Sorry for the break. It was Passover, then I was dying from the flu, then it was more Passover, then I took a nap, then I got lazy and watched 3 episodes of Law and Order SVU. I hope your Passover/Easter/Pagan Spring Rituals went well.
Passover was odd this year, as it was split up between my parents house in Queens and my in-laws in Teaneck. It’s very strange having the holidays not in my own home. It’s like a little bit looking-glassy. You’re doing basically the same things you’d be doing in your own home but the tunes are a little….off, the sweet potatoes are little sweeter than your mom makes, the synagogue is still the same throng of Jews but with different faces. It’s just another reminder that things have changed and will continue to change and that’s OK because that’s kind of the message of Passover anyways, go with the flow. Or rather, if there are Egyptians chasing you, go with the flow until the flow decides to split on its own.
I do feel older this Passover though. Especially since my sister-in-law, who’s 17, had a steady stream of fellow high school junior and senior girls stop by with bits of gossip about prom, SATs and summer internships. My prom was SIX years ago! I danced to Chris Brown’s Forever! That might as well be Savage Garden to these kids (but seriously, what happened to Savage Garden?)
Ari and I walked his sister to a party on Monday night at a senior girl’s house. It was a bunch of kids hanging around a fire pit in the backyard and it actually made me miss college a little bit (except the bon fires they have in Maryland were either post-Duke game riots or if someone left their ramen on the stove too long. One of the only actual bon fires I went to had a few chairs thrown in because they had run out of logs. When I mentioned to the hostess that that probably wasn’t the safest idea, she pointed to a few guys drinking Natty Light AND playing beer pong and said “Oh, it’s OK, those guys are volunteer fire fighters.” ‘K)
We left and I was feeling nostalgic so I pointed to a park we were passing on the walk home and suggested we hang out on the swings for a bit. Ari warned me that it was closed after 9 p.m. I looked at the empty monkey bars and the lack of fence and scoffed. He followed me while I climbed the swingy bridge and leaned over the slides.
“It’s amazing how much upper body strength the kids who climb these things all day have,” he mused with one hand on the high metal rungs that connected one platform to the rest of the playground structure. “I wish I could go back to my little kid self and say never stop swinging on those bars!”
“Never stop growing!” I yelled.
“Well, no. You have to stop growing or your heart would just quit.”
Suddenly a car was pulling into the park. It was the cops.
“RUN!” I yelled at Ari, starting towards the swings.
“I can’t! My ankle is sprained and also, just stop.” He walked towards the car.
A lone officer leaned out, “Everything all right…?”
Ari walked over and pointed at me, “I told her the park was closed. She didn’t believe me.”
Selling me out. I knew I should’ve left him to the cops alone.
“Well yeah…it closes at nine,” the cop nodded.
“She’s from New York,” Ari said, both of them looking at me.
“I do what I want!!” I yelled at the cop and ran off to the side walk. The cop shrugged and drove on. To catch more playground delinquents.
We walked away from the park and laughed. Maybe we weren’t that old after all.
Except for the next day when Ari was lying down on his bed. Hand on his chest. His diaphragm had been spasming and he had taken that to mean his days were over.
“I’ve been thinking,” he said seriously, half sitting up. “If I die -“
“If I die early,” he finished. “I want you to remarry.”
“Okay,” I said. He laid back down.
“If I die early,” I continued, “I don’t want you to remarry. I want you to throw yourself on the funeral pyre.”
“Yeah…I’m not doing that.”
“We’ll see,” I shrugged and went back to my book.