A man with the right scruffed-up beard and breadth of chest swaggered into the S and M dungeon that was my place of business, and twenty minutes and one grand later had my chin — still soft with the downy fluff of teen-girl skin — held steady in one paw while the other one flew at my face so hard and fast that I ceased to exist as the same collection of matter I had been the previous instant.
When Sarah’s mother, Penny, got sick four years into our marriage, we decided to move back to Mississippi, considering it penance for the sins of our youth. We signed a lease on a house, a white one-story on the historical register with a wraparound porch and angels, stars, and the moon painted on the transom above the front door.
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I drop by on a Saturday. Your mom lets you answer my knock on the apartment door. The cap of your gastrostomy tube is outlined against your unicorn T-shirt.
The virus is revealing new facts about the U.S. Who would have guessed that People Who Resent Science Because It’s Too Darn Complicated would become a major political force?
I’d thought dating would make me feel less grief, but it was the opposite. I decided to delete my Match.com account and learn to masturbate. I had enough sadness in my own life.
I hand my wife the bag, and she finds the two packs of wet wipes. It is the happiest I’ve made her in weeks.
When James is high, he is at his most affectionate. He becomes generous with hugs. He kisses my face all over, eyelids and all. I am ashamed that I like this about his addiction.
Dear Ross: How can you miss on purpose? If I’m late getting back on defense, you’ll bounce the ball off the bottom of the rim and catch the “rebound” for a point. Alone under the basket. Missing.
Dear Noah: Bouncing the ball off the bottom of the rim is, as you say, a poorly missed shot, but also a perfectly missed one, because it results in a point in our game, which means it’s a way for me to stay on the court. If there were a way I could stay on the court without cheating — without those perfectly, beautifully missed shots — believe me, I would do it.
My friend possessed the inclination and the ability to turn her experience of the world into a language that insisted on delighting in itself.
I can’t see the virus, but I feel its seeds in me. I can’t see my faith, but I feel its seeds in me, too.
Below me the world turned slowly through the night, unaware of the multilayered geopolitics my coffee-jangled brain was imposing upon it. I could find reasons to forgive Judaism and Islam their present-day sins. Christianity was another matter.
It was the first Friday of spring break, 1984, when I climbed into the bed of Greg’s compact truck, leaned back against the cab, and watched the keg party fade into the distance as we drove away.