A diaspora under the midtown stars

A jerk threw Catherine’s head backward, while her eyes opened wide and her hands fell forward to correct her balance. ‘Oh my god, I keep stepping in these holes,’ she added apologetically peering down at her heels. She pulled her heels out of the rubber mats that were spread across the roof top of the penthouse as apartments on the highest floor are called in this section of town. ‘You should have worn flats,’ Sarah giggled, kicking her black velvet slipper up. Sarah was a short girl with straw blond hair over her shoulders, and who studied for her MBA Masters.

‘You know my family are from Russia, or at least my grandfather moved to Belarus at the beginning of the war, because my family is Jewish, searching a debtor in Canada, but then ended up staying in Montreal, then moving to America later on.’
‘Good move.’
‘Well that’s an understatement, he would have been dead like the other half of my family.’
‘So, you’re Russian then?’
‘Well, my mother’s family actually comes from Germany, my grandmother used to tell me how they went to Baden-Baden, you know the spa resort…’
‘Yes, of course…’

‘Although, my family is from everywhere, you know we were able to trace down our family until the 15th century. They were traders who lived in Venice, Morocco, all over Europe. I was in Prague last year, and my mother told me I should go to the Jewish cemetary and look for the biggest stone.’
‘Ah, I went to see it, but you had to pay an entrance fee, so I only peered through the spiles.’
‘Well, I was with four friends and looked for the biggest stone, and it was actually pretty silly, cause I don’t speak or read Hebrew any more, so we couldn’t read the grave’s epithets. But it was nice, to pay our respect we places some pebbles on the top. But then we saw another stone, and we were like ‘hey I think that one is even bigger’ so we placed another stone at the other one too…’
‘So how many pebbles did you end up placing?’
‘Four, but I thought, hey, it is a sign of paying your respect, so in the worst case, we paid our respect to three other dead men.’

I looked at the stars, at the table full of half empty wine bottles, rose, white and red, plastic cups and Pinot Noir/Burgundy glassware. The city streets aligned with yellow streetlights reflected the dim lights of the sky with a surreal brightness. This city was a brilliant home under the stars for Sarah’s tales, this night absorbed her tales without objection.

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