Tuesday, February 28, 2006

28/365 Lois

As big as the teacher when I started ballet at eight, by eleven, I towered over her. Imagine me en pointe. At the barre, she’d correct our positions, cigarette in hand, her voice already a bit gravely. Her advice to me: Lose some weight.

Monday, February 27, 2006

27/365 Dan’l

After he loaned me Gallagher’s Grail Bird, I sent him Obmascik’s Big Year. We lost ourselves in these bird-nerd page-turners and wished that those twin powers, Time and Money, would favor us with travel, then surround us with flighted beings both common and rare.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

26/365 Mim

Mim doesn’t approve of homosexuality but tolerates it as a random consequence of reincarnation. She believes that every soul has a sex and seeks its opposite. If yours is female, you will always be attracted to men, no matter what body you’re born into.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

25/365 Tom

Tom, a man of groomed perfection and even higher standards, listens to the young, beautiful receptionist recite her evening plans. In his decade-older wisdom, he confides, “Someday, you’ll be walking through Georgetown. Suddenly you’ll realize, ‘I don’t belong here.’ And you’ll never go back.”

Friday, February 24, 2006

24/365 Ed

Pssst! See that thin blue cord clipped to Ed’s shirt? There’s a marmoset on the other end. No, really! It’s IN his shirt! They’re heat-seekers, for crying out loud. I’m not making this up. Stay long enough, you’ll see the monkey on his back.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

23/365 Stephen

Each member of Stephen’s family of origin is so nice and they seem to like each other so much, it belies what one generally believes about humanity. When I broach this, Stephen assures me that regularly, as a group, they ritually sacrifice small animals.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

22/365 Donna

Even now, I can’t believe you gave detention to an eighteen-year-old for cutting study hall to walk to Hoffmann’s for coconut chocolate-chip ice cream when the seventeen-year-old male co-conspirator—who cut an actual class but had a male vice principal—got a freakin’ warning.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

21/365 Jack

When asked where he went during his wife’s all-chick mail-art party at home, Jack says, “I went to the gym. Then I went to a bar.” I find those sequential utterances endearing, honest, admirable, and hilarious. But are they also my current life’s CliffsNotes?

Monday, February 20, 2006

20/365 Aimee

is talking about her father. My astrologer friend asks, Gemini or Cancer? Aimee confirms Gemini, June 18th. My father’s birthday. “When is your mother’s?” I ask, but I already know she will answer February 20th, my mother’s. Her own is the day after mine.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

19/365 Brennan

You arrive at court in your navy blue suit, approach the bench, and suddenly, finally, you are the legal child of Judi and Frank, whom you’ve spent half your short life with, who want to give you everything and today give you their name.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

18/365 Barry

Years after deer-spotting campers may or may not have seen two counselors taking a nighttime skinny-dip, we meet, mostly intact, you minus two fingers lost to a saw. You’d restrung the guitar, tried fingering the frets right-handed, given up. Even I felt that loss.

Friday, February 17, 2006

17/365 Wayne

He runs: alone, with others, short jaunts, marathons, through cities, forests, and deserts. Many will tell you he is a leader, that he draws others to him with his quiet respect. But I tell you this: He has the sexiest feet I’ve ever seen.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

16/365 Another Susan

Her adult-blossoming years spent on other continents, she remains a traveler who needs to live there, find monthlong rentals in Ireland or France. An untamed joy is always springing forth from her, even in a whine. Maybe it’s that Irish passport she grandfathered into.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

15/365 Sue

Before Sue, had I ever felt such joy at table? She expertly midwifes love through food, wine, and those she brings together for the feast. From the moment we sit down, we are family at home. Thou preparest a table . . . my cup runneth over.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

14/365 Bill

He forever fights the fight against hunger around the world and AIDS in Africa, but tonight food and sex are celebrated in his hot and spicy puttanesca sauce, stirred ever so lovingly and poured over the steaming, waiting pasta of his fortunate American friends.

Monday, February 13, 2006

13/365 Ramberto

His daily noon backgammon game is strewn with crumbs and bilingual expletives, opponent abuse being part of the strategy. His mother’s flan is a poem, and he is our supplier. He glides on a dance floor—if I were Dominican, would my hips be free?

Sunday, February 12, 2006

12/365 Lisa

Though we shared the first-joint rite one summer night in her family camper, she soon left me for the world of coupledom—the boyfriend a full-time gig, the couples doing couple things in couples of couples. High school is lonely. One does what one must.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

11/365 Sally

A don’t-fuck-with-me school-bus driver by day, she seemed the perfect buddymom by night: hanging with Cheryl and me for Midnight Special or SNL, but always knowing when to leave. She’d say “Shit, piss, and corruption!” in front me. I loved her for it.

Friday, February 10, 2006

10/365 Don Juan

He can’t help what he is at his core: a lover of women. He offers me kissing lessons after school. I am still idealistic enough to desire meaning, but hey, I need the lessons. So I take them. I take them and I run.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

9/365 Susan

She seems unsurprised that I would return from Mexico armed with a rumor about her. “Where were you, Cabo?” she asks. “Probably something written on a wall somewhere.” Is there a place on the planet this woman hasn’t lived? The tattoo did not disappoint.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

8/365 Lori-Ann

So, I’m in Baja, right? I meet this fishing guide, and it turns out she knows my neighbor from their days in Driggs. And she tells me about this tattoo my friend has, an elaborate serpentine world. I can hardly wait to get home.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

7/365 Wendy

She can throw pizza dough far above her head. She teaches me bread plate left, drinking glass right—just make the letters b and d with your hands, and look. She was once my sister’s friend. She marries a Moroccan and disappears into the sunset.

Monday, February 06, 2006

6/365 Duke

His home becomes happy hour. On the stone porch by the river, champagne flows freely, and sometimes Chimay. Extroverts hold forth while introverts push and chip through their shells. His eyes sparkle. When he opens his mouth, his wit is as dry as brut.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

5/365 Steve

At church he tells me, “You have a zit.” Does he somehow believe a teenage girl does not know this about herself? At one point, I thought I liked him, but really, there was no one left to like. It was just his turn.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

4/365 Kim

No one escaped loving her. One night, bunk to bunk, she reached for my hand. It scared me that I might want to kiss her. I attended her two weddings: one to a man, one to a woman. She left both him and her.

Friday, February 03, 2006

3/365 Lee

Lee is a musician, an actor, a professor. He makes a mean shrimp scampi. In four months, he will marry an ex-nun he met online. He tells me: “If this is what nine years of celibacy does for a person, I’m all for it.”

Thursday, February 02, 2006

2/365 Dana and Chris

On a stuck subway, they play “Who would you do?” and “Who would you eat?” They keep signed statements in their wallets granting the survivor permission—in extreme circumstances—to eat the dead one. A wall-sized reproduction of a reclining [male] wallaby graces their living room.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

1/365 Erma

Born the year of Archduke Ferdinand’s demise, Erma was my teacher, mentor, friend. I nearly worshipped her. But when she discovered that my father was canvassing for McGovern, she scowled and said “I thought he was smarter than that.” It was never the same.