Tuesday, July 26, 2016

And My Bald Head

I hobble to the grocery store singing a song to myself, but stop when a woman walks by the other way checking me out with a dubious look on her face.

Another man makes eye contact, looks frightened for a moment, and looks away quickly, and I start to think I might not be imagining things.

Then I remember what shirt I'm wearing and it starts to make sense.

Later, I tell Katie, "I think I might have overdone it with the philosophical thing today, especially with the tubes hanging out of my leg."

Weather or Not

As I cross the street to go grab a bite (bahn mi from the local shop a couple blocks away), my fellow pedestrians are beating a hasty retreat from the rapidly gathering storm clouds above.

The wind begins to pick up, and some stray drops spatter on my face, a herald of what's to come as the sky quickly darkens. I find myself clapping, applauding in anticipation of the rain, like an audience member cheering when the lights go down before the band hits the stage.

A woman hurrying to escape the approaching deluge catches me, and gives me a tight-lipped, forced smile, perhaps acknowledging that yes, nature is impressive in her strength and majesty, but damn if she isn't occasionally a bit inconvenient.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

In the Cave

The sun is blazing outside, but the inside of the apartment is dark, cool, and cavelike.

Our roommate emerges from her room, after I haven't really seen her all day, and I hear her puttering about in the kitchen as she makes food.

I stick my head into the kitchen, ask, "You feeling okay?"

"I was thinking about going to hang out in the park," she says, shrugging, "but it's just too hot."

Love and Light

My parents' final night in town, we go out to celebrate. I come from a long line of boisterous folks, and when my family and I get together, it tends to get loud, to the point that maybe some people at the tables close to us might have given us a look (or two).

Afterwards, when we've gotten in the cab and are hurtling down Atlantic Avenue toward home, my mom pipes up, "I said goodbye to that lady who kept turning around to look at us, and she smiled and waved."

"She used all her fingers to wave, too, not just her middle one," she adds with obvious relish.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Lives of our Younger Mothers

"I went sailing around Lake Michigan," my mother says in reply to my father as we drive past the East River up the FDR.

"How did that happen?" I ask.

"Before I met your father, when I lived in Chicago, I was seeing a man who owned a fleet of sailboats, and he took me sailing one weekend," she says.

When I ask for clarification on her use of the word "fleet," she adds, "Oh yes, he was the man who gave me my pet ocelot named Karma."

Thursday, July 21, 2016


"And this website, where they show everyone who's buried in this cemetery," continues my father, talking about the woman after whom my sister is named, "says that it's spelled A-L-I-N-E, Aline." He pronounces it "A-lean."

"Don't you think it should be spelled A-L-E-N-E, when you hear that?" my mom asks, trying to enlist support.

"I hear that you're trying to rename your child who is a full grown adult," Katie says, smiling.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Mom and Dad

My dad shows Katie pictures on his phone of his new house while we wait for food in the neighborhood Italian restaurant. I lean over and rest my head on my mom's shoulder.

"I'm growing my whiskers back," I say, and purse my lips to show her while she nods approvingly.

She looks up sadly at my still-pretty-bald head and adds, "Too bad it's not growing back everywhere."