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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 …

red, yellow, blue, green.

Spring in Moscow smells like oil paint and mud. Handfuls of black haired workers paint everything in sight, dripping fire engine red and egg yolk yellow, splashing middle blue and acid green on every banister and bench, every gate and metro entrance. They lounge in their coveralls, smoking cigarettes, eyeing everyone on their way to work. Everything is soft and wet and sticky, as one more layer of paint dries slowly in the sun. Everything I see has gotten a little bit thicker, cruder, more grotesque. I imagine the city will eventually become one giant lump decorated in these 4 childish colors.

The half-empty wine bottles on the kitchen table look beautiful the next morning. Coffee tastes especially delicious. Now E draws pictures of me with a guitar, or clouds and flowers and little birds. Sometimes N is half asleep, bringing my hands to her body in the warmth of the covers. There is a fragile peace and balance to my days now. And now the old wounds are naked in the sun, white and twisted like spiderwebs that could not fully be brushed away.

There is a new restlessness worming its way inside me. There is nowhere to hide here. And maybe, no reason to.

Today I saw a child's toy abandoned on the sidewalk - a little lamb, staring up at me.

Helpless, was my first thought. The next, was to buy something to scrape paint away, down to the bare metal.


Comments

willwilisovsky said…
Ah, but there is no metal.
This city is made of paint.
The rest is silence Brother Marco

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