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cold nostalgia

There is a note, stuck to the front entrance of our building. The hot water will be turned off for ten days. This is something that happens every summer, although it snowed a week ago and children wander the playgrounds in ski hats these days. At night it can be 40 degrees fahrenheit.  The hot water is always turned off like this, at some point during June or July. It is a long-standing Soviet tradition, and people begrudgingly accept it here. But the baby, V does not. She wants to stand in a hot bath before she goes to sleep, to splash and pour water all around her, and N. She wants to stand and wiggle her tiny hands under the spout, as she grows pink and clean, as she howls and shouts for us to see what new trick she has improvised. There is no explanation for her, why the hot water is off today, and will be tomorrow. She is angry, furious even.

I used to buy the story that this offered a chance for the water department to fix pipes, to take care of routine maintenance. Hot water c…

Wake up, no Katz's


She wakes me up with three light knocks on the door, then runs back to bed pulling the covers up to her chin. I lay her clothes out on a chair and make coffee. In a choreographed silence she stands, waiting for me to button her shirt. I sip from my red cup, already cold, already spotted with milk like an alligator's skin.

Yes, everything is there in the bag. We go out, her hand tight in mine and then she begins to talk. She tells me the clouds are moving, just very slowly. She tells me that in Paris it rains a lot. She tells me that people who are evil have bad smells coming out of them.

Inside, her teacher studies us, the measured movements, the balancing on one foot as she pulls off boots and slips into Mary Janes. Me, fixing her hair after the red hat comes off, the kiss on the forehead, the nod of her tiny chin.

I am already exhausted, already missing the messy freedom of July.


Sometimes I just want to stick my head out a window and scream for a long time. Sometimes I want to call in sick, and be responsible for nothing.

I want to go home.

I want E to go to Katz's for hotdogs with mustard and kraut on Fridays after school. I want to take her on long walks in Central Park and see the parade of dogs and strollers, of leaves and bicycles and roller skates. I want to go to Coney Island and say goodbye to summer, like I did every September in New York.


She dances at a party, hands in fists, feet high in the air. E stomps and wiggles with a gleeful desperation, with defiance. I twirl her, spin her, throw her up in the air above my head.

Anyone that can dance like that will survive.




Comments

liv said…
That picture!!
There is a lifetime of expression in that tiny face. So much said with those swollen little eyes.

Don't hold that scream in, Marco. It won't do anything good for you, burning it's brand into your chest. People who scream like that - will survive.
Mely said…
Oh! Please do scream.

Maybe it helps a little.

Mely
Marco North said…
I do a bit of screaming sometimes under an AKA. Go here. http://martinruby.bandcamp.com/track/eadie
Ryan Romanchuk said…
where did summer go :(
Screaming, crying, blogging: all great ways of expressing your pain. Be happy you two.

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