The first trip back to the US since moving to China. Landed at LaGuardia and the NYC roads were a mess of dirty slush. I finally made it back to Dumont late at night, let myself quietly in the house, even the dog didn’t wake up to bark. I was happy to see my mom and dad. The last parting had been hard. We were snowed in all right, so I walked around the house, feeling a bit claustrophobic. I looked in the glass cabinet in the dining room and saw the eggshells my brother had painted. One was a panda. He had been dead for 20 years, longer than he had been alive.
His ashes were still in an urn in his old bedroom, which was unchanged in all that time. When Chris comes to me in a dream, poking his head out from behind a tree, running away over a field, I consider it a gift. The image of him alive and moving is more real than anything in my life. He was a good boy, and he should’ve lived. Did he drive recklessly down Merrill Drive because he had seen me do it before? This is why people invent God, so someone can know the answers to these things. I remember the day he and mom came home from the hospital, in 1977. I let Mikey look at him through the back window. I was four, and I was excited to have something to show off to my friend. I remember when we went to the Tenafly nature center, some time in the ’80s, and he disturbed a hornet’s nest climbing up a tree by the pond, and we all went running like mad back to the car. I remember him, 4 years old, in the pre-school music revue, singing “Mary, Mary,” in a London constable uniform, complete with mustache and billy club. But the sweetness of those memories cannot fix the hole inside of me.
We ate at Il Molino and dad and I got horrific food poisoning from some clams. I thought I would die. When I met Allen and Sarah in NY the next day, I could not eat any brunch. Later on, I met with Chris and Mary Callahan to see Don Giovanni at the MET, I still had jetlag and dozed through much of it. I was happy to get back to Asia. I took Hera to Thailand, Ko Samet, there were troubles there, too. Bickering, knowing it wouldn’t last. But for better or worse, she was my first girlfriend in China. And we had fun setting off big deadly fireworks at 3Rock when we returned.