Monthly Archives: August 2003

danny & sarah & snowballs one and two

at danny’s house in montclair. one hand on a shedding white cat named snowball one, one toe entertaining the other white cat, snowball two and one hand writing using one of sarah’s special pens. i left howell on foot, dragging a blue rolling suitcase through the heat of a mid-summer day. i walked on the shadier sides of the suburban streets naming former residents of homes with extra garages, patios, pools and decks. people i once went to school with, people that died. i picked up acorns and helicopter leaves. every song on tori amos’ scarlet’s walk cd mirrored my feelings making that trek to the bus stop thru my hometown.

“So strange
Now I’m finally in
The Party has begun
It’s not like I can’t
Feel you still
But strange
What I will leave behind
You call me one more time
But now I must be leaving”
~amos~’strange’

yesterday in passing the same streets by car with my mother, i grimaced at a deer roadkill, fresh blood oozing out of its mouth. it was on the sidewalk at a bend in the road. my afternoon walk to the bus stop today was in fear of having to pass that carcass. when i finally arrived there, only a dark red smear was left. i was thankful i didn’t have to see it, but angry and sad at howell for building all these new homes in unnecessary developments. “bad humans!” i said aloud as i passed yet another roadkill, this time a squirrel.

i arrived to the bus stop two minutes before the bus to nyc came. a man was there wearing an MTA uniform. he is a subway pilot… fascinating. he told me a story of a drunkard that he ran over. his legs were cut off. “did he live?!” i asked. “oh yes,” he said, “he lived to sue us.” the air conditioning was too high, as usual on the bus and reading my michael j. fox autobiography made me nauseous by the time we reached the turnpike.

“You again
It’s you again
I can’t see
I can’t see New York
From the other side
From the other side
I hum from the other side”
~amos~’i cant see ny’

i was not happy to be back in NYC. i wanted nothing more than to meet danny at his job and go back to montclair. it felt fast, ugly and dirty. i turned up the volume on the underworld cd to bruce lee and weaved my way to west 20th street where i surprised daniel garcia and then went to danny’s office at east 25th street. he was wearing a tie and looked more mature than i’d ever seen him. we talked as if we’d just left off somewhere the day before, as if we were commuter buddies. his wedding is around six weeks away. he’s cool as a cucumber. we took a path train to hoboken and then a NJ transit train to montclair. we walked thru a park to get to his house.

it was great to see sarah again. she’s so perfect for danny and so creative, cute and easy-going. i’m so glad danny’s marrying her!! she made zuccini, squash and mushrooms in red sauce with brown rice and tofu and these raspberry magic creations for dessert. we ate on their screened-in patio and watched home movies. we went on a walk in the dark and video taped each other dancing all silly.

“The way she paints the world –
I want that in my life
Emeralds, you should know,
Are renting in her meadow
With a stroke beauty lives”
~amos~’another girls paradise’

their roommate, chris, as always, drank makers mark whisky with dinner and watched old films. snowball two meows loudly, while snowball one meows without sound. two is asleep at my feet lying on his back with paws curled in like a bunny. soft guitar plays from chris’ room and danny&sarah’s door is closed. katydids and crickets fill up the trees out the window in a chorus interrupted by snowballs’ snoring. a sweet breeze comes in and i burrow content under blankets on the hammock.

“So I went by –
Cause I had the time,
And told the Northern Lights
To keep shining
They told me to tell you –
They’re waving”
~amos~’amber waves’

east coast

how many shores have i stood at? none as familiar as this. point pleasant, nj between the tiki bar and the mad ferris wheel. my best friend, jen, adjusting the volume on the CD walkman, listening to ocean blue. lying beside me with purple painted toes and a soft contented smile. i wrestle my shorts off quickly successfully hiding a poorly-manicured bikini line. jen’s toes tap, the morning sun rises higher over the sea. every shore is compared to this one in the way that every experience i have, leaps off from this place, where i grew up.

