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every other man

The light outside the main entrance to our building has gone out again. The heavy metal door swings wide as I pull a hat down over my ears. In the darkness there are maybe twenty teenagers standing still. My boot scrapes across the ground, slowing down. Their hands in pockets, shoulders hunched, I look for a space to pass between them. A voice appears, saying hello in English, with an obvious accent. I am all instinct, sayingpivyet as I pass, not looking back, wondering who said this. There was a boy that was an extra in Blackbetty that lives in our building, but he is too young, too short for it to have been him.

I look back, navigating the puddles in the street. It does not make any sense.

N is with V, making their way home. I meet them, pulling V into my arms as she chatters about her day, about dry leaves and princesses, about her grandmother's apartment and what she ate there. We are going back home, and I try to explain the odd collection that stands outside. As we pass th…

heavy weighs the crown

I've been living on the 9th floor of a building that resembles a castle for a week now. There is a little grey kitten that sometimes sleeps on my feet, but more often makes a lot of noise in the middle of the night. There are giant windows that look out on a hard black sky, and double plumes of smoke curling slowly towards the stars. There is a half-broken chair in the kitchen. There is a washing machine I'll eventually have to figure out. I need dishes and light bulbs and forks and spoons. I need to get the drain in the bathtub working better.

I understand why divorced and separated men become so depressed. Somehow, they must pay for everything their family requires, and take care of themselves at the same time. Waking up with empty beer bottles, hoping the milk is still OK, hoping they have coffee. Hoping girls still find them funny, attractive, interesting. Looking in the mirror, sucking in your gut, wondering how your socks never seem to match.

The sky glows a pale blue now. There is a hard, crisp snow falling. It makes little bell sounds against the windows. The cat pushes against my feet.

My daughter's toys and clothing litters the floor and I leave them there, to feel like she is just in the other room.

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