Excerpt From Essays on Mourning

I think my father would have liked me to date guys like my physics teacher, Mr. Murphy. Mr. Murphy was tall, like my father and had light colored hair. He didn’t wear glasses and he even though his teeth were a bit buck he smiled a lot. Mr. Murphy was the kind of high school teacher you see in the movies. A sort of To Sir with Love kind of teacher. Only white. He was the only one of our teachers who would come outside with us at recess and we would swarm around him. I can’t remember what he talked about only that he made us laugh a lot. He always seemed so happy and you could tell that he loved physics.

My boyfriend, David took private physics lessons from Mr. Murphy. Because I was from this generation who venerated mathematical abilities and I was among its ranks I judged David’s lack of mathematical talent and interpreted it as his not being smart enough. Never mind that years later he became a multi-millionaire from running his own business. But how was my narrow mind capable of foretelling that? And that wasn’t the only obstacle in my relationship with him. That he came from a family of lawyers and that his father was a judge didn’t help. My father’s dislike of lawyers was not only in the soft way people might make jokes about lawyers being so materialistic and callous but whenever he spoke about lawyers his teeth would clench up, his Polish complexion redden more than it already was and his body would become crisp. I never knew what had made him hate lawyers so except that to him they were a bunch of crooks and my liking David felt somewhat like a betrayal towards my father.

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