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secret windows (don't look back)

I found myself in a conversation with an old friend, about the crossroads of writing, nostalgia and memory. "Distance and perspective are the upside." I said. "The slippery slope is romanticizing and being nostalgic. Well, that's the memory trap no matter who you are."
"It's funny... I spent most of my life thinking that I had a rather dull adolescence, and it's only recently that I've discovered that these stories are a lot more interesting than I gave them credit." My friend replied. I admitted that I gravitate towards stories that are based on a mistake, a lie - thinking you had some great childhood, when actually it was a shitshow, and you fantasized about being adopted but sort of blocked that out.  


The question wobbled around inside my head for a few days. Was I too fast to judge nostalgia, to quick to brush aside its sweetness, stepping over it towards something invariably darker and sadder?  On Sunday, I was walking on Kutuzovsky,…

close to Garfield, off of Prospect Park

E is asking me a lot of questions these days, like what is inside the moon. Walking home from school, clutching my hand as she slips on the ice every few meters we discuss astrology, chemistry and the ingredients for tiramisu. She likes to ask me what I was like when I was four, or five or seven.

My brother and I had a babysitter named Adrianne, a student of my father's from one of his drawing classes. She had long, straight dark hair and a magnificent nose in the center of her face, as I liked to think of it. Adrianne smelled of lemons, and fresh soap. She knew how to make the best shake-n-bake chicken, and her brother wore giant bellbottom sailor pants, with about a million buttons on them. We played a lot with wooden toys and marbles.

She turned the living room into a great white cloth-draped fortress with us one long afternoon, and we watched Yellow Submarine in the soft light inside it, on the tiny TV in the corner.

We left Brooklyn when I was five. On our last afternoon together she brought us to a wet piece of sidewalk. We forced our hands into the fresh cement, then scrawling our initials with a bottle cap. In my imagination, this tiny artifact still exists, somewhere close to Garfield, off of Prospect Park.

When I told this to E, she stopped in the street, her breath forming wet clouds around her. She stared at me, fiercely.

"It's still there, Pop." She said.

She rested her mittened hand on my shoulder.
She nodded once.
I nodded back.
She let out a deep breath.

Later, we made tiramisu.


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