which means that in the end there are certain things you can take with you when you flee, things that have no weight.

in june, there are two weddings, a funeral, and a graduation.

1. n. finally marries s. after 8 years of courtship. they have the wedding in a cryptic church beneath st. paul’s cathedral. now that i live in los angeles, the flight is 10 hours to london. but life in LA has been so psychically exhausting and lonely that i sleep soundly the whole way.

besides being a bridesmaid i am asked to read the passage in corinthians on love. it rains as we walk down the aisle but by the time we get out, to a modest crowd of hats and canes, it is “sunny” (for london). i bungle the words, my presbyterian tongue twisting the anglicized, “we will see,” to “shall will see,”… the phrasing a little knock-kneed and courageous like love itself.

i memorized the passage once, when i was very young for a church contest. i relentlessly worked at it every day for nearly a month, or a summer. the day of the contest, my mother, as she was wont to do, threw a fit of apocalyptic proportions because i had left a soda can on the coffee table overnight. she beat me and then retired to her room, saying she had a headache.

i take a nap after the wedding and begin drinking at 7 pm. people give me fistfuls of blow and i put them in my coat pocket and then forget about them cause i’m so drunk. i get back to the hotel at 6 am and sleep for 24 hours. when i wake up, i order a halal burger from room service and watch 16 candles for the first time.

2. i drive north. a. is graduating, finally getting her ph.d. the night before we have dinner in the sleepy college town of santa cruz and the next day, under a cloudless california sky, i see her walk and receive her diploma. hurray, i tell her, this is a big accomplishment. yes, i guess it is, she replies, a touch contemplative.

we celebrate with her parents and her brother. her mother is sweet and old and strokes her daughter’s cheek as a. bites into a dumpling. i take a picture of her family in their md and phd cap and gowns, dad, brother, and a.

we leave for SF after dinner. we plan the night out exactly, and realize we have to start drinking as soon as we arrive at the hotel. by the time we meet the bf and his cousin at a bar, we are very happy and ask if we can go to a strip club. which ends up being the best strip club in the world, c-section scars, cellulite and all. a true immodesty. i watch the lights and the girls as they climb 20 ft poles, we go home. i fall asleep, 5 minutes later, a. wakes me up and tells me it’s 3 pm.

3. i get an email from a good friend who tells me his father passed away, unexpectedly a few weeks ago. he fell off a 30 foot ladder in his hangar and broke every bone in his body.

i don’t know what to say, but am saying many things in my head, to myself. all the unanswered questions, plume up before me. why did you leave and why weren’t you happy. i want to write to him about God but don’t know if he believes. i want to talk about survival after death, and how it’s release not a deeper dissatisfaction. what i end up writing him is faint and short but he writes me back right away cause he’s a good friend.

4. i fly to new york for the weekend. the boyfriend is the bestman at a wedding. i see the streets again of my brooklyn and stay with kitty in her new condo on montrose. i like staying with her cause she has fancy conditioner and is stocked full of creme de la mer. i don’t bother going to the bars that i used to frequent, and think of nathan only once or twice. i do not go north of 14th street; there lies a wasteland of my old life, the church, at the corner of which the doctor fell to his knees and said he’d rather die than not get want he wants. now he is happily married to a beautiful woman with two children and lives in ohio. time makes cowards of us all, thank god. rock center, nysc, toasties and a power walk to grand central, my work routine. a half-hearted proposal at the bowery hotel. tense cab rides across the brooklyn bridge with men i never saw again or saw too many times. the psych ward at weil-cornell on the west side, it was raining, where i checked jenny in for the first time.

on my last day, the boyfriend and i wake up and walk through chinatown. something i would have never done on my best day living in new york. but as a tourist, i am disallowed my pretensions. a mother turns a corner and holds out her hand, and calls out, “brooklyn, hurry!” pigtails fly. how strange that a child is named after a place that i spent my most formative, irrecoverable years. the light turns. the incarnation of my dangerous youth, my dearest self, runs across the street and away from me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.