Wednesday, October 28, 2020

A Special Occasion

We’re almost at the pizza place when we see the two older people, a man and a woman, bidding each other farewell on the sidewalk. 

“Well, let’s hope it’s not so long until next time,” he says, giving her a gentle fist bump.

“Oh, you’re gonna make me cry,” she replies, hand to her chest.

“Hey, that’s why I had the sambuca with the coffee beans - it was a special occasion,” he says.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

New Normal

 I drop off the truck at U-Haul after an exhausting day, only to realize that I left home without a mask.

It’s early Tuesday evening in Brooklyn, so the streets aren’t too too filled, but I find myself checking a full block ahead to see if anyone is approaching, walking out into the street to give folks plenty of space, and just generally feeling deeply uncomfortable.

I don’t know how people do it, walking around with their whole face hanging out like its normal. When I finally got home I was so relieved. 


Loading the truck full of Katie’s art and displays takes several trips, and on one of them I come down to find a gentleman parking his bike in front of our apartment building. He takes off his helmet to reveal curly brown hair and a long face, partially concealed behind a mask.

He pulls a paper bag out of his backpack, then leans down and unties a garbage bag sitting on the curb, which, it turns out, is full of what appear to be day-old bagels from the bagel shop next door.

He carefully goes through the bag as I continue to load the truck, pulling out ones he likes the look of and throwing the rest back in, until his paper bag is full, and he and I do not speak the entire time, even though I pass him more than once, because I figure he’s doing nothing wrong, so why make a fuss?

Monday, October 26, 2020

Sometimes You Can Just Tell

We step out of the apartment into the overcast fall day, Katie in her new, brightly hued sweater dress and leather jacket and me in a hooded t-shirt and army green button down, fresh-faced and ready to go vote and the first thing I hear is two young women eating under the tent for the bagel place next door, discussing politics.

“Like, don’t act like you’re all virtuous just because you’re voting and I’m not...,” one says to the other in this nasal, aggrieved tone before I pass out of earshot.

“Man, I hated everything about that conversation,” I tell Katie.

“Oh yeah, even though I couldn’t hear what they said,” she agrees.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

To Make Himself Smile

He stands up after finishing his lunch to go back to work. At other tables in the lunch room, people are chatting, watching videos on their phones, eating, one guy is clearly asleep, with his head under his arm to shade his eyes from the fluorescent lights. 

As he leaves, he shoots his trash into the garbage can with an unfancy fade away shot, nothing but net, no one saw but me. “Kobe,” he says softly to himself, and heads out with a small smile.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Arriving At Home

I sit at the dinner table - in front of me, an empty plate that previously held a grilled cheese sandwich, and a bowl that had held vegetable soup. Across from me sits my wife, thumbing through her phone, a smaller empty plate in front of her.

I take a sip of wine, red and full-bodied and delicious, and a tension I wasn’t aware I had been carrying around in my shoulders and chest relaxes. I take a deep breath, and smile.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Just a Normal Conversation With A Customer

“It reminds me of a line from the Gospel of Thomas,” I tell the woman I am helping find shoes (after a long discussion of her work as a therapist and counselor) as she takes off the too tight Ugg slippers. “‘If you bring forth what is within in, what you bring forth will save you, but if you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.’”

This seems to excite the psychologist side of her. “I would add to that,” she says, “that if you bring forth and name what is within you, it will save you."