I come from a simple family—we sing in deafening harmony on road trips, we take too many photos at unremarkable events (lunch at McDonald’s, second and third days of kindergarten). So for a long time, nobody could make sense of my sister’s outbursts. She cried at school, she cried at the beach, she cried even when we got a new puppy. Her raw, red eyes emptied uncharted distress and she recoiled bitterly at any semblance of joy. These tormented sobs racked her scrawny bones for a while as my parents […]
I remember when the great oak tree on my elementary school campus was felled. The district said the tree was diseased, that it was rotting at the root, and they brought in monstrous yellow machinery to remedy the situation. First, they cut away all of the naked branches, then they ripped the trunk straight out of the ground, leaving nothing but a patch of dust behind. I was eight, and the loss of that tree was the biggest tragedy I could imagine.
Our flight lands at JFK at 3 p.m. It takes us a few hours to get all our luggage, load up and truck across the two bridges home. “I hope there’s no traffic on the Tri-boro,” Dad says to no one in particular. We eat the snacks in Mom’s handbag, reserved for emergencies. Still hungry, we start to bicker. There is always traffic on the Tri-Boro Bridge on the Cross Bronx Expressway. Typically, the George Washington Bridge entrance is where things clear up.