Wednesday, October 31, 2012

How it Was Done

Back in the day, I used to go trick or treating in the complex of apartments in Philadelphia where we lived between 2nd and 6th grade: four buildings, 20 floors each, 10 apartments on each floor. We did not mess around. We came to collect. We did not even take the elevator. That's just how serious we were. We wore what we always wore: hippie, house-painter, bum, witch, or a combo of two. Nothing fancy, nothing that could impede our collections. One year I wore my regular Sunday dress with a big rubber skeleton mask and I was sweating so much I started seeing stars. My brother Pete was so hopped up and jittery, he left me in the stairwell to cool off on my own. I don't remember if we ever said Trick or Treat or Thank you, but all interaction was kept to a minimum. No eye contact. No conversation. If Mrs. Gottlieb started asking you about school or how your mother was and you didn't just duck your head or turn on your heel, you got left. Ties were cut, we no longer knew you, you got left. Period.

We used pillowcases. Bags could rip and did not hold as much. By the time we came home they were full. Pete dumped his on the floor to have a look at his treasure. His eyes would get wide and he could never quite believe his good fortune. I would just walk back to my room and tuck it in the way back of my closet. A full pillow case.  No one ever inspected back then. If there were razor blades, battery-acid soaked chocolate, no one cared. It was all part of it. The main thing was: we did it. Probably not the full 800 apartments, but close enough. Candy every day until Easter. No one had to know. This never happened.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Don't Mind Me

It's hard enough not thinking about a possible end of the world scenario when you're around an 11 year old boy who knows everything about it, but lately we've also been talking about a possible zombie apocalypse. I mean serious, considerate discussions: how to barricade your home properly; what you should do if you get bitten, slow moving zombies vs. fast moving ones. I can only take the conversation so far. I'm just waiting for the earthquake that has to happen first.

Monday, October 29, 2012

What The Owl Said

Lately everything chafes. I gave a guy the finger after he cut in front of me on the freeway, after I had to jam the brakes, after a bag of groceries fell off the back seat and unloaded on the floor. But really it was without any steam. My heart wasn't in it, I didn't get filled with rage and self righteousness, slam my hand on the steering wheel and contort my face; it was more like a flag being lifted up a pole on a windless day. Ehn. This is what you do. This is what I do evidently.

Like I said, everything chafes. Lately everything feels mildly annoying. I try to look up but I can't. I write these words and then I think of leaving a comment: you're a moron and a jackass and no one cares; you're old and ugly and stupid, one half monkey, the other half mule. (This is how you're supposed to talk in the comment section).  There are always at least two people in my head, often many more, but usually it's one guy who functions and then the other guy who hits him in the head with a mallet. But then there's the guy who watches this on the conveyor belt along with a few buddies, drinking beer and making rude comments, throwing things. (When I say guy I don't mean guy, I mean a weird sort of Gollum creature). If there is a problem (and just about every day there's something that could fall into that category), the whole janky system gets jammed. All the guys sit back and wait. If they wait long enough, sometimes something unusual happens. Something unexpected.

Anyway. Yesterday I went to a party with some babies. The room was set up with all the sofas and chairs pushed back in a circle  with the babies sitting in the middle. All the parents of the babies were busy eating and talking to each other. They're around these damn babies all day long. They are relieved to stick them on the floor and have a moment's peace. I was on the edge of a couch with Harry, and we were  having a staring contest with one of them.

One thing for sure, babies know how to stare. They are masters at it. There are two schools of thought on this: one that they are soulful and all knowing, the other that they are dumb as a bag of rocks. Just a tiny, little empty head. Whichever side of the fence you are on though, you can't deny it's a little freaky. It makes you a little self-conscious. Har and I leaned one way and the little guy's eyes followed us. We leaned the other way and his eyes followed that way. Up, the same; down, again. None of us cracked a smile and I'm pretty sure we all could have kept going for an hour.

A friend texted me yesterday that I should write about love. What the hell do I know about it? It's the the best thing in the world and the worst thing in the world. That's all I can say. I've only been in love once and that was a long time ago. And even then I don't think I could have explained it. I was thinking about this after the baby party, while jogging  . Best thing. Worst thing. Best thing. Worst thing. Hush. Breathe. Stupid. Sweet. Baby. Protect. Pain. Joy. Love. Hope. Pretty soon all the words just blended together into my breathing. It was silent in my head and in the woods. Such a relief.

