Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Camp Boy


It started with one of those stupid Facebook "where did I meet you" posts. I don't know why I copied to my page, but I did. Slowly, comments started filling up the space on my wall.
"Camp" said my very first boyfriend, a curly haired Canadian slightly on the dorky side, but cute, nonetheless. I smiled and clicked like and then went on with evening.

Then, up popped an instant message:

Camp Boy: Such strange circumstances on how we met really

Me: What was so strange?

Camp Boy: If I remember correctly, you were part of a prank that some of the girls wanted to play on me…

Me: What? I have no idea what you are talking about. I would never be that mean.

I stared at the screen, puzzled. I'm a lot of things, but I'm not a mean girl. I've always thought of him as my first boyfriend and I remember really liking him.

Camp Boy: Lol... I never knew that until just now…Then I know exactly how it all went down then. Kinda nice to hear the other side after all these years

I do remember those girls though. They were mean girls.

Me: They probably told you that because they didn't like me either

Camp Boy: I honestly thought for so long that you were in on it

Me: well, I'm sorry because that really sucks that people would even do that. Think of all the therapy bills you could have saved.

Camp Boy: No kidding. Scared me off dating and relationships for years.

What? Did he just say that my 13 year-old self ruined him? Did I just become the villain in someone else's narrative?

Me: I feel so terrible

Camp Boy: But hey... it all strangely works out in the end. Although, I still can remember telling you off and that was pretty harsh.

I have no recollection of him telling me off. I just remember camp ending and that was it.

Camp Boy: But in the end...i guess it all made me who I am. I'm glad you're pleased with your life now...perhaps it's one of those strange things that just work out somehow


Camp Boy: You and I should really reconnect some time. Apparently we'd have a lot of catching up to do. I guess now I know that you were my first actual girlfriend. How glad am I that I finally found out the truth. 
Man, I remember really liking you.

Me: I remember liking you too.

Camp Boy: That really puts a smile on my face…Philly isn't too far.

Me: From Canada?

Camp Boy: Toronto to Philly is an easy road trip…
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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Baby Blue

My mom, my sister, and baby Shoshi
 My mother never cried or screamed or dramatically threw herself on the floor yelling out, “Why G-d?” when I, her youngest child, was born blue and barely breathing. Heart, oxygen, hole. Ventricular septal defect, Tetralogy of Fallot. These terms thrust themselves into my parents’ vocabulary. However, my mother proudly showed off her highly advanced daughter when I sat up at four months. (truthfully, it helped me breath)   A tiny elf, barely sixteen pounds at one, I scooted on my butt instead of crawling.  

Despite not drinking, smoking or taking anti-depressants (unfortunately for everyone), the second opinion doctor or, as my mother refers to him, That Fucking Asswipe, insisted she was somehow at fault for the genetic fluke. She ignored him. At sixteen months, after the first surgery that connected the artery from my right arm to my heart, left a machete-like scar, she insisted I wear it like a badge of honor. After the surgery, when I scooted across the floor, my ability to breath made it harder to find me. Then, to my mother’s delight, out of my blue lips came, not just a first word, but a sentence: “I want that red balloon.” Slow walking followed suit, with the occasional, “Wait, mommy, I gotta sit down.”  
Baby Shoshi not looking Blue

Three years passed between surgeries.  For the second, my parents flew our family across the country, dropping my older sister at summer camp, while we spent June at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City. 

“It was like a roach motel,” My mother laughs at the memory. “We had three choices: sit in the room, walk around the sketchy neighborhood, or sleep at your grandparents in the Bronx. Clearly, I slept with you in your room.” When baseball great, Dave Winfield visited my room, I traded my new Dave Winfield baseball card for my roommate Junior’s sparkly Michael Jackson card.  When it came time for surgery, the nurses put an oxygen mask over my teddy bear’s mouth. A week after surgery, I ran down the hall to my heart surgeon. (My mother notes, “I haven’t seen you run since."). My only real complaint was the terrible taste of pure potassium they forced me to drink for weeks after.

As I grew, the cardiology visits were a yearly ritual; my parents and I sat in a dark room listening to the unsteady beating of my heart.   The shwoosh, shwoosh, shwoosh, long pause, shwoosh, shwoosh was magic to my mother’s ears.   And now, despite the blue, despite the labored breathing, the surgeries and the scars, I have babies of my own. And my babies...are pink.

The Great Rabbi, The Queen pink babies

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