Sister Nancy calls me Larry David. True. I strive to violate arbitrary norms, like Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Nancy often asks how I am, expecting a simple, I’m good.
How does one expect me to hide my feelings? Especially Nancy, who once said the world needed kindness, quoted Emerson. Something about not being kind too soon.
I’ve lost teaching jobs, refused to take back comments I’ve made about fellow teachers being lechers and hypocrites, well-known facts. I’ve lost girlfriends. Homes. Nancy’s a writer, navigating editors. Issuing sterilized statements about inspiration. Muses. Fawning before authors she despises. I pity new Nancy, withdraw into Larry David.
I step up the questioning.
With Nancy and the world, I question cutting in lines with tacit approval. Backwards baseball caps. Eating before you pay. Even riding in the front seat, an echo of a classic Curb episode with Ben Stiller.
Nancy calls me an asshole. Lectures about love, responsibility.
Some nights, aloneness is amplified, like the cosmos. I think of how Nancy and I used to fight, slinging terms like dumbass and douchebag. Afterwards, we’d buy each other gifts. Nabokov for her, Wagner or Tchaikovsky CDs for me.
It was idiotic. Yet I relished those shared rituals, connection and blood among chaos. Acknowledgment of love, that uncool thing. I think of nicknames we used, Nan and Nicky, when the fights were over.
I keep on questioning, conceal tears. Larry wouldn’t give in, express regret. Larry is strong, I think, with hesitation.
Lots of hesitation.
Yash Seyedbagheri is a graduate of Colorado State University’s MFA program in fiction. His story, “Soon,” was nominated for a Pushcart. Yash’s stories are forthcoming or have been published in Café Lit, Mad Swirl, 50 Word Stories, and Ariel Chart, among others.