As I turned the bend to where the woods started to open, I heard the owl. Just one word. You know what it is. But it sounded clear. It sounded fantastic. It was LOUD as hell. Up ahead a few people had stopped  and were looking up trying to find him. Our voices were quiet, shy, not unfriendly. "Did you hear? He was here yesterday. He's huge." The sky was light where it met the top of the hill but the rest of it was getting dark. I stopped too and we all scanned the trees, trying to find him, trying to have a glimpse, looking up.

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Invisible Child

I used to eat lunch by myself at school. I'd sit at the end of the table wearing my big parka (I don't usually use that word parka, I think it's more mid-west style, but I really had a parka, one of those army green down coats with the hood that had grey fur trim; the hood came out from my face a bit to protect me from the subzero Himalayan winds), sitting in front of my tray, little carton of milk, dried out lasagna (which I loved) or a sandwich on dry bread with some sort of pink meat inside. I was fine with this. I preferred it. I was always hungry and I'm pretty sure I ate everything I was served with no complaints. My kids find this incomprehensible, well Mo just thinks it's a little sad, the others are flummoxed. You should hear the screams. Weren't you embarrassed? Oh My God! How could you do this? Mom! Why did you wear your coat? Didn't you have one single friend?

As far as they are concerned I am the poster child for a victim of bullying, the creepy loser that people talked about behind her back, or worst of all, the invisible child. The greasy unwashed hair, the big smelly coat. The LUNCH BY MYSELF.

I have no common ground to have this make any sense to them. I went to the same school from Kindergarden to 12th grade, all girls; I wore a uniform. I didn't worry about anyone looking at me or judging my outfit. I ate lunch alone because I was hungry and just wanted to eat, not because no one liked me; I had friends and was comfortable on my own. We all wore the same exact thing, my parka was my defining feature, the thing that made me unique and jazzy.

When I look over in the middle of my monologue, I see their faces go from incomprehension to pity. They pat my back, shake their heads slowly. Suddenly they see me in a new light and I look worse than they imagined.

They just don't get it.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Thoughts I Had Waiting in Front of the Toaster

-Is it better to stand here waiting or try to get something else done and risk burning my toast again.
-I wonder how much time in my life I've spent waiting.
-Probably a lot.
-I hate when people say you draw a person into your life because you need to work something out and that person happens to press the particular button that causes the thing inside of you that needs to be examined.
-But I kind of like it too, because I think it's true.
-Do you even know what you are saying?
-This toast takes a long time.
-That's because it's an english muffin.
-I wonder if I had been forced to play an instrument or take martial arts as a kid if I would understand that nothing happens right away, that everything is a process, and that you have to be patien--

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Conversations In The Dark

                                             My neighbor's Halloween decoration

At night after about 10 or so, my street becomes a dark, quiet movie set. The houses all look like collapsible fronts or shells. I know there are people in them, maybe a light or two, but it doesn't feel that way. I was walking last night at this time, mulling over my day, when I saw Carlos standing on his lawn with Mr. Jing. We nodded to each other and then I kept walking, thinking about things.

Carlos, I have a problem.
What is it baby.
Well, it's not about me really--
Yeah, okay (he chuckles)
What do you do when someone lets you down?
Let's you down, what do you mean? Let's you down, how.
I mean does something you weren't expecting; does something you never would have imagined, something bad.
Something bad?
(I nod)
Something that was not in your agreement.
I mean...yeah--
I'd take him out--
No, that's not what--
I'd take him the fuck out.
I just, no, really? I'm not...
Don't you think that just opens another can of worms?
(He chuckles) There's always a can of worms, baby.
You asked me what I'd do.
(I shrug)
That's what I'd do. But you know there's many ways to take someone out. It can be literal or figurative.
(We look at each other, surprised and not surprised to be having a conversation like this in the street, late at night) Yeah. I suppose.

I hear someone clapping slowly and turn around. Mr Jing has gotten under the car in the driveway. "C'mon, " Carlos is saying. He is not impatient. "Chomper, get outa there".

"Is he stuck?" I yell from across the street. Just then Lester pulls off his leash and runs over to Carlos. As he does this, Chomper/Mr. Jing darts out from under the car and back into their house. "Oh hey, Lester got him for you!"

Carlos laughs a little, and waves a hand to me "Yeah. Thanks. He needed a little inspiration".

Monday, October 22, 2012

French Etiquette

I called my friend to apologize because I left the party without saying goodbye to anyone. She said, You went for the "French Leave". I thought she was finding a generously polite way to tell me I was rude, self absorbed and (vaguely) mysterious. And I loved it! Yes, that's it exactly; I was going for the French leave: head down, hand at my collar, clickety clicking in my high heels on the cobblestone streets and puffing a cigarette. C'est moi.

