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a peaceful protest

I was 16, and the thought of being forced to mention God as part of the pledge of allegiance was too hypocritical an act for me to play along with. Each day of high school began with this mundane recitation, as most people just stood with their hand jutting from a hip, the other dangling across their chest as they counted out the seconds until they could sit back down. They leaned against desks, and talked through it about what party and where it would be, if there would be a keg or a bonfire in the woods. I recited the words, omitting the "under God" part as a sort of half-baked protest. I was raised to flaunt my family's ramshackle atheism, as a choice of smug pride. We knew better, was the prevailing logic.

But one day, I could not stand and say any of it. It felt so rote, so hollow, so devoid of choice. There was no law that said I was required to say it. I knew this was my right, a form of free speech. My homeroom teacher was a legendary drinker, a trash-talking re…

Time

There is nothing like buying a fabulous pair of shoes in New York, wearing them right out of the store and tearing up the sidewalk. Taking in the faces, weaving through clumps of tourists, chomping on an egg sandwich or maybe a steamed pork bun - it's exhilarating. Somehow your worries and troubles and obstacles seem to melt away - fading far in the distance. Maybe it starts to rain, maybe it starts to snow. These shoes are already yours, wrinkling in the right places, creasing your name into the new scratches on the toes.

I had a perfect coffee and cupcake at an old favorite - the Cupcake Cafe. An actress was talking in a loud voice to her director about very personal things. A student kept looking up from her laptop, as if we were all spying on her. This is one of those places that has survived, although it was across the street for a zillion years. I have had to stop feeling sorry about the places that are gone now. So many to remember that it makes my head swim. I decided it would be better to celebrate the ones that are still around, if only at a new address.

I ate lunch at Katz's the next day. An old couple chatted me up - turns out it was their first time.

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Back in Moscow, my office is freezing cold. Got to get them to turn the heat on. Jetlagged and fighting a cold, I walk the streets in those same new shoes. They already have miles on them.

Time to make chicken soup. Time to make E a new hat. Time to find an apartment.

Comments

The Expatresse said…
There's nothing like a fabulous pair of shoes.

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