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no invitation

We are at a 3 year old's birthday party in the back room of a cafe. Music is pumping from a tiny speaker. Balloon animals are popping, and waving in the air. A man in a yellow dinosaur costume dances wildly. Parents snap pictures with satisfied smiles on their faces.

A little girl approaches gingerly and stands in the doorway, straying from her parents somewhere inside the restaurant. She cannot be more than three. It must be hard to ignore all of the noise coming from this room packed with celebration. There is a perfect little pony tail at the back of her head. She hesitates, as one foot poises in the air and then rests back down. How to understand that she was not invited. How to understand the laughter, the loose jumping bodies, the presents piled high on the window. None of this connects to her. There is a little plate of food waiting for her back there, in the quiet restaurant. Maybe a warm bowl of soup, thick with noodles. I watch her for some time.

That night, her empty e…

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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