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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…

the sculpture garden


Emerging like a white slug, its pale underbelly translucent in the afternoon sun. That is how Spring came. Soft, pathetic, vulnerable. I see creosote black chunks of snow on the dead grass. I sense the dust in the air, not early flowers, just a burnt chemical smell, of ozone. Spring is late, with a half-baked apology in its coat pocket.

The windows are open. Stray dogs are sleeping in loose groups in the mud, no longer fighting over bones from the trash, no longer running up and down the icy sidewalk looking for handouts. Their vacation has begun.

I feel uncomfortable, lost.

In the back pocket of my jeans is a piece of paper that went through the wash. Pages fused together, unrecognizable, but clean. That is how I feel. Peel me apart and you will find nothing but some scribbles that were soaped and spun into nothing. A few letters to trace, a receipt for some vegetables.



I get E to school on time. I pick her up like a Swiss clock, turning the corner of the playground at 6 every day. She loves her birthday toys so much. They keep her awake late, until she is exhausted.

N comes and goes like a little bird, chirping jokes in my ear. She grows more beautiful to me every day.

But when I look in the mirror, my face looks thousands of miles away.

Last night I dreamt about a sculpture garden. It was a memory crammed full of details. I think it was in Munich, about 15 years ago.


The place is lush and green. Great trees throw long shadows across thick grass. People move in small groups. Women's arms are draped through the elbows of men. Hushed conversations are shared. There is a faint smell of lilacs. We move on a great rise overlooking the city - but what city? It is not Munich. It looks more like Rome now. The sculptures are bronze - patinaed and smooth. I rest my hand on one, feeling the chill of Spring now. A guard comes towards me, waves me off. You are not supposed to touch them.

The sculptures are realistic, perfectly proportioned - all caught in perfect gestures. Dolphins, dancing maidens, a lion, a wedding. I wander the place, doubling back across small paths, seeing and re-seeing them. Music is swirling around my head - Claire de Lune by Debussy, playing over and over. It is a magnificent place. It gives me goosebumps. I spend long afternoons here, eating some lunch on a bench. The silence is intoxicating.

I wake up, and try to remember visiting this place. I search for it on the computer, and understand I have never been there, because it does not exist. 

But I know the park. I have surely been there.

Comments

Omgrrrl said…
A. Spring is late, with a half-baked apology in its coat pocket. FREAKING BRILLIANT!

2. You have been there. You felt the sculpture.

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