It was another rainy cold January night in Portland. I walked by the circumspect homes in the affluent neighborhood where Amy rents a house.
I didn’t say you aren’t a sympathetic figure, twice divorced Amy said. She has her father’s large round eyes. She hates them. She would rather have had her mother’s lean eyes.
You’re a pain, I said.
So you have said, Amy said.
I brought her goat cheese and a twenty five dollar bottle of Pinot Noir wine.
I read two articles in the past week about two Jewish women having had a hard time assimilating
into American society. I couldn’t help but feel that I have the same difficulty.
Amy liked to torment me with stories about her happy childhood in Kentucky. I don’t think Amy has spent much time outside the United States.
Have you ever assimilated to anything, Amy said.
I’m a loner. My mother was a loner. She never assimilated into American society although she did become an American citizen at the end of her life. She never bothered to learn how to pronounce th nor to change the inflection of her thick Dutch accent. When I was a young teenager she refused to speak Dutch. Only later in my twenties did she interject a Dutch word here and there. I missed it when she cursed or chastised me in Dutch. She had a temper unlike anyone else that was especially unadulterated when she had to do housework.
Amy didn’t want to introduce me to her friends because she thought I would want to fuck them.
The only thing you can do is seduce, twice divorced Amy said.
I do have one friend, I said. Sue. The seventy year old sage at GB. Sue never deviates from her schedule. She starts her day very early and I have been starting my day very late. I miss her. She struggles with depression and poverty. She feels like home.
It is especially unnerving when Amy accepts me and then at unforeseen moments
assesses my ability to be happy. To be unhappy in America is like a crime. I like to think that in Russia or other economically bleak countries one can make an art of being unhappy.
Things have gotten worse I said.
Things always have been bad Amy said. Amy likes to think she is reasonable. She’s a lousy drunk. When she gets drunk she says unforgivable shit.
Do you notice the media never shows dead half naked bodies but they always show
violated brown and black bodies in Africa and the Middle East, I said. Why didn’t they show the gory bloodied bodies of the white cartoonists.
I kissed Amy. She had the same dizzy sexual look that she had when I sucked on her body. I felt nothing but love for her. I felt demoralized. I wanted to show her that I had cut my nails, like she had instructed, to where there was no nail line to be seen.