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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…

waiting

I hear honking from the balcony. The sound is weak, like one of those little toy cans that you turn on their side that makes the sound of a cow. A trolley bus stands in the middle of the street, blocked by a sedan. No one is in the car. Now a second trolley bus waits behind the first one. They are connected to a web of wires that run along the traffic lights above the streets, and spark sometimes when it rains. 

The black sedan is more than double-parked in an active street. It was left in the only lane the trolleys can use. A woman in a fluorescent orange vest and flip flops comes out of the bus, approaching the car, peering inside. Many of the drivers are women like her. I marvel at their ability to jump from the wheel during snowstorms, when the spring-loaded arms that connect to the wires get disconnected. I see them, in those same sandals whipping ropes into the air to snap things back in place. 
She stands for a moment, then goes back inside to honk some more.

I look down the street, seeing another bus approaching. There is something so allegorical about literally standing in the middle of the street, waiting for someone to correct a wrong.


There are six trolley cars waiting now, all honking the same weak song. There is one modern bus that stands after the black sedan. Old women are creeping out of the stopped trolleys, making their way past the abandoned car and then rumbling away, with their little rolling grocery carts and their drooping knee high stockings.

People are walking up to the black sedan, testing the wheels to see if the parking brake is on. One bus driver takes pictures of the license plates with her cel phone. I wait, for once to see the face of someone responsible, to see if there is an apology.

And then someone does approach the car, keys turning in the door. One of the buses pulls in front of him, blocking his exit and I have a fantasy that they will keep him there until the police arrive. I imagine an old woman whacking her purse against his windows, but nothing happens. I watch the man's sheepish, hunched shoulders as he does not drive off but pulls into an actual parking space instead, leaving the car there and going back down the sidewalk to the floating restaurant that sits on the river, where the waitresses are all in miniskirts and push-up bras, where the wine prices are four times more than they should be, where you can get sushi or steak or some stale, overpriced tiramisu.

Comments

liv said…
Ha, that one was actually funny!

Now please help a girl out here....surely there has been a pork chop or some lamb or delicate little pancakes that have gone through that kitchen lately....but nothing coming this way.
I'm longing for the scent of spices and oils and your unctuous photos of this (not so) minor talent you have for making people's mouths water and tummies growl. Please, a kitchen post?

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