Au revoir. A Bientot. C'est ca. Un peu que tu me coqauvin jeanpaulbelmondo!

When I saw my friend again yesterday, I told her how much I love the French Leave and how I was going to use it from now on, and she said that the French think it's rude to interrupt the flow of the party to announce your departure and say goodbye to everyone, and that it's much more courteous to just slip out (and say goodbye the next day).

But of course this makes sense. How many times have you been at a party and someone is in the middle of a story and some guy gets up to put on his coat and say good bye and thank-you, and everyone stops to turn their head and look, get up, shake hands etc.

Fuck you Jerome! Molly here is in the middle of a story, can't you just tiptoe out the back door like a respectable Frenchman, fuckin jackass. Get the hell out already.

(sigh) I'm really not cool enough to be French.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

On Being Dead

I was brushing my teeth yesterday and accidentally stretched my lip up under my nose and caught a sudden glimpse of what my skeleton-skull looks like. I was able, for the first time, to visualize the stumpy bone-holes of my nose. This was a first. I mean, I've stretched out my mouth before to try and have a look at my chopper area, that's always fun, but I've never gotten more of a view than that; this time somehow, I was able to picture that weird creepy cavern above my teeth. Hmmmm?



What are you doing?

I'm looking at my skeleton-skull.

It's not called a skeleton-sk--, ughh, nevermi--,WHY?

I want to see what my body is going to look like when I die.

Oh (rolls eyes) (then gets scowl/worried look).

You wanna see? (I turn towards her)

(She pulls her head back but she doesn't turn away) Ew. (and then, I discover the real reason she's been humoring me) Can I have five bucks?

No, you have to look at my skeleton skull.



There was a time when it was easier to indulge. When any one of my kids could spend the better part of an hour pulling open each side of her/his mouth and looking into the mirror with me, imagining skulls, or skeletons in a science classroom, or even being in a box six feet under. Nevermore.

There are places to go. People to see. Things to do. Things that are fun, exciting, complicated and scary. Tragic even...Come back in here, I want to yell, let's look at our goddam cadavers!!

But all I hear is the door closing. Click.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Reposting An Oldie: Desert People

We had a run-in with some desert people. Well not a run-in exactly; I was in the desert with Amy scouting locations for the short film and it was more like she went to talk to a group of white supremacists while I sat in the car with the doors locked.

Come on, let's get out and get the scoop.
We don't need to get the scoop.
Are you scared?
Yes, I'm scared, I saw the swastika on the rocks back there.
That was like 3 miles back.
That's probably where they go to do their sacrifices.
Look, it's fine, they're just camping, see: there's little kids and dogs.
What do you think they use to sacrifice?... Look, their campers are in a circle formation.
(huge sigh) I'm going.
No don't, they'll think we're lesbians and ass-rape us with a tire iron.
Could you-
Ix-nay on the ass-ape-ray! (points to the three year old in the back seat who is fully absorbed, dipping apple slices into a bowl of peanutbutter)
She's fine. We had a conversation.
I'm going.

I watched Amy walk across the dune to where the trailers were parked. Two big guys in lawn chairs stood up and walked to meet her. They seemed to be scowling. Amy talked animatedly and gestured with her hands. In a few seconds, they were all laughing. Old Buddies. Thank goodness one of us was brave.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Taking A Hit

A few months back I saw a dog get hit by a car and I've thought about it every day since. I've thought about writing about it many times and then rejected the idea because I didn't want to diminish what happened, or write about it in my "oh well" way. But I think about it, like I said, at least once a day. And not on purpose. It drops into my head at completely random times: the sight, the sound, my scream; so vivid that I often bury my face in my hands. Then I wonder how long it will be before it gets filed away, if it will ever be filed away permanently. But this morning I was thinking about some other sad things, including one story that I've been reading about, and again the image dropped into my head. This time though, the part of it that originally upset me the most, suddenly became a comfort; and though I know that realistically it is not a consolation, it is the part of the memory that, after seeing him take such a hit, I need to focus on, and that is this: he kept running.

Friday, October 12, 2012


                                                      Papa H having a little fun in the hospital
                                                      after a car accident. *

One of my posts was recently selected to be in a new, beautiful, glossy magazine that you can buy and leave out on your coffee table. It's called The Printed Blog and you can check it out here. It has incredible photography, great writing by "citizen journalists", and now me.