i feel lucky to revisit, to have the house still standing, to have the gift of travel. i touch homebase triumphantly, i, me, my home. i smell things, sift thru closets, touch things, pat them, and return them. more and more the energy of me and my sisters is leaving that house. with each visit home, we all take more with us as we leave. adrienne and renee did it more abruptly. diana and i more slowly. i like to leave things at the house. i always want to belong there…

“Sights and Sounds
Pull me back down
Another year
I WAS HERE
I WAS HERE
Whipping past
The reflecting pool
Me+you
Skipping school
And we make it up
As we go along
We make it up we
Go along
You said –
You raced from Langley –
Pulling me underneath
A Cherry Blossom
Canopy
– Do I Have –
Of course I have,
Beneath my raincoat,
I have your photographs.
And the sun on your
Face
I’m freezing that frame
And somewhere Alfie cries
And says “Enjoy his every smile
You can see in the dark
Through the eyes of Laura Mars”
How did it go so fast
You’ll say
As we are looking
Back
And then we’ll
Understand
We held gold dust
In our
Hands
Sights and Sounds
Pull me back down
Another year
I WAS HERE
I WAS HERE
Gaslights
Glow in the street
(flickering past)
Twilight held us
In her palm
As we walked along
And we make it up
As we go along
We make it up as we go along
Letting names
Hang in the
Air
What color hair
(auburn crimson)
Autumn knowingly
Stared
And the day that
She came
I’m freezing that
Frame
I’m freezing that frame
And somewhere Alfie
Smiles
And says “Enjoy her
Every cry
You can see in the
Dark
Through the eyes
Of Laura Mars”
How did it go so
Fast
You’ll say as we are looking back
And then we’ll understand
We held gold dust
In our
Hands”
~Tori Amos – Gold Dust

the flight from L.A. to Newark was sleepless and uncomfortable. i hadn’t slept the night before and was looking forward to some sleep on the red-eye across the country. i had a finicky couple next to me taking up space and i was cold. i watched people dreaming and thought of tsafi. the plane landed early and i woke up my mother to pick me up in Wall early. delerious with sleep deprivation, i boarded a shuttle to Wall. mom was there, alexis was the back seat. tears, hugs and miss you’s…and an announcement that we’d be driving into brooklyn to go see grandma mully, freddy and aunt dolly. “she’s getting old, you know.” we stopped off at ely’s bagels on the way and alexis held my hand crossing the street and she told me she missed me. we philosophized which cream cheese to buy.

grandma mully wasn’t expecting us. she opened the door and i was holding a bag of bagels. she was on the phone and acted a little less than happy to see us. “oh bunny” she said to mom. she looked sad, unwell, annoyed, thin. i felt happy to see her but a bit uncomfortable. while cigarette smoke filled the living room, i looked at photos in her bedroom. next to a crystal lamp were photos of her husband, ozzy, of her grandchildren and great grandchildren. she is a good person. i think she wants to leave us though. aunt dolly and freddy chain-smoked and asked about work and tsafi. freddy had heart surgery and took up smoking and drinking again. he was hospitalized last week for kidney stones. he dishonors his body and wonders why these things happen to him.

we left brooklyn in mad traffic which lasted all the way down route 9 in nj. i’d called jen and told her i’d be home in 15 minutes and that i’d call her when i got home. she’d driven that morning up from baltimore to her parents house around the corner. when mom dropped me off at dad’s house a half hour later she was sitting on the porch like a gift, like dozens of times before. my exhaustion left me. i fished out the key to the front door hauling my bags inside. i fell face first on the area rug in the foyer and smelled it. “home…” soon turned to “HOT…” as i realized dad had turned off the air conditioning as he was travelling in australia for the past 3 weeks. we set the air conditioner, grabbed water and a blanket and ran to the backyard under the trees to talk. her and her boyfriend are at a crossroads, possibly an ending. we talked for hours, vent vent vent, catching up. we went inside as golden hour set in. “am i aging?” i asked her. she assured me, “no,” she said i look physically stronger, my face is the same. we talked about when we used to eat cheese fries twice a day and still were skinny. she gave me an amy brown faerie tattoo. i bathed, she checked email and then we went out to eat at a vegetarian indian restaurant. i asked for a menu too soon and the waiter said “patience” with clasped hands. we both had the buffet. the papadan was so spicy hot that my head cleared in one quick moment. it was more jolting than any coffee. attempts to stop the flaming hot stinging on my tongue was futile until jen asked for this cooling cucumber sauce. instant relief. we gabbed away for hours there, the only patrons of the restaurant and retreated home to watch my wedding video. we opened and finished a bottle of dad’s sutter home red zinfandel and were asleep by 10:30pm. she slept in diana’s bed and i slept in adrienne’s bed. our doors were open so, in the dark, we talked more, finally falling asleep. i dreamt i had to pee and awoke in the same position i’d fallen asleep.

