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you are not there

We are taking the little one for a ride on her new sled. It is bright orange, with a fuzzy black and white seat cover to keep her extra warm. Her tiny hands in tiny gloves hold the sides as tight as she can. I pull her down a path, shouting "woohooo" and then she replies "woohoo". N's turn is next, pulling her more schoolgirl than mother for a few minutes. There are other parents with children on sleds passing us. Their eyes straight forward, faces completely blank they slip by in silence. I flash a smile to them, and they do not even look at me. I am not there, just another tree leaning towards the stream that runs below.

There are ducks still, flapping around the brackish water and we throw pieces of stale bread to them. I start to think, not about the complete absence of smiles in this culture. I stopped asking about that long ago, told over and again that smiles are reserved for home, behind closed doors. But I wonder, for the children -  these wiggling bu…

black and white (five years)

Faces, the same. The old woman in the underpass holding that yellowing and split piece of tupperware, eyes lowered. No one gives her loose change. 

There is new snow on the windowsill. I am waking up with a headache in the darkness, the black dot of Monday growing bigger. It is here now, with the stench of diesel and electricity. There are wet footsteps in the snow. E holds my hand tight, slipping on the ice as we turn corners. Walking in silence, the flakes still falling, this winter holding on and on. 

Faces are staring off at nothing with tired, pickled expressions. The wet, sour life repeats its song. 

The black dot grows and grows. Five years here now.


I was a guest in a man's house. He took us to an empty room - just a sofa at one end, and a massive stereo that sat on the floor. Drunk on good wine and limoncello, he put on Invitation to the Blues, by Tom Waits. The sound was magnificent, wrapping around us, bouncing off the hardwood floor. E was downstairs, playing with some kids. N was next to me.

I rested my head on her shoulder and closed my eyes.




Comments

liv said…
A bittersweet anniversary. Wish it wasn't so.

Winter seems to be hanging on everywhere, but it can not last forever. It's a bully isn't it? Don't let it get you, you have big fish to fry .... and eat. And limoncello - sunshine in a glass to chase the bully away. Hope it worked for at least a moment.

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