eet me by the Fish’r King.” “Where?” “Near the deli that closed, it’s near the place we used to go.” “The first place or the second place?” “It depends how you define it. What will GOODBYE TO THE ROAD NOT TAKEN BY A.M. HOMES M you be wearing?” he asks. “It’s not that kind of meeting,” she says. “If you’re not on one corner you’ll be on the other. Even from across the street, I’ll see you. It’s not like I don’t know who you are.” “I’ll have an umbrella,” he says. “These days I always have an umbrella, I like to be prepared. And I’ve discovered it has many uses—almost like one of those utility tools, like a pocket-knife.” Two days pass. “So here we are,” he says. “Imagine that, me bumping into you, here on this corner where in the past we spent so much time waiting for the lights to change.” “You didn’t bump into me, we made a time to meet so I could give you your mail. Why do you need to turn a fact into fiction?” He shrugs. “Polite conversation?” “And by the way, why this corner and not the usual?” “Oh,” he says, knowing exactly what she is talking about. “I don’t go there anymore.” His tone implies that whatever hap- pened there was so bad that he hasn’t shaken it off. “What do you mean you don’t go there anymore, that was your place, you went there every day, it was like a religious event—” She could go on but he cuts her off. “I got into a fight with the guy.” “A fight? You don’t fight with anyone. What was it about?” “Who was next in line.” “And like that you just stopped going?” “I did,” he says proudly. “He let someone cut the line. So I stopped going. I wanted to show myself that I can be definitive, that I can stick to something.” A moment passes. “You seem upset.” “It’s a little frightening,” she says. “The idea of you, a little . . . hamantaschen, getting into a fight.” She pauses. “I’m sorry if that sounded anti-Semitic.” “When one Jew insults another it’s not antisemitism, it’s self-hatred.”


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