In a college dorm, in a prison, in a marriage
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Before Cat and I became a couple, before we even knew each other, we were a team: knocking on strangers’ doors to bring them Barack Obama’s tidings of hope. Everyone in Brooklyn was already voting for him anyway, so they just cheered us on and thanked us for our service. There was a precoital vibe, a tingling anticipation of victory.
They’d made it through all the Michaels, Carrie and Dan believed. They’d made it through Michael J. Fox’s comeback and Michael Vick’s arrest and Michael Douglas’s cancer, made it through the terrible summer when Michael Phelps won all those gold medals in swimming, and then the next terrible summer when Michael Jackson died on every channel for days and days.
On the day my mom got her last chemo treatment, I fished from the dike of the Intake Reservoir. I wasn’t supposed to be fishing. I was supposed to be delivering the Hawthorne Pennysaver. My summer job was to place a crisp Pennysaver at each of the 465 doorways of the Pleasant Pines Apartments once a week, but I hadn’t done that for months.
Red patent leather shoes, the Y2K bug, the Gestapo
Catching fireflies, caring for a newborn calf, hearing a slamming door for the first time
Normally I wouldn’t have found them, because I am an exceptionally lazy housekeeper. Or maybe I’m not so much lazy as inept. I discovered in my teens that if you didn’t know how to do housework, you wouldn’t have to do it, and now that I’m living on my own and have to do it, I don’t know how. Anyway, one summer morning I had the day off. I woke up, saw my messy flat as if for the first time, and got a shock.
When I told Thomas about my experience — “transcendental,” I called it — he was skeptical. I had only been studying yoga for three weeks. Thomas, on the other hand, had been practicing yoga and meditation for eight years. In all that time he hadn’t felt anything even close to what I was describing.
Herb had finally hit the jackpot in the herring-roe fishery and decided that, with the girls gone, I might enjoy some creature comforts to take the edge off being alone in the cabin so much. Unfortunately I had already come to the same conclusion, and one of the comforts I’d treated myself to was named Jimmy.