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the empty

The fat girl as they call her, came to school with a hypodermic needle in her backpack. It may have been to defend herself, it may have been to instigate something. She comes from a broken home and this is her second or third school. E steers clear of her, and the bullies she tangles with. It was never understood  - how things began, who threw the first insult, the first punch, the first grabbed book but the end is a chronic cycle of violence. At one point, the girl's mother got the police involved and this was seen as offensive, a step too far. The police did not resolve anything so it was all just a lot of saber rattling. That is the most common sound here. The empty threat.

Last week, there was a sobrani, sort of a cross between a parent-teacher conference and a school meeting. I was busy, so E went by herself and took notes. Five minutes in she messaged me, that I was wise not to be there. Nothing about this girl was going to be resolved.
"Boys will be boys" was all …

drawers and windows

When I travel, I don't really concern myself with the drawers in the bathroom, or what closet has hangers. Everything stays in a piece of soft luggage, dirty clothes systematically on the bottom. When I sleep on a friend's couch, and offer to cook dinner - -I forget what drawers have the spatulas, or a corkscrew, no matter how many times I stay there.

In this new place, I still feel temporary. I've tried to put shaving things where they should be, toilet paper where it can be found. But it doesn't feel real yet, even though I know it is home. It smells like my chili, and the coffee grounds and the eggshells I should throw. The closets are getting full of jeans and cameras and guitar tuners.

Maybe it's because I had to get rid of most of my books when I had to leave the US. Books on a shelf are significant in a house. It's the first place I look when I visit one - -not judging...more wondering what we have in common.

I have to cart things from the old place in a giant rolling piece of orange luggage, sliding over humps in the snow. I brought a pile of E's books before mine. I did bring one - - a 1st English edition of Rilke's The Roses and The Windows. I can still remember finding it in my college library, reading the whole thing standing there in the stacks.

I keep it on the windowsill for now. It feels cold when I touch it in the morning, having coffee.

Comments

The Expatresse said…
I gave away 17 boxes of books when we moved to Moscow from Bratislava. We still have tons, though. We both live in fear of having nothing to read.

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