Saturday, February 15, 2014

Valentine's Day Weekend Prose Poem

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Love Sickness Healed

It started last weekend when I read Gary Shteyngart's reminiscence on
Falling in love with Becky (Scroll down) while reading *Tom Sawyer* at nine.
Flashed back and realized that I felt similarly moved...or maybe I fell in love with
Romantic love then. It was the literary version of the awakening I felt at 10 -- and
I've mentioned this here before -- when(ever) I heard Minnie Riperton sing, "Lovin' You".

Earlier this week, I read Karl Ove Knausgaard's "Come Together" in "The New Yorker" and
Identified with both the boy and the girl, but especially the boy, who was smitten with
The girl, but didn't know how to handle it gracefully. I identified with the girl because
I had been in hapless kissing situations with boys during bar mitzvah parties when we were
In middle school, where I felt I was supposed to count on the boy to know what he was doing.

Yesterday, a boy from my Modern Orthodox Jewish day school sent me email -- a boy with an
Identical twin brother, and whom I hadn't seen since I was 17, during my dad's funeral and
We didn't speak then, just mourned; we hadn't talked since we were 13, when we graduated and went off to different high schools. I called him and we had a warm conversation. I hung up,
Trying to remember which twin was the one who might have had a crush on me back then.
I felt sad. Wistful.

Why couldn't I have been heterosexual and have ended up with him, or my Israeli, male,
Childhood friend, or my high school/early-college boyfriend, or the new Lehigh alumnus I met
In New Rochelle at the Young Jewish Singles Dance the summer before my Junior year of college,
Or any of the men I met during my year in Jerusalem at 20? Why did I fall for Tom Sawyer's
Girlfriend? Why did "Lovin' You" feel like it was being sung to me? Why did I want to kiss my
Female day-school classmates more than my male ones?

Why couldn't I have been someone else? Isn't that what I'm asking? How ungrateful, if
Reasonably human-nature-ish. Suddenly, I feel the urge to find out which classic rock band
I am via a Buzzfeed quiz. (The Eagles.) And then I hear my beloved wife, laughing heartily
Downstairs. I'm drawn to learn more.

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