Mamelah’s Monologue

My daughter she’s 36, not married – oh yes, I’m very proud she’s got her doctor degree and a good job – though across the whole godforsaken country away – but okay that I could live with if that boy from California – I’ll never forgive her father for paying for that school out there – that boy who painted houses okay he was nice-looking but so what he had no ambition whatsoever you put the two of them together and my daughter is shining with brains – maybe too many, this from her father obviously – that boy he’s dull like goyische pudding with no taste and this is who she says she loves for four whole years okay she was 18 but me at 18 I’m working at the Chrysler Building, MGM New York division and I’m going out with everyone there; everybody wants to go out with the sassy stenographer – one of the salesmen called me that – from Brooklyn okay no movie stars but the salesmen, executives, even my boss but he’s married I say no very politely I like my job you understand and the telephone repairman too – I’m no snob I’m a Democrat and any work is honest work so you can see it wasn’t that he painted houses this California boy just that he had no fire. So then college isn’t enough, she has to go to master college for years she tells me nothing but she’s got good grades: her teacher said this, her teacher said that – this is for her father not me, the great lawyer from Berlin – look I believe in education like every good Jew but what happens if it keeps you from the world, like my daughter? So even master college isn’t enough she’s gotta have the PhD and then my god she says she’s in love with a woman and this I can’t handle, this is worse than the housepainter – her roommate she’s charming, beautiful, like goyische crystal this girl’s got ambition and poise and gorgeous! a Scandinavian bombshell! I thought they were friends all those years, girlfriends like we used to say but now my daughter she says it means something else. Look, I tell her, if you were in the army or in prison godforbid, I could understand it but the two of you you’re wasting your time and your youth with your noses in books and not looking at boys – okay it’s men – now she’s 30 so she and the Scandinavian go their separate ways and next it’s a black boy this I know she does to spite me but anyway he’s married and all the letters behind her name she still takes two years to say good riddance and now she says she wants a baby with no man in sight – she says the “institution of marriage is entrapment for women” – she says maybe a man maybe a woman maybe no one but she’ll have a baby somehow my daughter she goes after what she wants she’s got ambition.

Annie Dawid’s last book, AND DARKNESS WAS UNDER HIS FEET: STORIES OF A FAMILY, is available at amazon.com and at Candy’s Coffees in Westcliffe, where she works part-time as a barista. She reviews prose for High Country News and Colorado Central Magazine.