Archive for the ‘Kind of true’ Category

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Late night disconnect

March 21, 2017

Does she want another round? asked the bartender to the couple in their 60s, gesturing at the seat the wife had abandoned. Do you?

Sure, said the husband. And she probably does, too. She just went out to smoke.

The wife returned before her round appeared, and the two watched the TV play footage from so many years ago. They drank their drinks. They exchanged no words for a long time as the towers burned.

Tell me again why we should let them into the country? growled the wife.

They shook their heads. They left the bar.

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City of memory

March 20, 2017

I have been imagining the walks I’ll take when I return to my hometown. I imagine wandering down Connecticut Avenue, around Roosevelt Island. I have been visualizing the approach to National. I have checked to make sure a few favorite restaurants are still open.

Nothing has changed, a friend says. People still have to get up and go to work.

But I know I’m conjuring a memory, flimsy and slippery.

It’s Trump Country now, my husband says, and I sigh, knowing that the city I’ll recognize on the surface has been marred by darkly-cast stones.

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A compassionate delivery

March 17, 2017

My grandmother’s family escaped the Great Famine for the hard land at the edge of the St. Lawrence. Not long before she died, I visited her, and she sent me off to get my own dinner. She wanted to be there to receive the man from town who delivered her Meals on Wheels three days a week. They shared stories of the Ice Storm, of families, of their days. He nourished her with company, then left her to eat, to tuck away leftovers for the next day. She may not always have been full, but she was never hungry.

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Never run in a straight line

March 13, 2017

If someone’s shooting at you, said the instructor, run diagonally back and forth. Never run in a straight line.

I envisioned this happening in a parking lot, someone firing calm and straight, me dashing and pivoting, dashing and pivoting, running toward life itself.

It is only now I see how this works in politics, how running on the diagonal means the weapons fired by the opposition, the watchdogs, the media are rendered inert. I watch the back-and-forth dash. First this way, then that way. First this excuse, then that.

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Fog, lifting

March 10, 2017

As I approached the bridge, I realized it was completely fogged in, the tollbooth at its base emerging from the mist like a lit ghost. But the sun rose over my left shoulder, and as I crossed the Bay, the fog began to burn off, so subtly it was hard to see it happening, but there was a glimpse of the water, and there was the lower half of a transmission tower, and there the upward arc of the bridge itself, the sun rising, the fog lifting, the road ahead emerging just in time for me to arrive.

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Helicopters at night

March 9, 2017

Day turned to night. Protestors still walked the street. The helicopters circled over downtown after dark, the thrum loud enough to require elevated conversation as we walked along the sidewalk two miles away. What’s that? asked my son.

He peered up into the dark toward the light, bright as Venus, hovering in the distance. <i>Why?</i> he asked, and I did not know where to begin, how to explain the eyes in the sky, how to explain the thin line between protection and engagement.

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Detours

March 3, 2017

I escaped traffic to a side street, and passed a man with a python draped around his neck. With his left hand, he held the snake’s undulating head away from him. Two open-mouthed children stood a few feet away, and a woman in a tight top backed toward the snake, angling her phone for the selfie.

For so long, so many of us drove main roads, comfortable with the usual scenery. We forgot different things were happening just blocks away. But these are days of detours, and we have no choice to see what we were missing all along.