She says every woman should own a little black dress, and during the time she tries them on I am thinking what she meant was every man should be married to and in love with a woman who wears a little black dress as well as she does, but I say It looks really nice on you, You should buy it, and I think, I will find events to which you can where it frequently, because it looks so good on you, and you in that little black dress make me look so good standing next to you, and men, although they will never admit it, are all so often about reflected glory.
She says the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. He doesn’t have the heart to tell her That on a cosmic scale space is curved and no one wants the short straw anyway. She can, of course, read him, a skill she knows is reserved for women and is one of frustration to men. She laughs, and adds as if an afterthought there is a wormhole in the neighborhood. He has no idea what to make of her, and this is how she wants it for she and he both know so very well that the shortest distance between the male and female mind is a leap of logic only the most daring would attempt.
I imagine to myself that this is my house abutting on my small portion of this street sitting on my small patch of land I pay the mortgage and the taxes, so I am entitled to rent this delusion just a bit longer, and it all works, until I stop and think But before I got here, long before the man we bought this house from, and the women he bought it from before that, long before this house stood here, or the nursery it replaced, long before all of that, others lived here, and they believed their longhouse was communally theirs, that the land was theirs to hunt and gather under a precious loan from the Sky Woman so long as they treated with reverence. I give up that thought as well when the birds remind me their feeders are empty.
I’ll be there soon, so hang in there just a bit longer. I do want to meet the beautiful young woman you mentioned in our calls, or is there more than one, because while your vision is supposed to be good, it seems almost all women younger than a certain ever-increasing age are now beautiful to you. I don’t want to tell you I’m coming, you’d forget anyway, and it could agitate you, so I’ll just show up and hope you remember me or can cover well, and we’ll visit. I know the week after we see each other you’ll ask when I’m coming to see you, and like I have for years, I’ll say, “Soon, dad” and I know you’ll be smiling in anticipation.
Ninety-six years ago today Women gained the right to vote. It would be another five before those who preceded the lot of us were blessed with citizenship, the least we could offer, after our prior gifts of disease, alcoholism and down sizing. Who, our forebears must have imagined, wouldn’t want to live somewhere they had a reservation in their name we had given them, their land taken with their language, no longer useful in our shared world. The King of France allowed only the Jews to be moneylenders, reserved space in each town for us as well, for which we are still told we should be thankful, but you have no idea how to say so in Navajo.
My mother wanted to tell me of my great-grandmother, a woman she barely knew, but who she imagined more fully that life itself would ever have allowed. History, in her hands was malleable, you could shape it in ways never happened. She wanted to tell me but she knew that her grandmother wouldn’t approve of adopting when your womb was perfectly serviceable, certainly not for a man more than a decade older who could not uphold his most sacred obligation. She wanted to tell me, but I am adopted and this woman can be no more than a story of passing relevance to me.