Following the lead of the good rabbi doktor, I present to you a piece previously written –


Odd Things About Smiling

I am in my bathroom at home, the one I share with my brother.  Before me, spread out like an altar, lies my sink and counter space.  The surfaces are white, and I think Formica, the type, which makes it so you can never quite clean off all the little beard hairs, which drives your latent OCD nuts.  Beneath the sink and beside the drawers is a small cabinet, one used to keeping things we no longer use.  In it, lie scattered, impractical cups from my childhood.  They have holes on the side and the bottom and a spout, and they all have faces.

I am in the bath, and I am six years old.  I do my best to palpate the shampoo into my improbable hair, and my father brings the cup to the side of the tub.  As soon as he fills the yellow cup with slightly-too-hot water, it descends in streams through the bottom holes of the vessel.  They continue to descend, in rivulets down my face, carrying away the lovingly applied shampoo from my head and hair.  The commercials tell you that it is ok to laugh and giggle and open your eyes wide to the miracle of cranial laundering.  But they lie.  Even when the “safe” shampoo gets in your eyes, it stings.  My father brings the green cup to the side of the tub, the one with a hole where his mouth should be.  As soon as it fills with water, the clear liquid flows in a constant, giving stream.  My eyes sting and tear, but I persist in smiling nonetheless, marveling at its pure gift.

Above the sink and counters and beside my memories is the mirror. Read the rest of this entry »

I am currently in the middle of a very confusing relationship.

The love and affection I receive from this person is constant and without fail. No matter how gloomy the weather or mood, no matter how shitty the day, this person is always able to offer me love. This person’s love is a beacon, pulsing in regular intervals throughout the night. This love calls out to drifting ships and low flying planes, to the city’s quick steppers and stragglers alike. This love is timed to the heart beat.

“I Love You! I Love You! Allelujah!”

The tall, skinny man shuffle-strides down Broadway, right hand raised, poised, holding a Book. His eyes face forward, unyielding. In many ways, this man embodies the opposite of How One Should Be in New York.

My small three bedroom apartment is off of Broadway, and I chance into this man, this erstwhile lover, with frequency. And when I do, I am struck by the most conflicted feelings imaginable.

At first, I am delighted by this selfless man, walking day in day out, proffering the love of his heart to each and every one of us, to complete strangers. What could he expect to receive in kind from us? Agape, altruism, pure love.

Immediately following a bite from this love bug, my heart makes a whiplash turn. The unceasing love call pounds into my ears like a drum. I want to shake him to make him stop! I want to do something nasty and demand love in return. He doesn’t know me! What sort of love is unqualified? What sort of love is untainted by circumstance? How can that be love at all? Who is he serving when he says he loves me?

Am I jealous that his love is not personal? Am I jealous that I have to share him with everyone else on Broadway?

I don’t think so.

I am angry at the Love Man. Love is not an idea; it’s not even an emotion. Love is a balm, a cool kiss on abraded skin. Love is whispered right into your ear; it tickles the cochlea and stirrup. Love is an arrow piercing your chest.

Love does not shout down the walls of your heart. Love is not one-size-fits-all.

One day, I want to stop this man in the street and ask him who I am, ask him what I need, ask him how I must be loved.