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no invitation

We are at a 3 year old's birthday party in the back room of a cafe. Music is pumping from a tiny speaker. Balloon animals are popping, and waving in the air. A man in a yellow dinosaur costume dances wildly. Parents snap pictures with satisfied smiles on their faces.

A little girl approaches gingerly and stands in the doorway, straying from her parents somewhere inside the restaurant. She cannot be more than three. It must be hard to ignore all of the noise coming from this room packed with celebration. There is a perfect little pony tail at the back of her head. She hesitates, as one foot poises in the air and then rests back down. How to understand that she was not invited. How to understand the laughter, the loose jumping bodies, the presents piled high on the window. None of this connects to her. There is a little plate of food waiting for her back there, in the quiet restaurant. Maybe a warm bowl of soup, thick with noodles. I watch her for some time.

That night, her empty e…

where you get that sugar from?



The city is waking up. Awkward and naked, as if the elastic waistband from underwear marks its hips. Mascara smudged, trash cans are on their sides rocking slightly in a low wind that comes up from the river. The snow is gone here. Forgotten mittens and store receipts, dog shit and rotting leaves. Everything awry.

I don't like sleeping alone on foreign beds, no matter how soft the covers.

I miss you.

I wander in darkness, headlights blooming in my tired eyes. I walk in the gutter, not the sidewalk. The Empire State Building is white, magnificent above me for a little while. I feel a bit like Brando in Last Tango. I want to chew some gum and stick it under a railing. Some mark that says I was back for a few days. Yes, lost. Yes, foolish as ever.


And now it is raining. A fat lady is running for the bus, a smile pasted across her face. The driver waits for her, umbrella crashing into her coat as she disappears inside.

Men wear heavy perfume, and I smell Polo, Ralph Lauren as they pass, thick and mouthy in between the raindrops. There is construction down here. Workers in slick yellow suits are digging a great hole on Fulton Street.
"Yo, Steve." On yells from below. "Yo, Steeeeeeeeeve."

Yes, I am back to eat great bowls of soup alone. To gaze up at the fog hiding the rooftops. To buy birthday presents for my little girl. Maybe a jar of maple syrup.

A lumpy fellow is dressed as the Statue of Liberty, dancing around on a particularly wet corner, passing out flyers. Behind him, a new place that serves the best bacon egg and cheese I have had in a long time. Music is playing, John Lee Hooker.

Sugar,
Sugar Mama,
Sugar all over this town.
Sugar Mama,
Where you get your sugar from?

Comments

Mely said…
Please do not forget to buy Canned Chipotles in your way back to Russia. :) I do not if you have room in your suitcase for them to go alone with the many presents for the lovely and sweet E.

I read somewhere you like them.

So bad you are 3 hours drive from here. I will invite you over for authentic homestyle Mexican.

Have a safe trip.
Annie said…
Brilliant.

You can bring a place to life in words like nobody's business.

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