It was the second night of Passover and we were invited to a Seder at Allie and Ryan’s place next door. I knew I didn’t have to worry about the Angel of Death stuff this time around because … well, you know.
The non-Jews among you probably didn’t get that joke and I’m not going to explain it, other than to suggest that you spend the next four hours watching The Ten Commandments.
After downing a few cocktails and stuffing my face with gobs of old-school chopped liver (it tasted way better than that sounds), we got down to Jew business and began reading from an Americanized Haggadah, a sort of holiday guide book for Maura, Ryan and the rest of the non-Hebrew speakers, meaning almost everyone at the table.
The evening was filled with lots of prayers (followed by lots of wine drinking), rituals (hiding matzoh and eating bitter herb—my new favorite rap name) and listening to some very catchy songs, concluding with the classic crowd pleaser “Dayenu.” Small disclosure: When I was a kid, I thought it was “Die, Anu!” and I was never quite sure who Anu was and why everyone wanted him dead.
After we polished off the gefilte fish, chicken soup, brisket, mashed potatoes, kugel and other Semetic delicacies (shout-out to our very pregnant hostess, Allie, and her mom’s family recipes), the conversation turned to less Jew-y things. I don’t recall the exact context, but one thing led to another until I heard the question I had been dreading ever since Rob died.
“So, do you have any kids?” asked John, a half-sloshed thirtysomething who was sitting directly across from me.
As soon as he said the word kids, I felt Maura tense up next to me, and in a split second I played out all the possible answers in my head: Should I tell this dude who I met for the first time a few hours ago what happened to Rob? Do I say that I have one son or two? Or one son who is alive and another who sleeps with that Anu guy?
“I have two sons,” I said.
“Where do they live? John politely asked.
“One’s in Tampa and the other one’s out here,” I answered.
And that was it. The conversation moved on, as I deftly avoided becoming the biggest Passover buzzkill since Moses was forced to carry out God’s dirty work.
I told Caryn about the whole megillah the next day.
“So it finally happened,” I said. “Someone asked me the kid question last night.”
“This is what I tell people,” she said calmly. “I say that I have two sons. One is in Tampa and shoots and edits video for a beauty products company. And the other is in Long Island and he’s not doing much of anything right now.”
I laughed and said, “Dayenu.”