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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 …

the strange violin

E cried the whole night and could not sleep, kicking the covers and punching the air above her. I packed my luggage in the dark, as she clung to me, asking why she could not come with me. Over and over I explained that without her mother's permission, I could not take her. Over and over she asked me "why". Impossible for her to accept that one person was keeping her in Moscow.

I made an egg sandwich, and one for her which she would not eat. I barely got her dressed and out the door. Impossible to say goodbye, but somehow leaving her in a doorway tears hot on her cheeks, fingers turning to fists still, I was in the elevator and outside.

Outside, she waited in her green car. Ah, what to call her - my girl? My someone special? Well, let's call her someone who drove me to the airport which is a significant thing to do. And we are late, stuck in traffic as she changes lanes and I remain calm and then more calm, turning her dark hair in my fingers, resting my hand on her leg. She was the nervous one. I knew we would be on time.

And in truth, the flight was delayed so we spent some minutes in the main hall making silly faces at each other as we had only prepared for a fast goodbye, not a slow one.

Now in New York, I wander and meet and drink and say goodbye and hello and eat pizza, take trains and cars, walk with my jacket open looking up at the bright lights. I hold my sister, my baby niece, my old nanny. I drink honey vodka with old friends. I breathe the warm wet air deep inside me, feeling my chest about to pop the buttons on my shirt then let the air out with with a slow hiss, a sort of private smile. The city feels good under my boots. I run into people I know on the sidewalk, their children playing in the snow.

All the while, my heart is not here. It is back with E and my special girl. I am divided - - stretched across the Atlantic. Catgut strings on a strange violin. I am here but not here.

The next day the sun shines so brightly, and I realize I have been living in darkness for months. I stare at it, eyes wide open, not blinking, tears streaming down my cheeks.

Comments

how lucky to split between two such amazing cities.
sad to be missing two special girlz
Annie said…
There are very few blogs that one can simply sit down and start reading - and get all you need to know. Your posts are - each ones - little jewels that are rich with many facets. I'm so glad I landed here this morning!

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