A random encounter on a train to Toronto leads Melanie Kitzan to a bar in Graffiti Alley and the powerful love story of a new friend.
Smell is one of the most powerful senses. One whiff of a familiar scent can invoke a form of time travel. When Debbie Wilson opened a present containing her mother’s favorite perfume, she didn't know that its scent would transport her back to her childhood. But it did. Suddenly, she was eight years old again wrapped in her mother's love and comfort.
On a sunny dry day, about an hour before the wedding, it begins to rain; the skies open up, dumping torrents of tropical rain, and I say to the family of the bride, “I’m sorry about the rain.”
“It’s a blessing!” they reply.
An hour later, it’s again sunny and dry, and outside the church on the island of Mindoro in the Philippines, the bride is waiting, dressed in her full wedding gown, inside an air-conditioned van.
“It’s a blessing!”
The groom is waiting outside the church, in the increasing heat; he is spotlessly clean and his hair neatly combed.
Greyhound killed our college romance.
She was finishing her B.A. at UVM, I was beginning a Ph.D. at NYU, and the nine-hour bus trip between Vermont and New York slowly eroded love, commitment, and finally, even passion. She graduated, found a job, and got involved with an English literature student. I learned my clinical psychology, tasted the pleasures of New York, and struggled through a dissertation.
But when her literary affair ended badly, she called, and I invited her down to my Greenwich Village apartment for a weekend reunion.
Farmer's daughter that she was, she'd never seen a ship of any size, so we walked down Houston Street to the waterfront. Good fortune — a cruise ship was about to embark. On the decks stood a flock of blue-haired ladies in borrowed mink stoles and a clutch of grey-haired men in new camelhair overcoats, all throwing streamers to those below. Catching the streamers were grown-up sons and daughters, waving and calling to the departing vessel.
“Don't worry!” they shouted. “Don't worry!”
I started to worry.
I worried that I'd be grey-haired before I went anywhere. I worried that by the time I left I'd be too old to enjoy wherever I was going. I worried that when I finally embarked from the Houston Street dock, the last words I'd hear from loved ones would be, “Donnnnn't worrrrryyyyyyy...”
by Adams Jones-Kelley
Love can make you do many things.
It can make you laugh.
It can make you cry.
It can make you build the Taj Mahal.
The epic tale surrounding the construction of the Taj has all the trappings of a Hollywood fiction – tragedy, romance, betrayal, murder – but this fable is true, and is one of history’s great tragic love stories.
The story goes that at the ripe old age of 15, Prince Khurram, who would later become Shah Jahan, fifth Emperor of the Mughal Empire, married 14-year-old Arjumand Banu Begum, and fell desperately in love. He gave his beloved the name Mumtaz Mahal (Jewel of the Palace,) and over the next seventeen years they had fourteen children, six of which survived past childhood.
The seventeenth child died during birth, taking her mother with her.
The Shah was so devastated by the death of his wife that he locked himself away for eight days with no food or water. Legend has it that during this time the image of the Taj Mahal came to him in his dreams, so he emerged from isolation, organized a board of architects, and within a year construction commenced.
by Bethany Ball
Marco and Aliza descended on our house in Nyack New York with their irrepressible energy. Aliza, who is visiting from Israel, is the mother of our dear friend Sagi. And Marco is her boyfriend visiting from his home in Bordeaux, France. They were staying with Sagi in his tiny apartment in Williamsburg and had come over to cook a meal for Sagi and his friends. Marco immediately settled in, a spry, fit man in his early seventies, making the most of our ill-equipped kitchen (I asked myself: Where are my kitchen scissors? Why do I not have large cutting boards? Or serving dishes?). Marco speaks French, Portuguese and Hebrew. Everyone who came for dinner spoke a smattering of one or several of those languages. If we got stuck, Marco spoke to Aliza in French and she translated in Hebrew or English. There was moule (en francais), moulim (b’ivrit) or mussels with a butter sauce that we were instructed to drink. Our friend Anthony (a native New Yorker married to an Israeli) brought lamb kabob and sharpened knives. Kristen, a native Alabaman chopped parsley. Sagi worked the grill, along with my husband. Anthony’s Israeli wife Abi and I chased after our not-quite-two-year olds and filled in the gaps--like searching for kitchen appliances and washing dishes. Abi set the table and tore and folded paper towel for napkins (why do I never have napkins?). Kristen’s boyfriend Etay played DJ, chopped vegetables and teased Marco. “Marco! I put on French music! Just for you.”
“Bah!” he said, making a face, “It is Carla Bruni. She does not sing. She talks!”
“Give us some Yves Montand,” Aliza called out.
Marco served my grilled fish, branzini or Mediterranean Sea bass. He called it by its French name, Loup de Mer.