulder and lands like a palm firm against her back.
Or something like that. At first, we woke up constantly and bleary, wondering if the world had changed or if it was us.
We sat through every mood we’d ever felt, one after another, on a creaky conveyor belt of memory—but not the kind of carousel in swanky sushi restaurants where you can choose not to lift something off the moving rubber panels. We had to order everything on the menu. It was horrendous, and we felt sick.
Perhaps importantly, it all happened very quickly. We went from […]
I didn’t want to go on this Bronx Zoo outing. I’ve lived nearly 67 years without ever visiting. Never had any interest watching poor trapped souls ache for the freedom of their visitors. When the Seniors Housing Commission organized this trip for my building, I ignored it, as I have every year. Why I jumped on the chartered bus right before it took off this morning was a mystery to me. But now the mystery is solved.
Thank you, Joey, for guiding me to that bus seat. God forgive […]
Now that the sun burns my eyelashes, now that the sea salts my hips, I simply let them. The city behind me is a hot, melted shore. I’m here flirting with what this sea could give me. The sea pushes and pulls me. He tells me go and melt yourself in those streets under the sun. He tells me, come, dive a little deeper until the tide weighs on your neck, a necklace that forces me to continue, that drowns me. The sea […]
When I was sixteen, I discovered a simple truth. If you want to make friends—friends who will stay with you for life—all you need is a landmine.
It is a rite of passage that Jewish children, when they turn sixteen, go on an Israel tour. They spend a few weeks there, hanging out with other Jewish children, discovering their roots, getting closer to their co-religionists and, although this is rarely made explicit, meeting Jews of the opposite sex, so that they are more likely to marry someone of their […]
I looked through the window again, the figure still there, glaring back at me. It was him again. It was always him, watching me from the distance and judging my every move. Yet, I did not know who he was. I looked again, adrenaline slowly pulsating through my body like an intruder. He looked straight back. As soon as our eyes met, I looked away and stood up, needing to pace around the room.
I paced. Who was he? I paced. Why was he there? I paced. Why […]