I get scared, too. I never stopped. It doesn’t feel good. It, you know, it all feels like little waves of paranoia like hits from a cigarette. Just barely. Like little kisses to a cigar. Like the smoke sting in your eyes. Like that little heart-bump-bump-bump right afterward. I don’t know where it comes from. Hormones, I think. Chemicals flooding into your brain tissue, releases like that pop of air when you crack your knuckles. I cracked them so often a few of them stopped cracking all together. I quit smoking. It still doesn’t feel good. I still get scared. I still swallow whatever fear puffed up all the way to my pharynx. And then it floods back and soaks into my bones. I don’t know where the fear goes after that, after my little heart-bump-bump-bump. It has to go somewhere. I don’t know where it comes from. I don’t know where it goes.
Posted in Vignette
The saleswoman could glare at me all she wants. She was an angry S. They didn’t have my size, I checked. I wasn’t some lunatic pawing through all the sweaters like I was going to find lost treasure or my next meal. I just wanted an M. I used to be an S but now I was an M. And the done-up hanger with the whole coordinated ensemble was all Ms. I removed the sweater carefully and draped it over my shoulders. I used to be an S, but not the angry sort. The impatient sort, maybe. But I was hungrier. I wanted things desperately and that desperation was calorie reducing, or visa-versa. The saleswoman wasn’t so much of a saleswoman as a sales girl. I could have given birth to her, and I don’t just mean because I’m a size M, maybe a size L when it came to the skirts and dresses. I didn’t try on any of those, though. I bought a baggie sweater and a necklace and went home cranky. I still ate too much for dinner. Later, after I showered, I realized I never took the sweater out of my bag. That’s not like me. Usually, I lay out my new purchases on the bed and try everything on at once. I guess I wasn’t wild about the sweater. It’s hard to be wild about anything M when all you can think about is how much happier you think you were when you were an S.
The heatwave lifted and that was it. That was summer, hope you liked it, because now it’s over and that dull chill that spreads up your legs is back. The evening is gone too, replaced with the night, replaced with the rustle of crispy leaves and the pounds of thick-heeled boots on the sidewalk. The heat wave was here but now it’s gone, sooner and faster than you knew you wanted. The leaves are full of second thoughts, if you want them. You’re lucky they’re in season, just like sweaters and gently finged scarves. After the heatwave, the leaves get their moment. It fades fast, even faster than you’d think. And then you know what. Then the sky gets split in half. There are no more leaves. There are no second chances.
We’re back from Montauk. It was different in the summer. For starters, all the shops and restaurants are open. That’s encouraging. You can stroll along the beach barefoot. You can even go in the ocean. It’s expected. The motels tell you not to bring the towels to the ocean. Not that it matters. Those towels feel like sandpaper and the toilet paper is so thin you need half the roll to wipe. The pool tastes salty. The locals avoid the main drag and drive too quickly down the back roads. They don’t tell you how long the wait is at the pancake house and when you finally sit down and order coffee you realize it’s almost been an hour but you don’t care because the cheese omelet and blueberry short stack are so good. You can take a paddle boat on the pond. You can kill a bottle of Johnny Walker black label and wade into the Atlantic. The sand is rockier than you thought it would be. The water should be warmer. Your stomach should be flatter. But now, look at us, projecting. It’s August, not January. You can do whatever you want.
I should have introduced him to my grandparents.
Of course! Adorable relics of Jewish New York, my Grandma and Papa are favorites among my friends. They love afternoon cocktails, gossip, and their grandchildren. They gamble with loose change in weekly canasta games. They sit by the pool with their senior friends who skipped Florida this summer. And, like most grandparents, they adore bragging about their family to anyone who will listen.
[from my pseudonymous column at The Gloss]
Apologies are for Christians and Jews without backbones.
I’m sorry if I’m offending anyone.
“Are you just arguing with me,” he asked, eyebrows raised like a puppets, “for the sake of arguing?”
It was true. I wasn’t arguing to be difficult. How do you explain to someone the difference between being difficult and being self-righteous? What was I supposed to say, anyway? That I was arguing because I was correct and he was moronic?
“Are you sure?”
“You can’t accomplish anything by being combative,” he said.
“I know,” I responded. That was entirely my point.