All Kinds of Pain

We lived on a little one-block street that ran parallel to a bunch of other one block streets on the East Side, in Providence. And every street was different. Methyl Street, one block north, had a Mark Twain/Lord of the Flies flavor. Tons of boys. Playing in the street, all the time. My brother startedContinue reading “All Kinds of Pain”


She took me shopping for school clothes, before fifth grade, before my family left for Germany. Her black hair was way short. The cancer. She was Greek, adopted by a new Greek-American family when her mother died of the same cancer that would take her, aged 24. In the mall, under fluorescent lights, sifting throughContinue reading “Melody”


I can’t remember if his fist was open or closed. I think I was eight. I stepped out of my bedroom and was walking down the hall, as my brother approached. We were about to pass; he pulled his hand back, and hit me hard. I don’t recall where. My face? My stomach? I rememberContinue reading “Learning”

The Fort

Our driveway and the neighbors’ was separated by a cement wall–a twelve-foot terraced step, with their driveway at the top, and ours down below. Hector and Phoebe’s driveway. They were renting the first floor apartment: newlyweds. I don’t remember who lived on the floor above them. The ground between our garages was a little dirtContinue reading “The Fort”

The Games

For a period of years between second grade and fourth grade (third and fifth for my brother), our father–an avid runner himself–shepherded us through a series of physical challenges and athletic pursuits. I liked reading. I liked drawing. I liked hanging out with animals, and people who didn’t make me feel uneasy. But this wasContinue reading “The Games”

Nothing In Between

We had a record collection stored in an antique wooden sideboard, spilling into messy piles on top. You had to be careful with the turntable: it was expensive, and the tip was made of diamond. I would sift through these records when I was between activities: chores and company, school and dinner. There were aContinue reading “Nothing In Between”

The Sky Next Door

Occasionally, between age seven and twelve, I hung out with the lady in the little house next door. I don’t remember her name. There was something Joni Mitchell-like about her: delicate features and big teeth and long blonde hair and arty mystique. Sometimes alone and sometimes with my brother, I’d marvel at how our neighborContinue reading “The Sky Next Door”