Elba in Brooklyn

I met Sister Elba on one of the nights I cheated on Jane. The nun, dressed in full habit, stood on the sidewalk in front of my building, shivering. It was January in Brooklyn. “I’ve lost my keys,” she said, and I lowered my eyes to the sidewalk, ashamed. I invited the nun upstairs, where I could call the building manager, but my hospitality was motivated not by neighborly friendliness, or even empathy, but rather the happy realization that with the nun by my side, Jane could not question me. The nun had a round, soft face and red cheeks; I believed Jane might greet her like a pious teddy bear. After Jane’s miscarriage three months earlier, a part of me died, and I didn’t know if that part was God or the chunk of my heart that contained all my love for Jane. Neither the rabbi nor my therapist nor Jane’s incessant questioning of me helped to shed any light.

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