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every other man

The light outside the main entrance to our building has gone out again. The heavy metal door swings wide as I pull a hat down over my ears. In the darkness there are maybe twenty teenagers standing still. My boot scrapes across the ground, slowing down. Their hands in pockets, shoulders hunched, I look for a space to pass between them. A voice appears, saying hello in English, with an obvious accent. I am all instinct, sayingpivyet as I pass, not looking back, wondering who said this. There was a boy that was an extra in Blackbetty that lives in our building, but he is too young, too short for it to have been him.

I look back, navigating the puddles in the street. It does not make any sense.

N is with V, making their way home. I meet them, pulling V into my arms as she chatters about her day, about dry leaves and princesses, about her grandmother's apartment and what she ate there. We are going back home, and I try to explain the odd collection that stands outside. As we pass th…

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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