MEDITATIONS ON MY SENSITIVE SOUL

This little sketch is a tribute to the genius of Mary Gordon, a distinguished novelist and Barnard professor who truly represents feminism at its finest. Please comment nicely!

I meet my friend for lunch in the park. We are both women, and we want to be alone together to discuss how superior we are to the everyday people around us. We try not to feel put upon when they come too close and pet our big dog.

"It's such a burden, being compassionate," my friend sighs. "Sometimes I feel that my soul is too big for my body." She works for the poor night and day, somewhere far from the upscale campus where I teach English literature. I admire her goodness so much that I never ask for details.

"We're so different from the people around us. Sometimes I think they don't have souls at all. The truth is, I don't think anyone is really human but me." My friend is the only person who can understand how much it hurts me to recognize this.

The two of us rent a movie together, all about a teenage boy who rapes and kills without remorse, until the government injects him with drugs that make him feel sick every time he remembers his past crimes. My friend and I both wish we could get our hands on a drug like that. So many of the people around us are not as sickened by evil as we are.

"Doggie, nice doggie," drools a homeless black man in a Nirvana t-shirt, attempting to pet our big dog and demonstrate that he is as complex and self-aware as we are. My friend has a pained look on her face as she shoos him away.

"Nirvana sucks," I say, trying to lessen the pain my friend obviously feels at hurting someone so pathetic and useless.

"It's true," my friend admits. "But are we really being fair? Both of us demand perfection from an imperfect world."

"It's a world we never made," I insist. We leave the park, which is located in central Manhattan, not far from the spot where my Irish ancestors once roasted a whole black family alive for being too poor and living too close by.

On the way out the park gate, my dog leaves a present for the poor beneath a tarnished and long-forgotten statue of Abraham Lincoln.