You can see another post in Sarah Brokow's blog, Fortytude, a site that includes stories by women in their forties (and older!) that are inspirational, informative and funny. Make sure to watch Sarah's vid that explains her own inspiration for her book.

And since we're talking about old folks, listen to this, and before you make fun and say it sounds the same as some of their other songs remember that the guy singing is in his 70s and a full-fledged granddaddy!!

* I found this photo on this website.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Waxing Poetic

I go to the salon infrequently enough that when I do go I feel like an awkward, dirty creature with big flippers and dirty fingernails. I try, but I've never gotten the hang of it. Still, it's nice to sit in a chair and get primped and fussed over; feel like a queen. A few days ago I went to get my eyebrows waxed and was just settling in the waiting area when this guy came up to me, said Waxing? and pointed his thumb for me to follow him to the back. I did have a moment's thought sail through my head, "A guy?" but I shrugged and kept walking. Most salons are like the back rooms of old west whore houses, all women, quiet, peaceful; there are boundaries, silent codes. Most don't include male workers wearing backwards baseball caps and sets of keys buckled on their pants, but I thought maybe it's a cultural thing, maybe in his country it's the norm.

I sat in the chair and laid my head back, let him have a look. He said "You get lip too?"

I said No, just eyebrows.

"You have hair there. A lot."

Okay freeze that frame for a second. Do you see how he's looking at me right now? Kind of wincing and tilting his head in vast dismay. This is the only thing I can see. I know I should have laughed and said "Stop playin. I do not have hair on my upper lip. My brothers don't even have hair on their upper lips. I come from a very long line of hairless people" but from his expression, all I can see is that my upper lip looks exactly the same as Tom Sellack's, and so I say, Jesus yes, take it off!

He nods happily and says, "I make you look like a real woman"

I laugh and think it's a good thing I don't have real feelings.

He turns and gets the wax ready.

I may not have real feelings but I do have a real imagination and I start looking at this guy and wondering if maybe he's the owner's drug crazed son who was shunned and shamed and renounced, and now periodically sneaks into his mother's work and waxes the eyebrows off some of the non-regulars.

I start to get up.

Lie down.


(I say okay!)

He slaps some wax on my upper lip (actually, to be honest, he's gentle, he even asks me if it's too hot) and then rips. "See?" He holds up the cloth for my inspection.

"Gimme that thing", I say sitting up. There's nothing! Not even a long stray whisker. "I don't see anything".

"You must need glasses!"

Can you believe this guy? Has he never spoken to a woman before? (even one that's not real?) Has he never spoken to a customer ? ...But again, I laugh. It's true, I do need glasses. I can't help it but I start to like him. He's honest! He's direct! Then I realize my upper lip is burning. I wave my hand in front of my face to soothe it.

Here, you need some cream, he says and slathers a big heap of greasy cream across my mouth.

Wait...don't you know that...please don't....big whiteheads...sensitive...."mmm coconut, thank you". I ask for the mirror and my whole lip area is so red (and now shiny) that it looks like I did actually have a big bushy stache only seconds ago.

He motions his hand for me to lay my head back down. I am fully aware that he is about to take off both of my eyebrows, completely, with one press and pull of the wax, but I do as I'm told. Whatever, it'll be fine. They'll grow back.

Once he's done I grab the mirror again. I want to be the first to see. I need to prepare myself for the jeers, but I look... and it's okay. They look nice. They're not even red. Wow! I say, actually grateful that he hasn't turned me into an alien. He shrugs, of course they look fantastic, I'm an artist, that's how I do. He hands me a check and says "You go up front" and pushes me out the door. If he had given me a swift kick it wouldn't have surprised me.

"Thank you," I say, even though as I'm saying it I don't know why, "See you next year".

Monday, October 8, 2012



There's nothing like a visit to the gynecologist that makes you
A. aware of your mortality
B. feel like a small brained animal.

It's the waiting room part that closes off a large part of your thinking capacity. You either play solitaire 57 times in a row (like I did)(literally), or read a few old weather beaten issues of Redbook cover to cover, or simply stare off into space exploring your own little private Idaho.

Deedree Lowis?

I've been coming here 7 years and no one's ever gotten that right. I'm used to it but still, it would be nice.

That's me, I say gathering my things, thinking: let's get this over with.

