Issue 51 (July 2016)
Somewhere in downtown Toronto, a homeless black man had shoes whose soles were flapping. He refused to give them up, no matter what people said, no matter what people offered. They were the first things he ever bought in Canada, the shoes he wore to his wedding, so long ago. The wedding that was supposed to mark the beginning of a new life, a good life in Canada.
Chana Finkelstein made a golem baby. She was washing beets in her kitchen sink when she got the idea. The beet roots always had clumps of clay clinging to them. She held that first little glob of clay in her hand, and the heft of it was a bright pinprick of surprise. It was substantial, dense, like a dream when every word is weighted. She rolled it between her palms, and it became a snake. The snake whispered to her, adom, red. Her Hebrew wasn’t so great, but she knew from her years teaching Sunday school. Adom, red. Dam, blood. Adama, earth.
Adam, the first man, fashioned of clay.
Naturally, since the disastrous incident, Abba wouldn’t let her out of his sight. But Ita had changed. All week during Hanukkah she did not once doze off as in previous years; this time she stared long and hard into the flames until they flickered out. She felt the light healing her soul and her fears. She was not afraid of Wolf any more at all, despite what happened to Grandma. On the contrary, she was starting to realize that she had all the power and Wolf had nothing but impulses. Moreover, he was afraid of her.
Hope Chatterjie will be known as the greatest artist of the twenty-third century, perhaps even the entire Third Millennium. Her name will forever be linked with Waterfall — not surprising considering she spent six years of our lives, and billions of other people’s credits, creating it.
And my name will forever be linked to Hope’s. I was her model, her muse, and her wife. And, of course, her widow.