If Aunt Dorothy and Uncle Seymour had moved out of their two-bedroom apartment with my four cousins as planned, I never would have met Susan Silver, who lived in their courtyard, Utopia Parkway, Queens and grew up with Sharon and Tara, and years later I might not have known her at university or become best friends, lived together in that red semi on East Street next to Feeney’s Fine Foods and Drink with Marla, the actress who spent weekends in New York City with a jazz musician twice her age. The three of us ate only with chopsticks at a cable spool we used as a table, visited Dunkin’ Donuts in the middle of the night and found, once, a star on our receipt and won another dozen. We lived up the street from Mary and Albert with their parakeets Sonya and Raskolnikov, and Peter, the potter, who borrowed my Brother typewriter to write a book on Abstract Expressionism. I would never have heard that Susan met an English guy that summer while camping with her boyfriend in Vermont, that he would borrow a sleeping bag and have to return it. She would not have rung me up to join her in Manhattan, and I would not have said no and she would not have cajoled me until she convinced me to go. I would not have seen him standing in the doorway of his friend’s apartment on East 13th Street and thought Yes.
Prizewinner in the Troubadour Poetry Competition 2012