Jan/Feb 2020 • Vol. XLII No. 1 |

The Forgetting Diary

1 I forget my best friend’s birthday for what I think, as far as I can remember, is the first time. Ella is Russian, and birthdays are a big deal, so I decided to put aside our disagreements for the day. I remembered her birthday the night before, but wishing a Russian happy birthday before her birthday is bad luck. By the time I remember again, the day has passed. These things are also bad luck: hugging someone in a doorway, putting empty beer bottles on the floor, placing keys on a wooden table. At the beginning of our friendship, I felt like a walking bad-luck charm. Whenever I unknowingly invited misfortune, Ella would look at me like I’d left the milk out overnight and she’d discovered it soured in the morning. I learned to respect her superstitions but also to tune them out. I was confident sitting at the corner of a table wouldn’t doom me to remain single forever. “Did you ever sit at the corner of a table?” I

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Shoshana Akabas teaches writing at Columbia University. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania in English and organic chemistry and holds an MFA from Columbia University in fiction and literary translation. Most recently, her writing has been featured in the Washington Post, American Short Fiction, Believer, and Electric Literature.

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