7am, prime time to continue jen-time. i peeked in and her open eyes shifted from the wall to mine. we made a plan to go to the beach. we arrived early and got great parking. the water was perfect, clear, and clean even. the sand was freshly raked. she inspired me to write a brian froud biography. we walked around antique stores in point pleasant, considering things we couldn’t afford. we went to a bookstore and i bought biographies of clara bow, joan crawford, and walden by whitman. we got lost in the backroads of our hometown and then she dropped me off. we hugged goodbye a dozen times, in varying degrees of need and then blew kisses as she drove away, first to her parents house around the corner and then to baltimore.

i bathed away the atlantic ocean and called sarah, anthony, and debbie. i have one night in NJ. anthony is on his way from an hour and a half away. debbie’s on her way back from a wedding in detroit and sarah’s MIA. i dragged some of my last belongings in the house out from their hiding safe places.3 boxes of the neccesities and a drawer of fragiles (that might have to wait til next time). the task? transporting them by plane to LA. the airline can’t guarantee that they’ll make the flight. boxes get given standby status; priority being given to suitcases. so… on with the repacking…

LAX AIRPORT

preparing to jump through the rabbit hole once again…back east, back home. i have a key to an empty house. my father is still in austrailia. i open my bag often to make sure it’s there. i throw a shawl over my goosebumps, the shawl my mother bought me when she was in spain. i have a beach bag as a carry on. it’s been years since i travelled this light. the invitation to cousin debra’s wedding on tuesday rests loosely on top, my small triangle of a make up bag, my teva sandals, all purpose, the soles worn from hiking mountains in austria, england & greece. i’m wearing the sneakers that i bought with danny and racer striped bell-bottomed pants, red, white, and black. matches my ‘i heart ny’ tshirt, bought right after the WTC madness. i haven’t slept for days now. tsafi and i have been playing hard. it’s great. he’s great. we rock. life is good. we are equals more and more lately. bouncing parallel, in the same linear time. we feel it, acknowledge it but know better than to hold it. it’s our leaping off point, the place of all comparisons.

wedding anniversary – 8 months

at a cafe, middle eastern flair. burgundy-swathed drapes separate dark wood geometric space. there are images of hookas on the menus, distorted artwork and L-shaped seating areas with many purple and beige pillows. i have my eye on a balcony seat when i outgrow this corner spot. for now, i’m content with sunset out the window. blinding reflections from the BMG building across the street, reminding me i’m unemployed. i wish i didn’t live near that building… it’s a constant reminder of where i used to work in nyc.
tsafi, too, is unemployed. the company wanted someone full-time and he needed four days off per month for his classes.

we’ve been aligning in new progressive ways, coming a long way daily from control issues and tone-of-voice escalations. re-working ground rules and changing how we speak to each other. it’s mutual, and therefore beautiful. with every complete day of consistant positivity, i am deeper in love. life is so much sweeter when things flow like this. i’ll do anything for this purity, this solid feeling.

