We wear coats over our pajamas and have a drink on a balcony at night. This is a good time for talking, for catching up. A slice of the city is laid out before us - a lot of windows, some dark and blank, others allowing peeks inside to late dinner parties or flickering TVs.
Hearing the young boy ask "why?" makes me a lot less complacent about my knowledge of the world, how it works, why things are the way they are. Suddenly I'm struggling to find answers (or even just adequate words) for questions I'd foolishly assumed settled.
Over the course of the week I hear several different people exclaim, "what a beautiful day". The days are still cold; the wind can still be cutting. Dirty snow remains on the curbside. But there also seems to be a different quality to the daylight - stronger sunshine maybe. Or perhaps it's only wishful thinking, people wanting spring weather now without a moment's further delay.
The tri-corner pastry traditionally eaten on the holiday of Purim. I eat a few over the course of the holiday - one with a raspberry center and a hard shell that I soften in a glass of milk. Another is apricot, an especially sweet filling that looks like topaz. And the third is full of poppyseed paste.
In the morning, when the fever breaks, I'm tired, damp, and deliciously inert. I have no inclination to move, and even though I know I'll need to get up in ten or fifteen minutes to start the day, I feel as if those minutes pass more slowly, stretching out like putty.
She sits on my lap with a book of illustrated nursery rhymes; we're in the soft blue chair in the corner, near the lamp and her drawers full of teacups and dolls. We go through the book a few times; sometimes she leads, sometimes I lead, taking turns choosing the songs. She names the prominent figures in each picture, points to them, describes their colorful expressions; she sounds the words and melody of each song carefully, as if the rhymes will fracture if she's not gentle with them. Her hands turn each page with slow clumsy reverence.
On the train the man sitting in front of me is a U.S. senator. He conducts several long cell phone conversations on the intricacies of law, the impact of proposed policies, and the need to battle government corruption and wasteful spending. Ok, fine, I'll be serious. What he actually discusses is several ways of staying afloat - how to raise money, how to write an indignant press release about an organization that just endorsed his opponent, how to zero in on his opponent's weaknesses. That, and when his driver should be waiting for him when he disembarks from the train. On the plus side, at least he's travelling by train (and not even business class!) rather than jetting around like a lot of his colleagues.