Covenant A Story
I MET Felix-that’s Seligman, I called him in our conversation-on the twenty-third of December, 1966. I remember the date because it was the date of my wedding. A blizzard had hit Virginia about ten in the morning, so when Felix walked into my parents’ gold-papered hallway, he was splattered with snow-flakes, lugging a suitcase with one hand and holding a wet gone-out cigar in the other. He’s a big man, you know, but the girl he ushered in with him was smaller than I am. Abby wore a black dress. This disturbed me, though later I learned it ought not to have: black is not the color of mourning among Jews.
Felix was our best man. He’d been best friends with my husband since they were both ten years old in Flatbush. In 1966 Felix was one year into the business of getting a divorce from his wife, who, as Ezra explained it to me, had quit sleeping with him six months after they were married, because he’d given up his sales job in order to become a cameraman. He started out non-union, of course, and earned about fifty dollars a week. Now Felix makes in the neighborhood of fifty thousand a year, but now he screws around with heroin. Anyway, the marriage, his marriage, lasted for five years, and then his wife locked him out one night and he moved in with my husband for a while and then he met Abby. Abby is gone from the scene these days, too; I mean, neither Felix nor I see her, but by her choice. But she was pretty and dark and pretentious, and I liked her. My parents also liked her, and adored Felix on sight, and if they’d insisted beforehand that no unwed couple was going to stay overnight in one room in their lovely house that they’d worked all their lives for, as soon as they set eyes on this good-looking pair of people, they changed their minds, and whispered to me that it was okay. I should have been so attractive-the world would open up, don’t kid yourself. Only Felix and his Abigail didn’t stay, after all, because they could afford to be appalled at the prospect of being stranded in the suburbs of Richmond, Virginia.
About the Author
Kelly Cherry, who lives in Virginia, is the author of eighteen books. Her most recent titles are "Hazard and Prospect: New and Selected Poems" (LSU Press, 2007) and "Girl in a Library," a collection of essays (forthcoming from BkMk Press).