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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 …

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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