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Five Very Short Stories

Before My Piano Lesson Cat Woman, pale and severe, was systematic: first the older daughter; then the little one. She spit in her hankie and rubbed their faces. The girls were compliant. Walking up the stairs for my lesson, I’d pray that Cat Woman would just read her magazine this week. I’d take out my [...]

Read Herring

It was a hopeful sign of family Sunday mornings to come: mornings filled with stinky fish and family love.

A Good Bear

Of course it’s the favorite stuffed animal that takes the most journeys and therefore increases the odds of disappearance. And face it, how long will a kid cry when she loses the toy she didn’t really care about? I don’t think my four year old lost the bear. And while I tend to misplace things, I always find them. The disappearance of Yellow Bear still mystifies me. Yes, I blame myself.

What Is Chanukah All About?

And this, this little potato, really this is the secret of Chanukah. How the perfectly ordinary, so common among us, shines with greatness in the lights of hope, happiness, family, food and song.

Where’s the Bitch?

She could close every comment, every argument. Last words were her specialty: last words and stage whispers. She could keep a list a mile long. She could drink scotch and laugh with the men. And with the Bitch, I was funny and glib. With her, I had a context, a ‘tude, a style. With the Bitch boa wrapped around my shoulders, nothing could hurt me. My stride was, sexy, witty, and impermeable.

Alone

In unconnected hours face-to-face, drenched in the ice-water of failed intimacy, I met loneliness–a very different thing from alone-ness. That loneliness withered my strong right-side under worm-eaten embraces, preoccupied hearts, and habitual sex.

Multiplication

Adults have different problems with multiplication. For example, divorce times backstabbing times sick child, times crazy boss, times stopped-up toilet equals chest-pounding tremors. Nobody prepares you for this kind of multiplication. When you lose the numbers you lose all kinds of certainty.

Peanut Butter Neglect

First, the sandwich bag was all wrong. It could be any plastic bag that found its way into the house, usually cradling my Dad’s stiff shirt or the Tribune. These bags were huge, unwieldy and, by the time they reached the cafeteria, sticky inside and out. The sandwich didn’t float out— often the bag would have to be removed from the sandwich.

Ice Cream Musings

From an early age, I gave my daughter expert coaching in ice-cream cone management. I knew iced cream would be an important part of her future, so I approached this as a valuable skill to be handed down and practiced. You circle the cone, working the meeting of cone and ice cream…

Chicago Cello

I’m barely taller than my half-sized cello. School lessons and orchestra begin in a week. It’s not so heavy, really, but it’s kind of hard to carry, especially since I live at the end of the school boundary. I walk it a mile to school and then back again. When the wind blows a lot I have to stop walking and throw my weight over the top to hold it down.