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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…

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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