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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 …

two steps back, one step forward

The rooms are dark. Some of the luggage still sits in cockeyed piles. Mounds of clothes to wash and iron and fold stare up at me. Coughing, sneezing and bellyaching I wrap a t-shirt across my eyes and go back to sleep after I bring E to school. The wind knocks a door around on the balcony. I smell stale cigarettes from the hallway seeping under the front door.
Yes, I am back.


E is getting perfect fives. 
She tells me she has been saving her lunch money to buy a doll until I explain to her that lunch money is only for lunch. We agree to start giving her an allowance. 
She cries quietly, feeling terrible. I tell her it is my fault, for not explaining things well. 
"Yeah, you screwed up Pop." She says, joking past her wet cheeks.


Things have been breaking. My desk chair's wheels popped off one afternoon, split right down to the bone. The espresso machine sputters then dribbles and now it just sits with lights flashing. They were old. I am not upset. I have been buying things that E's mother forced me to get rid of so many years ago. A black leather peacoat. That orange guitar. A certain camera. A handful of books about angels and the Holy Grail. I wondered if this impulse to replace what had been lost and sold off was a good idea. It seems so hokey, such a soap opera urge. Will I really feel younger, seeing my reflection with this coat on my shoulders? No, that is not the reason. Is this all a going-back? A return, a second chance? No. I just missed these things. I want to pick up from where things left off, to continue with that certain inertia I had ten years ago.





Comments

Things break, M. Chairs, espresso machines, hearts... But your heart seems remarkably intact. So go ahead...Slip into that leather coat. And just so you know...You are the light of my Mondays!

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