I light a cigarette. It tastes like childhood; chocolate ice cream and hugging my father when he wore his leather jacket in fall. I don’t even like ice cream anymore. I pass N the lighter, thinking.
“I remember two things very clearly from my childhood: Nine-Eleven, and when Justin Timberlake ripped out Janet Jackson’s boob at the super bowl.” I take a drink. “I can’t help feeling there is something terribly wrong with that.”
N shrugs. “I don’t know who Janet Jackson is.”
I frown. “Seriously?”
“Michael Jackson’s sister?”
I lean back, mouth wide.
N looks in his drink, a gin and tonic. “Do you know Elvis’s sister?”
I eye him suspiciously. “No,” I decide.
“So?” he mocks.
“So what?” I ask, confused.
“So, do you see how annoying that is?”
I take sip of my drink, grumbling. “Well, what was childhood like in Russia?”
N looks out the window. “Cold, lots of bread.”
He doesn’t say anything else. “Thrilling,” I mumble.
“There was one thing,” N says.
I look up, eager.
“There was this girl. She was part of the community my parents lived in. A bunch of philosophers. We really liked each other. I’m going to make another drink.” He stands.
I snuff out my cigarette. “What?”
“No, you finish the story first.”
He sighs. “We really liked each other, and we wanted to have sex.”
“You had sex! How old were you?”
N shakes his head, “We were eight, but no. I mean, when people had sex on TV they were just under the covers, holding each other. So that’s what we did, just laid there.”
“And we stopped, terrified.”
“We didn’t want to get pregnant.”
I burst out laughing. N doesn’t.
“Yeah,” he mumbles.
I lean onto the table. “What?”
“Well, she actually did.”
I look closely for a smile. Nothing.
“N,” I intone, “that isn’t possible.”
N nods slowly, “yeah,” he stands, “yeah. Kids right?”
He starts walking out of the room towards the kitchen.
“What the hell is that supposed do mean?” I call after him. But, he is already riffling in the fridge.