Archive for the ‘Kind of true’ Category

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The wasp

April 5, 2017

At the bottom of the hill, a wasp skittered across my windshield. In the carseat over my shoulder, my son muttered about a train, but his voice slowed as the legs of the wasp touched glass, one foot, then another, then another. Its stinger undulated as it crossed from right to left, and I held my breath though I knew all my windows were rolled up tightly.

The wasp bounced off my driver’s side window, then careened off into the world, where it might threaten someone, or it might not. Inside the car, we remained safe, privileged, behind glass.

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Less blessing, more mask

March 30, 2017

Spring arrived with such powerful perfume I could barely stand to be outside. On my pre-dawn morning walk, it felt as if the world had exploded in blossom, pollen dust shimmering in the glow of the streetlights.

Despite allergies, I tried to breath as deeply as I could, savoring the season’s brevity and beauty, but then I thought about the divisions rotting the nation, the stench of misused power, the long march we’re taking through brimstone, and suddenly it seemed as if the perfume was less blessing and more mask, covering up the odor of politics gone wrong.

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Dopamine

March 27, 2017

We need you to take this call, Mr. President, they said, but he could hear the tour approaching, the drone of the guide, children’s voices, the thump of feet.

I just want to say hello, he said, and he ducked out, off to welcome the people to the White House, off to tell them how great he was making America, even as he walked away from the work at hand. Governing had never been satisfying, and he wanted to return to the work of glad-handing, of getting that dopamine hit delivered by smiling faces, by clapping, by cheers.

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Cherry blossoms

March 26, 2017

When I arrived, the blossoms were weak. The cherry blossoms are a racket, I said to a colleague. Every year, crazy weather takes them out.

But two days before my departure, I was riding down the hotel elevator, and the woman sharing the ride said, The cherry blossoms popped today!

Outside, I confirmed her report. The trees had transformed from scrubby to magical, the blossoms exploding in the spring sun. While I wasn’t paying attention, the world was changing around me, becoming more beautiful despite my cynical expectation.

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Navigational cues

March 25, 2017

Inside the restaurant, I found myself taking wrong turns, standing in awkward places, fumbling with my phone as I tried to find my friends.

Where are you? I messaged. I told them I needed to go to the back bar, and they sent me somewhere I don’t recognize.

This is how it is in a city that my heart clasps tightly, but my memory clasps loosely. Each building tells me a story, but I have lost all my navigational cues in this new era.

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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.