Ravishly: Becoming a better listener, too late

Heart shaped sympathy flowersThis essay was originally featured in Ravishly on Nov. 1, 2017.

(Content warning: mental health, implication of suicide)

I remember the exact step on the D.C. metro escalator I was standing on when I got the news. It was just four words long. And with it, everything had changed.

I had just seen her, Giada, two weeks before. Finally, I’d managed to visit her in New York from Washington, D.C. after months of delays due to work, classes, and other commitments. Together with longtime friends, we retraced our old haunts in the West Village, from a kitschy cafe for tea to her favorite bar — Cubbyhole. Then, Giada and I stayed up talking in her shared Harlem sublet until 2 a.m.

In the Italian spirit of hospitality, she whipped up a spread of all the food she’d owned in that cramped kitchen that smelled like old cat litter. She brought out a plate of crackers, nuts, and dried fruit from a drugstore can, oddly festive and filling.

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Brit+Co: Sex and the City and the internet: my strange companions

This essay was originally published by Brit + Co, titled “How an Internet Ad for Rebound Friends Saved Me after a Breakup” on May 3, 2017. It is set in 2005.

Waiting inside Tasti D-Lite that afternoon, Divya looked nothing like a cult follower or an aging Hello Kitty devotee. In fact, her very normalcy was alarming, given that we’d met on Craigslist.

A decidedly trivial thing was to blame for our meeting. Just a few weeks prior, a cab ushered me across the Hudson River a liberated woman who, for the first time in her life, was about to live on her own. That’s when the trivial thing appeared. It nodded a solemn hello on the Manhattan side of the Lincoln Tunnel. It made itself comfortable in my cab loaded with two suitcases, a couple of overstuffed shopping bags, a printer, and a new twin-size sheet set. It squeezed through the closing elevator doors and slipped into my temporary studio apartment. That thing was silence.

“Alright,” I finally said to the silence. “What do you want?”

“Oh, nothing,” the silence indicated. “Nothing at all.”

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Brit+Co: My New York apartment gave me an identity crisis

Red Room photo

This essay was originally published by Brit+Co on April 3, 2017, titled “My First Real Apartment Gave Me an Identity Crisis.” It was republished by Business Insider.

My New York obsession began in childhood, before I could even speak English. All it took was a giant monkey ascending a glowing skyscraper, in a movie theater in Leningrad. I bolted outside and had nightmares for weeks afterwards. But I returned later, to see the movie, King Kong, all the way through: not for the plot, but to be whisked away into the land of glass and steel, so different than the Soviet Union on the verge of collapse.

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Kveller: 6 Parenting Lessons I Learned As a Restaurant Server

This post was originally published by Kveller on Sept. 13, 2016

Waiting tables at a Moroccan restaurant in New York isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think about parenting. If you’re a student who lives off a credit card and walks 30 blocks to save on subway fare, yet splurges on cocktails and believes fatherhood potential and artistic talent are the same thing, children are not in the picture. Continue reading