Monday, July 20, 2009


Today is my college roommate's 40th birthday. I remember only because she was born on the day of Neil Armstrong's moon landing. I hadn't really thought about it leading up to today but suddenly it seemed important. I tracked her down on that most controversial of social networking sites, Facebook, but haven't sent her a message yet. I suppose today is the best day to do it, though, I can simply say Happy Birthday! and see what comes of it. It was she who gave me the name I use here, Kizz, actually Kizzy when she christened me. It was one step in the process of redefining me that began when I got that acceptance letter, ostensibly from NYU but really more like being accepted to New York City. With her I negotiated subway inititations and bank accounts and a hundred other little details. I made the tightest French braids my weak fingers could, learning her beautiful, unfamilar hair. Then, less than two years later, her life veered right and I stayed put (Kizzy means "stays put") and we trickled away like branches of a stream.

Facebook makes me nervous. I feel as though it should be treated like a loaded firearm. However, it's been very good to me. While in Seattle I had the loveliest afternoon with a man I haven't seen since I was a freshman in high school. It wasn't awkward at all and it was both a treat and a privilege to discover all the ways he's the same as I remember and thrilling to hear all the ways in which he is so different.

Meeting W the first time was part of my own little moon landing, I guess. College and New York City are at least as far away from my small hometown as the moon is from Cape Canaveral. It would be a much less momentous trip to send a birthday greeting to someone who helped me plant my flag in the home I love. I've got until midnight. How much do you want to bet I do it?


  1. I knew Kizzy meant "you stay put." I read Roots when I was in middle school.

  2. I didn't learn it until a very few years ago when some nice lady was introduced to me on the street and she said, "You know what that means, don't you?" And I didn't. So she told me. I have to say I think she was a little put off that I had no idea.