Monday, 23 June 2014

Emotions by Paul Beckman

     Mother Abromovitch cried making dinner—so happy her whole family would be together. Father cried during dinner because his wife cooked one of his late mother’s recipes, his favorite, flanken and borsht—Sadie style.

     Annie and Jake cried when the family oh-oh-ed over little Aaron. I cried from all the fucking tears around me, and my girlfriend, Margo, squeezed my hand as tears slowly spread down her cheeks.

Do you have any idea what a toll it takes coming from a crying family? You can’t possibly know unless you’re also from one.

     My friend, Anthony tells me I have it good because my family cries from happiness. His family, he says with much rancor, finds the men yelling at their wives and daughters and being free with the swats to them and the boys.

     Anthony loves to have dinner at my house. My mother makes such a fuss over him his eyes tear up and he struggles to get control of himself. I, on the other hand, when I go to Anthony’s house, as infrequently as possible, never cry but I feel a sadness envelope me when his father and grandfather yell at their women for more potatoes or water and never ask for anything and never say thank you or what a fine meal.

     I want to drug those bastards and while they’re drugged spirit the innocent family out of their New Jersey flat and to the mid-west where they will be treated humanely, but Anthony tells me they wouldn’t feel loved or appreciated if they lived in a quiet and polite atmosphere. “They learned from previous generations,” he says. “Accept it.’

     “Are you going to turn out like this when you get married?” I ask him knowing full well it wouldn’t be likely.

     “Probably,” he says. “I’m all ready starting with Marie and the “fuck yous’ go flying back and forth during our time together. And not only at dinner but sitting watching TV or taking a drive. A little pushing around goes a long way in a relationship.”

     “Why?” I ask him.

     “Who else could I model myself after—you’re family? C’mon, Italians are screamers and Jews are criers.

      We both wear our emotions on our sleeves but in different ways. I accept your family; you have to learn to be less judgmental of mine.”

     Me and Anthony saw less of each other and never again over dinner at the other’s house. I went to his wedding and stood by as two fights broke out—one during the ceremony and one during the reception toast. He came to mine and left early, without even making an excuse or saying goodbye, as my bride and I were held aloft on chairs with families singing and crying with joy.

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