December 25th, 2002

Man in the Mirror


Joan’s father was a Communist who lived and worked in Greenwich Village in the 1930s, during those exciting days of political idealism. He ran around with people from The New Republic and The New Masses. He knew Jack Reed, and a great number of other gifted intellectuals, writers, artists, and photographers.

She held the menu at arm's length. "I haven't yet yielded to the fact that I need glasses."

When the waiter arrived, Joan questioned him about what, exactly, were the ingredients in various items on the menu, and when she made her selection she asked that it be prepared in a way that was different from how it was usually prepared. The waiter said that would be no problem at all.

“Where were we?”
“Greenwich Village,” I said.
“My father wrote poetry,” she said.

But by profession he was a lawyer. As was his dear friend William Kunstler. Both were passionate political activists. Her mother was a musician. Which led to Joan’s studying the flute when she was a girl. All her friends were Julliard students, and members of orchestras and chamber groups, but Joan always knew she and they were not alike. She had to force herself to do all that practice and study.

“I never had their passion and commitment to music,” Joan said.
"That's sad."
"Yes, it is. Did you enjoy being married?"
I looked at the rim of my water glass. "Yes, very much."
"Eve ended it?"
"And you're angry at her?"
"No. Overall it was a good experience. Have you ever been married?"
Joan looked amused. "I've had several intense relationships, but no. I never wanted to get married."
"Wanting something is having as much of it as you'll ever have."
She was silent for a few moments. Then she said, "Repeat that."
I did.

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