“Tom, you have cancer.”
Some words change your life forever. These four put a knot in my stomach that didn’t go away for years.
It is 9 a.m. on a hot Bronx summer morning. I stand behind a thick glass entry door in my apartment building. On the other side of this door, eight brick steps lead up to the street. Alone in the hallway, I silently wait for the camp bus to arrive.
“If no one has bodies or faces in heaven, and we’re just energy, how will we recognize each other?”
Peace, At Last
As some friends and I stood in a circle in my living room, saying goodbye to a man who profoundly touched our lives, I felt a strong wave of old emotion well up. I was his first girlfriend, and it seemed right that this final ceremony should end with me.
A truly remarkable thing just happened to me: I got back in touch with someone whom I’ve been almost constantly thinking about since I was 11 years old!
“This lump on the right side of your throat is probably nothing,” said my primary care physician. “Most of these nodes are benign. Let’s do an ultrasound, just to be sure.”
What did this chubby Bronx Jew know about a 12-year-old Latin lover? The first day José arrived from the Dominican Republic, he set his eyes on me.
On July 4, 2001, I was sitting in my friend Dick Nathan’s San Francisco living room with a number of our musical friends, jamming and having fun — what we call “playing in the sandbox.”
The Fire Kiss
When I was a little girl, I remember crawling into my father’s outstretched arms, snuggling in as far as I could go, and planting a ticklish “fire kiss” right in the crook of his neck.
It’s very hard to walk the half-mile home from school with my knees jammed together.
Step by step, I inch down the street, trying to breathe normally and not hyperventilate.
In a Word: Backpocket Crosswords
I stood before the audience at Jigsaw Java in Redwood City and asked, “Can anyone give me an eight-letter word?”
“You mean any eight-letter word?”
“Yes. Just pick one — out of the air.”
In my twenties, I loved Bennett.
I never knew what to expect on those Sunday trips to Manhattan. I had no choice — another day with Warren! Riding in the back seat of our family car, getting closer and closer, my mind would race: What will he do to me today?
Walking to school one day in 1968, my boyfriend whirled Lynn around on her heels. Before he realized it, he had kissed her.