Before going into the chamber I get weighed and blood pressured. The girl writes it all down in my chart and I wonder if she adds "Patient did not brush hair today" or "Patient looks down in the dumps, old and odd". Okay you can go into the office, she says, the doctor will be in to see you. Put this on. Back in the day "this" used to be an actual hospital gown which, yes, was open in the back so your buns hung out, but at least covered you. At least allowed you to pretend you were a human being who would, in most other public circumstances, have your private areas covered. But what she hands me now is something that comes from the same factory that makes paper placemats and airplane napkins. It's folded into tenths, an eight inch paper square that covers only a part of me.

I sit there like that for what feels like two or three months. I sit there for such a spell it's no longer humiliating to be completely nude from the waist down with a lobster bib covering my biz. But then the doctor comes in, she says hello; it's not my usual doc but the other one. Mine got called off for surgery. This one tells me to take my shirt and bra off. I refuse to believe she has said what she has, in fact and very clearly, just said. I unclasp my bra and loosen up my shirt a bit so she can just do her thing and still leave me a modicum of decency. Nope. All the way off, she says.

This is the point when I turn off. My interior makes the sound of an industrial plant shutting down before an air raid. I am neither nude nor naked. I am no longer anything. I am just a shell with a piece of paper across my lap. I stare at the ceiling with my mouth opened slightly like a person after a few rounds of shock treatment. I can't speak, move or exhale. She does the thing: jiggle, squeeze, squeeze, pinch and then lets me put my shirt back on. Somehow there's no consolation in knowing this is what you have to do if you want to detect the cancer early, this is what you have to do so can battle the onset of your own death. All I can think is: and this isn't even the worst part.


Quack Quack

Friday, October 5, 2012

My Guy

I didn't just love the Live and Let Die theme because it was melodramatic and loud and thrilling; I loved it because of the guy the song was about. This guy. (Of course, I liked this guy too). My Grandmother's last name was Bond, it is my Father's middle name, so I not only felt we were related, James and I, but I felt he would protect me if the circumstances ever called for it. He knew where I lived and if he didn't, he would find me. That's the kind of guy he was. I loved him because he was strong and quiet and charismatic but mostly because he had a broken heart and persevered in spite of it.

I remembered all these things because yesterday I heard this song and then listened to it for 40 minutes on repeat while I was in the gym. The horns, the drama, the longing voice, the swells, and I remembered everything; let the sky fall, James, we will stand tall, you and I together, forever.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Awake! Judging The Person at My Door

Lately I talk to the Jehovah Witnesses when they come to my door. I didn't used to. I used sit or stand still like a statue until they'd leave my porch. Occasionally I'd answer and say go away, or something worse that I'm too ashamed to tell you. Anyway I don't do that anymore. Now I think all right, let's hear what you have to say, maybe it'll somehow be a sign, maybe it'll be a piece of the puzzle. This one girl has been to my house three times. She's probably about 25, has one side of her head shaved and wears a tiny nose stud, (not your typical JW in a dress from Sears with a church hat); she remembers my name, tells me she has been thinking about me, asks me if I've thought about our last convo. It's odd, I'm not going to say it isn't, but I like it; I can't help feeling maybe it'll add up to something big. The first time we talked about salvation; that kind of went in one ear and out the other. The next time it was Judgment Day.

What do you think about Judgment Day? she asked me.

I don't really think about it to be honest. (In my head I'm thinking, I'm not even sure I know what it is. Is Judgment Day the day you die, when the guy at heaven's gates has a look at your resume and decides if you get to come in or not, or is it one of those predicted kind of days when God comes down and Judges).

The girl is clearly reading my mind because, like a good teacher, she waits for me to go on, she waits for me to elucidate.

No one likes being judged, I say finally.

She raises her eyebrows and nods slowly but emphatically like I have just said something that has totally taken her by surprise. You are so right, no one likes being judged.

She takes out one of her magazines and gives it to me while she explains what really happens on judgment day and all the stuff about Christ being merciful. She reads me a few passages from the bible. I lean into the doorframe listening to her voice. None of the words really sink in but I'm thinking of all the stressful, sad, angry, frustrating things I could be doing, this is not so bad; I could listen to her all day.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

They Didn't Stand A Chance

I used the term enough is enough yesterday and had a flashback to all the things the adults in my life used to yell at us in utter exasperation.

