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D e shuttles from me, in Boston, to ex-wife and baby in Baltimore, to me, to baby. He vacations three weeks alone with baby. He wants to get to know baby. He wants custody of baby. And when he gets custody (last month he shattered a tea cup to prove how certain he is of getting custody), he wants me to help love baby. I kissed his hands, one finger bloodied, sliced by a jagged piece of china, and agreed to love baby. Already, more carefully than if they were my own, I love both the man and his baby. .
D ased on the disorderly instructions of Lake Greenberg, named after her grandmother, Laka Brint Shromm, who died the Friday before the Monday Lake was born. Front pockets: Cut two hand-sized squares and set aside. The twins, Drancha and Deeta Shromm, were born to Yaakov Harold and Laka Brint Shromm during the early winter of the couple's third married year. Drancha, who decided which identical outfits the two would wear each day for their first nineteen years; Drancha, who became a nurse; Drancha, who missed 7 .
hings happened to Janet. Things happened to people she knew. It all \ was the stuff of life: money, illness, and melodrama. Now that she finished her tale, she jiggled her daughter on her lap. When she and Jack went out, they liked to bring their daughter. In the room people said, \\1 can't believe the man died . And his mother . His poor wife . To think they're Janet's cousins . No, she said just friends of cousins . Amazing . Horrible . . And Janet, though she had lived this ff tale and felt this tale and even twice before told this tale, was 19 .
\ was a long way for an old man. He had searched half an hour for a meter and had at last found one part-way down \ the hill on Powell. He knew it was wrong to leave a car like his at a meter; it stood so high above the others that it practically begged to be stolen or maimed. Someone might easily pry the filigree doe-his emblem-off the grille, snap the antenna, puncture the tires . But mightn't that happen even in a costly garage? And there, the owner himself could be killed en route to the elevator. Perhaps he should hire a chauffeur to circle city blocks with 33 .
\ as fifteen on the fifteenth. My father died on the first, my grandmother on \ the twelfth, my boyfriend on the eighteenth. "You're next," my mother said to me on the twenty-second. She handed me a pack of razor blades and a blue revolver. "I suggest the revolver ," she whispered, "but either way, do me a favor and crawl into a plastic bag first." She opened the basement door and waved. "Good-by, Dena." In the basement I used the laundry room phone and called a friend of mine. 43 .
S he had first seen him wearing sweat socks bunched down between the first and second toes of each foot to accommodate black rubber thongs. She associated this foot garb vaguely and incorrectly with an Eastern religion. She noticed he was prettier than she. He was nice to her because he was nice, and she imagined many beautiful women he'd been even nicer to. They were next door neighbors on the second story of an oblong eHiciency apartment house. Often from her sofa she watched him clomp along the outdoor catwalk that rimmed the 47 .
~ e met in psychology lecture hall. I was crying. That was the year I was always crying. After class he took me for coffee and thick, dripping sandwiches. "I'm unhappy," I told him. He laughed at me. "I want to leave school." He howled. "I often think about killing myself." He fell out of the booth in hysterics. 59 .
~ hen I say I fucked my dog, I mean I fucked my dog. My parents checked out when I was a twelve-year-old. And now Zarnofsky has taken a liking to me and wants to buy me a Saint Bernard. "Too slow," I say at breakfast. "I need something friskier." And I wonder just how much he knows. Because I don't go around telling all to all. That isn't like me. In delicate moments I saute onions and add tomato puree. "Sauce," I call it, and it passes. What does Zarnofsky know? 67 .
O ne girl carved her legs with a silver art tool. Her roommate pressed her shoulder to a burning light bulb until the skin crisped. A junior upstairs grated her cheeks like cheese. And someone else tied plastic bags over her head, though always in the final moments, when the bags clung damply to her features and left no room for breath, tore them open with her fingernails. All damage was done softly, in seclusion, without audible signs of pain. 77 .