The fog. Enoch felt secure in its midst.
It muted city sounds. It was a cloak that left the sensation that he was connected, like with a visible spirit, yet separate, suspended.
He always seemed to himself a little distant, out of place. Yes, he played with others, stickball in the schoolyard, punchball, stoopball, roller hockey on the streets, was even good at it. But there was a division between all this and himself that he knew but couldn't fathom.
“Maybe it’s my name,” he thought, walking down narrow 208th Street to a corner candy store -- “Enoch Jubal.” Some his age would call him “Jewboy.”
“Or maybe it’s just me,” he’d think.
Actually, his Hungarian-born grandfather was a Catholic, his grandmother a Lutheran, and Enoch a skeptical communicant in the Catholic church. His grandfather had an Austrian name, Rothpauer, but his drinking buddies called him “Rummy.” “Rummy Jewboy,” the young boys would say, teasing maliciously, when Enoch let on about his grandfather’s nickname.
“Or, maybe I’ll never know,” he thought.
Walking in the fog that day, a wisp of mist rose from the street’s manhole covers. Sewer smell. It carried. He let himself feel enveloped by that too...