When I was five, my dad misinterpreted that verse from Leviticus about not cutting your flesh for the dead as a prohibition against piercing your ears, so I never did, and only in high school did I realize I was following a religion of one – and I wasn’t even religious. Even my father eventually forgot about his own radical interpretation. He never noticed when my sisters pierced, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it, just in case he might be right. I still treat my body like a library book on loan, unable to get a tattoo, to smoke, to dye my hair, to lose my virginity. All of this feels, at twenty-five, like a giant antique chair in the middle of an otherwise modernist living room, too clumsy and impractical for the everyday, too good to sell or throw away, though I sometimes sit upon this virginal throne, my ears bruised from cheap Claire’s clip-ons, and I look down on the rest of the world.
© 2021 Jewish Young Professional