By: Tobie Helene Shapiro

The Buddhist would not kiss me. He courted me; that is true. And during our courtship he regaled me with Buddhist stories, Buddhist parables, Buddhist lessons and teachings. And I know that he felt very wise. I decided not to test his hypothesis. It didn’t seem right, or fair, or even kind.

He expounded about the awful and soul-disfiguring injuries of his childhood. His father, the son of a famous and revered early twentieth-century artist, was evil incarnate. His mother watched soundlessly, sweetly failing to protect him. His older sisters—crazy, jealous, deranged, angry—all hated him, plotted against him, wanted him silenced in all matters of inheritance from the trust established by the famous-artist grandparent. His younger brother was the only salvageable human being in the lot of them, because his younger brother understood him. His brother, alone, was not a member of the family cabal, the terrorist cell pitted against him.

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