As children we used to play a game called Broke or Not Broke. We would break or not break a twig, a cookie, a shard of plastic and hold it up to one another. “Guess,” we would say, “broke or not broke.”
You were allowed to use other tricks to fool each other– crease the object or nearly break it. You could hold it delicately from the ends like you would hold a broken object. “Broke,” one would guess. “Nope!” and joyously let the tender grasp go and wave the stick around joyfully, “not broke.”
I am in Brooklyn now: finally, indefinitely. Thank god. And for the most part I am no longer playing the adult version of Broke or Not Broke.
In a few months, so many people that I love will be here, too. In one year, even more of them. In the meantime, I’m running through the game with myself, my work, my friends, my relationships– a big stack of plans I was getting excited to tick off.
Two weeks ago I retired from one job after just over ten years. Someone is trying to fool me. I am strategically creased in the middle. I am holding you together delicately by the ends and pushing. For once it is you and not me who is either. Thank god for leaving academia. Thank god for the end of both/and. I am not both Broke and not broke.
There is no 401k. I have a new job now– one that recast the words written on my body into jokes or Calvinism. I am learning a new job and have a folding chair in my cubicle for people to pass by and teach me things. I am learning how to encode, correct, distribute.
At night I go home to an apartment full of roommates and realize how much I missed having an apartment full of roommates. I never want to live alone again. We try to work the DVR. Our boots lean against each other in the hall. One makes a chocolate pie and nearly drops the unfilled crust off the edge of the counter. I catch it with my fingertip, rearrange the refrigerator magnets to spell FAMOUS TALLEST WOMB, I make a pile of clothes for EEM to hang up. For once it is you and not me that is either. It doesn’t matter when I lock myself out because someone else is coming home soon. Even if you held it from the edges– even if you sawed right down the center– even if you folded it over and over until it was so weak it nearly gave. This whole home.