May

from On Beauty, by Zadie Smith

“Mom? Mom–you’re breaking up, I can’t hear you. It’s like a tornado out here. I’ll call you back when I’m out of the city,” said Jerome, which was childish, but for the moment he and his siblings formed an inviolable gang of three, and he would not be the one to break the delicate bond into which a little coincidence had delivered them.  They sat on stools lined up against the windowpane….They caught up with each other’s news casually, leaving long, cosy gaps of silence in which to go to work on their muffins and coffees.  Jerome–after two months of having to be witty and brilliant in a strange town among strangers–appreciated the gift of it.  People talk about the happy quiet that can exist between two lovers, but this too was great; sitting between his sister and his brother, saying nothing, eating. Before the world existed, before it was populated, and before there were wars and jobs and colleges and movies and clothes and opinions and foreign travel–before all of these things there had only been one person…and only one place: a tent in the living room made of bed-sheets.  After a few years, Levi arrived; space was made for him; it was as if he has always been. Looking at them both now, Jerome found himself in their finger joints and neat conch ears, in their long legs and wild curls. He heard himself in their partial lisps caused by puffy tongues….He did not consider if or how or why he loved them. They were just love: they were the first evidence he ever had of love, and they would be the last confirmation of love when everything else fell away.

for David, and nbmjy

About Jessica Yood

I am an Associate Professor of English at Lehman College, The City University of New York (CUNY). Composition and Rhetoric is my primary field and research into the history and emerging role of writing in our contemporary culture continues to broaden my definition of this discipline. Work for my book project takes me into the history of literary criticism in America, complexity theories, the culture wars and the intellectual crises of the 1990s, and the enduring complexity of first-year writing and writers.
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One Response to May

  1. Nora Yood says:

    werd (channeling D). So beautiful, true, evergreen and eternal. Thank you from the place beyond words, even beyond happy quiet — the secret space where pure love endures and sustains.

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