On work bitch
Another morning, I heard my parents up early in the bathroom, my dad shaving getting ready to leave for school.
"Look," he sighed in a loud whisper. "I really can’t say that I’ll never leave you and the kids or that I’ll never make love to another woman—"
"Why not?" asked my mother. "Why can’t you say that?" Even her anger was gentle, ingenuous.
"Because I don’t feel that way."
"But… can’t you just say it anyway?"
At this point I like to imagine that my parents met each other’s gaze in the medicine cabinet mirror, suddenly grinning. But later in the hospital bed, holding my hand and touching each of my nails slowly with her index finger, my mother said to me, “Your father. He was in a dance. And he just couldn’t dance.” Earlier that year she had written me: “That is what is wrong with cold people. Not that they have ice in their souls—we all have a bit of that—but that they insist their every word and deed mirror that ice. They never learn the beauty or value of gesture. The emotional necessity. For them, it is all honesty before kindness, truth before art. Love is art, not truth. It’s like painting scenery.””