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you are not there

We are taking the little one for a ride on her new sled. It is bright orange, with a fuzzy black and white seat cover to keep her extra warm. Her tiny hands in tiny gloves hold the sides as tight as she can. I pull her down a path, shouting "woohooo" and then she replies "woohoo". N's turn is next, pulling her more schoolgirl than mother for a few minutes. There are other parents with children on sleds passing us. Their eyes straight forward, faces completely blank they slip by in silence. I flash a smile to them, and they do not even look at me. I am not there, just another tree leaning towards the stream that runs below.

There are ducks still, flapping around the brackish water and we throw pieces of stale bread to them. I start to think, not about the complete absence of smiles in this culture. I stopped asking about that long ago, told over and again that smiles are reserved for home, behind closed doors. But I wonder, for the children -  these wiggling bu…

panthers, crows and sparrows

The river is almost frozen over. Wind whips across the ice each morning as we tiptoe along the uneven sidewalk and make our way to school. E makes small desperate noises, sometimes just stopping until she feels like she can move again. My legs lock up when I am about to fall, hands jumping wildly for balance.
We feel the same.

The man with the accordion is out again playing that same song. I try to remember how many times I have written about his blank stare, the same chipper melody. He is unstoppable. My irritation has waned, and now I welcome the light rumble of his instrument as we make our way through the bright tunnel he plays in. 
His familiar face sits beneath a new hat. 
I wonder if he notices us after years of passing him.
My thoughts run to the day we will leave here, and if I will remember him. This accordion player is paralyzed, like one of Rilke's panthers. The world outside of this place may not exist to him. I know that when I am not here, it becomes an impossible place within a matter of days, a place that cannot be imagined. The snow and filth, these blank faces cannot remain. They become charcoal sketches in an old book. They are never real to me in some way. I am not here, I tell myself. I am not here.

"At mom's house there are crows." E says to me after a long silence. "But at our house there are sparrows."
I nod, showing I am listening.
"I like sparrows." She continues. "They are so sweet."
"Yes they are." I say.
"And crows eat garbage." E says, wrinkling her nose.









Comments

liv said…
And there they are - the sparrows.
She's a little sparrow, so sweet.

Someday it WILL all be like a dream. I hope she only remembers the good parts, then.
I hope you too only remember the good parts, Marco.

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