Enough is enough

Don't get smart

I'll leave you here

Don't make me say it again

You better watch yourself

I'll call the police

I'm going to take off my belt

Someone's gonna get hurt

What did you just say

Yes I was listening. I didn't even know that I was, but I was. Somehow, whatever was being said worked its way into my head eventually. All I can say is, my poor Grandmother, she is the one who said most of those things. One of my favorites was "I'll crack ya". She always said it sort of to herself after yelling at us for one thing or another and it brought us so much joy she stopped saying it. We knew she would never raise a hand to us so the idea that she wanted to smack us so hard we would crack always left us giggling into hiccups. Poor Gram. Sorry for all that.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Me vs. Whole Foods

This year Dar is going to a new school and she rides a city bus to get there, so we've stopped going to Whole Foods every day. Thank God. I hate that goddam place. I mean, come on, I love it too. It's perfect and beautiful and delicious and if you shop there every day you'll have a long, happy, and healthy life, but fucking hell, enough is enough. Now Harry and I stop in this coffee shop on the corner of Cuhuenga where this Asian guy who wears booty shorts made out of worn-out thermal underwear sits in a chair talking to himself and giggling, and I feel much more comfortable. Here's an oldie I wrote about me and Whole Foods a while back.

Dirty Hands

What the hell did people used to do before there was antibacterial gel at the supermarket? I was wondering this while I watched some woman slather it up to her elbows and then onto her child’s tiny dimpled hands. As if that wasn’t enough, then she squirted a load onto the handle of the shopping cart, and rubbed it in like she was a crack-whore giving it a five-dollar hand jobShe knew what she was doing, this gal. And she was smiling!  Smiling as if to say, I am taking control of my life, I will never allow germs, bacteria or possible bits of fecal matter to enter my world and cause me, or my precious family members, to get flulike symptoms. I have to say, it was mesmerizing. The whole procedure was so strange and wrong and oddly titillating, I wanted to drop to the ground and roll around like an old, happy dog on top of a dead squirrel.

Instead I gave her a self-righteous glare: Seriously woman? You think you’ve got it all under control? Everything all clean and perfect? Well it’s not! You’re going to get sick, you’re going to get germs, you’re going to get golden, oozing infections just like the rest of us, only yours will be worse because they will be rare anti-bacterial-gel mutations. “Now go buy your organic produce, YOU FREAK!” And I let my glare follow her all the way into the store.

Going to the grocery store is exhausting.

Monday, October 1, 2012

My Mansh, Part 2 or That's Them

  Even though we did not all grow up in the same house, and some of us have different parent combos, hair texture and eye color, I'm pretty sure that if all the ten kids in my family were standing, separately, on this crowded platform, you'd be able to pick us out. It has less to do with us looking alike, although some of us do, or sounding alike, most of us have an odd, slow and winding cadence, than it has to do with... well I'm not sure what it is, a sort of aloneness maybe, a simultaneous connectedness and disconnectedness. I can't explain it and yet I think that if you were an FBI agent and you looked at the photo above and were able to hone in on each individual, you could say: There, there and there, etc. That's them.

  My brother Pete and I are the closest in age, 11 months apart. Like twins, it sometimes felt like I was with him when he was having certain experiences even though I wasn't. A few memories, a few of his memories that have nothing to do with me, are my memories. Like the time he was throwing snowballs at cars with his friend David and one of the drivers pulled over and chased them both through the woods where they had to hide, separately, for over an hour. Or the time he got into a fight with Don Neiman and was sitting on top of him punching him in the face when Don's Dad came out and instead of yelling at Pete, started cheering him on. Still, my feeling that I was there with him probably has less to do with us being Irish twins than it has to do with the way someone's repeated telling of a story winds its way into your head and becomes your own.

  Growing up I had always focused on the differences between us. He was cheerful and a hard worker. I was angry and critical of everything. He was hyper and excited, I was lethargic and irritated. Of course this wasn't the case every day, but in general Pete appeared to be the well-adjusted one. (although you'd think beating up neighbors and throwing snowballs at cars might have told me something) I lived in my head and dreamed of all the things I wished I had, things that would surely make my life better, while Pete was perfectly happy where he was. This is what I thought.

Until recently.

We were talking about the old mansion behind my mom's house, and I told him about how I used to walk all the way through the woods every morning just so I could catch the bus from there and have people "see" me. If "they" had really been paying attention they would have seen that I didn't exit from the driveway but actually from the neighboring property. (I was too scared to actually step on the mansion driveway). I thought Pete might have something to say about what a big phony I was, how sad, something like that. But instead he said, I used to have my friend's parents drive into the driveway and I'd walk up to the door and give the "All good!" wave, and then I'd have to wait like that until they drove off.

I could have been shocked and laughed. I could have asked for more details and asked "oh my God, how did you have the nerve to do that?" type of questions, but instead I just looked at him and raised my eyebrows and thought of one word: There.