Bad Empathy?



Last April at breakfast the tears began. I didn’t know why I was crying or what had started it, but I felt a weight, not heavy, holding me down like the casting sinker on a fishing rod.  I went on eating my Raisin Bran. Maybe this was a fleeting form of depression: no symptoms, just tears.  Eventually  breakfast ended and the tears stopped.  I had a friend, S, who cried regularly, though mostly about herself, and she was diagnosed as bi-polar. About me there wasn’t much, or at least nothing new to cry about.  I was on oral chemotherapy then, a pill a day, which wasn’t a hardship in itself though the side effects were extravagant, especially the spontaneous bleeding of the feet.  This happened during a gay wedding ceremony on a high dune overlooking Provincetown in Cape Cod when blood began seeping out from between my toes onto my sandals.  I stared down at them and thought, Jesus Christ!  Then I crossed my ankles and hid my feet under the chair.

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When I visited her in that place where the door was always ajar, she would be waiting in the chair at the far end until I came up with my kiss and chocolates.  She grabbed them first, quickly unwrapped a truffle and popped it into her mouth.  Her cheeks filled like a squirrel’s.  She lifted her chin to indicate the door and the life beyond it.  “They leave it open,” she explained, “because they have to drop the dead bodies in here.” Continue reading “LISA”

Late Lunch



He was waiting outside, blue cap perched on his head, the more to light up his bonny blue eyes. We kissed and walked in, on this warm February afternoon on the Upper West Side for a celebratory lunch in a French bistro, perfect for us.

He is my other Michael, not the Michael I am married to, also not the Michael I’ve known for over 50 years, with whom I shared a flat in London in the early 1960’s and who now lives a block away from me, past the cheese store, left at the Japanese restaurant. There are many Michaels in my life, so many that Michael has nearly become a synonym for “man.”  I used to joke that this made it easy to stay out of trouble, though usually Michael means my husband, the man I married on a cold November Saturday in my parents’ 350-year old house on Long Island, and with whom I have spent more days of my life than with any other person, living or dead.  But Monday’s Michael, fair of face, is my boyfriend.

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Welcome to my blog



Waiting for the blizzard that would deposit 30 inches of snow on New York City, I said to Michael, “Aren’t we lucky?”

He looked up at me with his wise owl face – he’s 88, but still handsome, the strong cheekbones and wrinkle-repellent skin.   “In what way?” he asked.

“That we can be dying together.  That we don’t have to do it on our own.”

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