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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…

in-between (there is no name)


The streetlights blink off, and we cross the road in darkness. Our breath hangs in the air. There is a tent of trees going yellow and brown, a wet path, a certain silence reserved for making our way in a dark like this. 

This is the moment, when dawn has not come and the night is surrendering. We are in-between. 

Our steps make soft noises as we weave around the biggest puddles. Old women suck on cigarettes. Young men stick their chins in the air, putting their hands in the pockets of thin coats. A dog pulls hard on its leash. E looks up at me, her face glowing in the dark air. She knows I must go away soon, for some days. This is the last morning we will walk to school together for a little while. 



Later she will jump on the bed and sing some Ramones at the top of her lungs. She will cry for a while in my arms. We will pack a bag with her toothbrush, a comb, her school clothes. I will tuck a fresh empty journal in them, with a message from me on the front page. 

She will ask me later what it says, as no one can read my handwriting. I told her to write it all down, everything she feels when I am away. I tell her it will make her feel better. I promise this. 

"Just like your Monday stories?" She asks me.
"Exactly." I say.

On the plane, I keep thinking of that moment when the streetlights go off, that in-between feeling. Not here, and not there. Not night, not dawn. It has no name.


Comments

Mely said…
Have a safe trip.

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