They say that the only certainties in life are death and taxes. But that night, as I sat around the seder table—single, thirty, and once again eating a dinner of crackers and four glasses of wine—I started to think that maybe the biggest inevitability is monotony. I couldn’t help but wonder: How is this night different from all other nights?
After dunking my parsley in the salt water for the second time that evening, I was reminded of Samantha’s monologue on the pleasures of polyamory. Was it possible that she was right? Does there come a point when “the one” turns into “the two”? It got me thinking: Why is it that only on Passover are we encouraged to double-dip?
It turns out matzah wasn’t the only thing that didn’t rise that night. But in today’s sex-obsessed culture, were we overlooking sad little flatbreads for the everything bagels of the world? I mean, why is it that on all other nights, we indulge in tall, beefy hunks of sourdough—and only tonight, we’re suddenly gaga for the flimsy stuff?
I did find it interesting that a discussion about the bitter ultimately became a discussion about the sweet. And a discussion about the sweet ultimately became a question of the bitter, which led me to wonder if the two weren’t inextricably linked, and if so, would there even be bitter memories if it weren’t for all the sweet ones? And if that’s the case—why would we reserve the horseradish of life for this night, and this night only?
At the end of yet another failed relationship, when all you have left are scars and self-loathing, you have to consider: Are we women actually uptight? Or maybe, are we just… upright? After all, how was I supposed to know that on all other nights, we pay close attention to proper posture, and on this night we all recline? Just, in my case, without a man to recline with.
As our host for the evening retold the story of the four children, I couldn’t help but feel a little bit bad for those kids, pigeonholed into “the wise” and “the wicked,” “the simple,” and “the one unable to ask.” Every person craves definition. We want to be “the writer,” or “the model,” or “the one with the doorman penthouse on Eighty-Second and Fifth Avenue.” But in a city like New York, filled with endless possibilities, has nuance become the new afikomen: impossible to find?
I stopped to gaze at Elijah’s cup, filled to the brim with wine. It made me wonder: Were those days behind me? Against all odds, people hold out hope that twenty-something girls will show up. At parties, twenty-something girls are the guests of honor. Ask any guy, and they’ll tell you they leave the front door open and a glass of champagne on the counter, just for twenty-something girls. I paced back and forth in my Manolos, trying to remember the last time I heard of a prophet in their thirties.
Every seder ends with those same four words: next year in Jerusalem. But I knew what was running through my girlfriends’ heads: next year in Scarsdale. What is it about that gravitational force that pulls married women away from New York City? Ten years ago, we single girls dreamed of one-bedrooms with pre-war features. Why is it that now, an entire chosen people pray north to Westchester?
During dessert, as Charlotte recounted her experience at the waxing salon, I found my mind wandering toward other burning bushes. If Moses could see a sign from God in a pile of kindling, then certainly I could find meaning in the embers of my and Big’s relationship, right?
Later that night, as I tossed and turned in Big’s bed, I got to thinking about my own personal exodus. After all, maybe Miranda was right. Maybe our relationship was a modern-day plague, like frogs or blood or that ex he’s “still close friends with, but really, it’s nothing.” I couldn’t help but wonder: If Moses could open the Red Sea to lead his people to freedom, why couldn’t I open my heart to someone else?
Also, is a baguette bag kosher for Passover?