last night he came home late from his cousin’s apartment. i awoke to him pushing the window tapestry aside and the nearly-full moon came spilling in. i was in mid-dream and drifting between the moon and other places. he was next to me staring lovingly but my eyes were involuntarily closing. i was about to enter dreamtime when i heard him whisper, “i feel so lucky to have you…. i love you…’ as if i wasn’t supposed to hear it. my smile propelled me awake. my skin was liquid with the hot august nighttime and he said he liked how it looked in moonlight. clear, unobstructed view, great wonder and need. primal love smiling, summer night. today is our 8th month wedding anniversary.

we made events today of playing wife and husband. i’ve been biologically nesting for months now. so much so that cleaning to the point of injury overtakes me and cannot be stopped. tsafi rounded up a recipe for eggplant parmesian, gathering ingredients and making culinary magick. he bought a fancy cheese grater even. i helped and after much mess was revered we enjoyed lunch together in our sparkling clean apartment. fact remaining that the eggplant was not ripe yet, despite our wishing it was. it had a bitter taste. an overload of garlic powder didn’t help either. he slept and i cleaned more. many neighbors played in the pool. a girl on a floating mattress, being handed a beer from her boyfriend from the edge of the pool. a middle-aged man with his mentally-challenged teenage son; uncomprehensible speech, but happy in his world.

i took a walk around town. my primary intention of changing $2 into quarters for laundry turned into an arts & crafts experience. i walked into a local art store with wild fishes in the window and into a craft wonderland. my wedding album project resurfaced. “do you have wedding albums?” i asked. and as if it was a happy secret, one of the two women guided me to cluttered corner. “do WE have wedding albums…” and i saw a brown and pewter one that she convinced me was potential genius. she showed me a baby book that she was working on for someone. it was brilliant and exactly what i wanted to do. i nearly forgot about my laundry quarters. i got absorbed in an embossing class being taught in the back. women making messes. love it! the two women probed me about my wedding. when i told them that i got married in israel, the older one greeted me in hebrew ‘ma neeshma?’ she said and the sisters, as i came to know them as, exchanged sentimental looks. there were all sorts of adornments to make a faerie proud, purple pressed flowers, every petal delicately flattened. i made a mental note, duties of future forest excursions, and thanked them for their inspiration. AND i remembered to get my quarters. i would arrive home and my sister called. she was picking up a pizza. she put me on hold to ask the guy for $2 change in quarters and i fell off the chair laughing in psychic wonderment.

in recent months i’ve become quite the wife. i’ve been reading lots on gender differences from all vantage points. i realize we are who we are… our genders, our cultures…these are not obstacles, not problems. they are simply who we are. i, woman, american, new yorker, my father’s daughter, all for the adventure, strongly every place, belonging to no place, as free-spiritness dictates. my chemical make up has a destiny. fighting it brings disconnect and my life phase is all about the connection, to myself, to this man, to my future. he, man, israeli, surfer, practical, as gender dictates, belonging to his strong happy foundation, concrete, love unfurled but waving low to his foundation. my existance melts in with who he is, long before the walk to the chuppah, long before i embraced him as he embraced me. he knew…. he came to fit me to his form so we may move as one spirit, a strange juxtaposition without expression of spirit. me, rebellious, tooth and nail, curious, doting, sentimental, retreating, snap to the grid of independence which i was born with and cultivated, succumbing to happiness, testing, proclaiming, preserving. he has none of this waivering. he loves me, period. this is my life lesson. when love rears up, be bold enough to BE love.

in love, there are many opportunities for dishonor. the emotions of women, the arrogance of men…all biology, all as is. it is not my place to dictate purpose. i must love him as he is and what he is is an amazing beauty of a man and he is growing to his own beat, securing his footing in his foreign america. i must enjoy this time, our constant awakening. “look where we are now?” my soul reminds me, peeling back a thin, not-too-distant layer of the struggle of years in israel, of the judgement, the harsh reality there, the confusion on all levels. peels back further, my boxed-in world in NYC, when i almost let him get away. when denying myself what was best, was habit. my soul leaked in all directions then, but in the process was fulfilled in a strange way. i lived textbook impulsive, mistaking the rush for happiness. it was simply delving into cores of places and people with such intense curiousity that, i, feline, counted 8 of 9 of my emotional lives. too much curiousity without borders and pollution. amazing, all of this… i’m in los angeles.

