Philip Roth’s First and Last: Goodbye, Columbus and Everyman
The first time I saw Brenda she asked me to hold her glasses. Then she stepped out to the edge of the diving board and looked foggily into the pool; it could have been drained, myopic Brenda would never have known it. She dove beautifully, and a moment later she was swimming back to the side of the pool, her head of short-cropped auburn hair held up, straight ahead of her, as though it were a rose on a long stem. She glided to the edge and then was beside me. “Thank you,” she said, her eyes watery though not from water. She extended a hand for her glasses but did not put them on until she turned and headed away. Her hands suddenly appeared behind her. She caught the bottom of her suit between thumb and index finger and flicked what flesh had been showing back where it belonged. My blood jumped.
(Originally appeared, in a slightly different form, in Arts and Opinion and the The Philip Roth Society Newsletter)