You can do a lot of things in six weeks. You can lose 5 pounds. You can watch 6 episodes of “Grey’s Anatomy.” You can paint your kitchen. You can read “Americanah” and discuss it with your book club. You can drive to Montana to see your family.
On the other hand, there are some things that are almost impossible to do in six weeks. Like sell everything, find a new job, and move out of Texas.
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It only happened once. Just once. And I regretted immediately.
Oh, who was I kidding? That was like saying I only murdered someone just once. I knew the effect it would have on me, on my relationship, to cheat. Just once. What was I going to do now? Tell?
No, I couldn’t tell. That would be the end of my marriage. But how could I keep it quiet?
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Angie leaned against the risers at the side of the gym, watching other kids dance. She wished Aaron had asked her to the dance and regretted deciding to come alone. Then a hand appeared, outstretched in front of her. It was Maya. “Care to dance?” Maya asked. Angie froze. She’d been avoiding Maya after Maya confessed that she really liked her. She liked Maya, too, but was conflicted about admitting it. Doing anything in public like dancing would be too much. Angie couldn’t get her mouth to work or her feet to move. . . .
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It took me a minute to recall where I was. Right – I’d gone home with a woman from the bar last night. It was her bedroom I was in. What was her name? Rhonda? Rhoda? She had amazing red hair.
I pulled on my smoky clothes and wandered out of the bedroom. There she was, in the kitchen.
“Good morning,” she said.
Then two little red headed boys about 4 years old came into the kitchen. “What’s for breakfast,” one said. “I’m starving,” the other said.
A woman who looked like an older version of Rhonda? Rhoda? came in a walked to the coffee pot. “Want your coffee in a to-go cup or are you staying for breakfast?” she asked.
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“Let’s do lunch,” Ally said. “We haven’t seen each other in so long. We need to catch up.”
I was a bit nervous to answer yes. I hadn’t eaten in a restaurant since the pandemic lockdown started easing up.
Ally seemed to catch my caution. “I know a place with shaded outside dining and a big airy indoor space with good circulation,” she said. “Would you be interested in going there?”
Would I? Of course. “Let’s do lunch!” I said.
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I don’t miss writing checks to pay for everything and mailing them off in stamped envelopes to pay my bills. I don’t miss getting a whole chicken to cut up and then having to find someone foolish enough to eat the giblets. I don’t miss unairconditioned houses. I don’t miss twisting the handle on a mimeograph machine to make copies. I don’t miss those aspects of my youth. But I do miss my youth.
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Ah, early morning. The sun is just peeking over the horizon, the air is cool. The sound of doves and some other noisy chirper fills the air. A cup of hot coffee in hand and a quick check of the news sets up the day for a walk while the shadows are still long and the sprinklers are churring. Good morning!
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If you’re vaccinated you’ve probably started going back to some of your favorite things. If you’re me, your favorite things include meals with friends. So far we’ve met in the park, at a fun new food hall in town, and in each other’s kitchens. It feels so wonderful just to be with friends again, doesn’t it?
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“Whatever happened to that guy who used to stand in Times Square and give out free hugs?”
“Nobody hugs these days. What are you talking about?”
“I’m talking about wanting to hug someone. If you weren’t on the west coast I’d hug you right now.”
“I’m not on the west coast. I’m in the bedroom. Come here and I’ll hug you.”
“You’re a lifesaver!”
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Remember back in the 1950s when we used to iron and starch jeans so that they had a crease in the front and back? When you hung up pants you’d just ironed you lined up the inseams and carefully laid them over the hanger with the creases held in place.
The other day I realized I’m still lining up inseams and hanging jeans as if they had a crease to protect. As if my no-iron denim would hold a shape. As if I hadn’t thought about how to hang pants in 60 years.
If fact, I hadn’t thought about it in 60 years. Old habits die hard. We cling to things that make no sense in the modern world. Maybe it’s time to rethink a lot of things – not just the way to put jeans on a hanger. A few topics that most everyone needs to rethink include race, religion, gender, and sexuality. Make your own list.
Please use the open space below to share your first 50 words on the topic “maybe rethink that.”