today tsafi said ‘san diego’ and i rolled it around on my tongue. ‘san diego.’ i said back, ‘sure!’ whereever he is, home is and i have no attachment to los angeles yet, as i still feel new here. we entertain ourselves with real estate website sometimes and our eyes widen at photos of properties for sale. “must have grass, a backyard.” my reoccurring dream of cooing with a newborn under a tree will become a reality. motherhood consumes 60% of my waking thoughts. all is in preparation for it. i have a prescription for pre-natal vitamins on the kitchen counter that i haven’t taken yet. i instigate sexual unsafety, ignoring reason. tsafi must first get passed his CPA test, as we talked about. he must get his licensure as a CPA in California first. the road is clear for it. he has not a care in the world but this test. i encourage him to stay home for these few months and study. the business english is killing him. the concepts are easy, he says. it’s the terminology that frustrates. he is not receptive to my idea of hiring a tutor. so i sneakily inquire to his school how to help him. they email me a glossary of english/hebrew accounting terms. he prints it out in book form, stapling it like it’s bound and takes it with us to our unemployment weekday beach excursion. each day we find ourselves at new shores. last week it was manhattan beach, where there were volleyball championships. hundreds of people seemed congregated there, blanketing the sidelines and the shore. each team had some gimmick. most memorable were the girls’ team with the electric blue sequin skirts. i still love electric blue…. two days ago we’d gone further south to huntington beach. we were very proud of our new beach umbrella, commenting all the time about it. we were safe under it, protected. i fell asleep on my stomach and awoke to sunburned calves.

mid-week, mid-day, at topanga beach in malibu. tsafi and i are both unemployed…and we’re…not too bothered by it either. i should be getting at least 2 job offers by friday and hope to choose one and be working by next week. tsafi, however, is in a bit of a crisis. he’s lost the calling of being an accountant it seems. he went through various stages of doubt yesterday after being fired from the moving company where he was a dispatcher. we stayed up past midnight talking. i fully support a change of career, i told him, but i’m trying to encourage him to stick with the accounting. it’s just the terminology, he says. he doubts his ability to pass the test. “worst case, you fail in november and retake it in april.” this is what he studied. this is everything his parents invest in, all those years of his studies. i’m trying to help him throught the doubt.

so we sit under our new blue and green beach umbrella; he, sitting cross-legged, law book in hand, struggling through words, and me on my stomach facing a rocky shoreline. i’d gone in search of treasures and when i came back, i was happy to see him studying. my tsafi just wouldn’t give up. on my treasure expedition, i made a garland of seaweed and found irredescent seashells. i strung the seaweed around the umbrella pole and presented some red rocks and other seashells as gifts to my determined man. he shifts and uses my butt as a table as he flips through pages and asks me what words like ‘breach’ and ‘consideration’ mean. the sun hits my elbow and i scoot closer to him, closer to shade. seagull feathers drift by, soft grey and white tips. there are palm trees growing from the sand. i follow the horizon with my eyes. surfers with long boards ride mediocre waves. they break close to shore, the sun beaming off their temporary crescents. cascading down in ancient formation. i pat tsafi’s leg. i believe in him. i know he can press on through this time. he says he doesn’t need encouragement. “oh sure you do, sweetie. everyone does.” i tell him. it’s the magick of belief that will propel him through.

my current life phase is partnerhood. i see it clearly. i learn so much daily. i thought it would feel…different though. i feel frustrated alot, satisfied other times, never lonely. but there’s huge cultural and communication issues. i’ve been learning that in order to have a better partner, one must BE a better partner. i’m in a cafe, it’s about to close, frank sinatra is on overhead, an old guy with a white fedora hat is spewing politics to the waitress trying to push him out the door. a homeless man is verbally attacking the tired guy behind the counter. i must find another cafe~