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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…

birds and sparkles

There are explosions, deep booms that rattle the windows. The sounds are thumping around the apartment, as E is about to fall asleep. I go to the kitchen window then the balcony and see no fireworks. E is in her bare feet, looking up at me.
"What is it?" She asks.
"Maybe for men's day." I tell her.
"But there are no lights." She says. "I mean no sparkles, no fireworks."
 I look out the window again, hearing the car alarms and see nothing but a low fog over the river.
She goes back to bed and we talk in low voices as the windows rattle, as the booming rolls across the houses.
"Maybe it is a war." She says, her eyes closed.
My stomach bunches up.
"I don't think so." I tell her.
The windows are jumping around. I press the worst thoughts out, the idea that these are bombs, and how they could easily be the sounds of revolution but aren't. No, they cannot be.
I go to the balcony one more time, craning my head out of the open window. I take my phone and hold it way outside, clicking a picture. There are fireworks, far in the distance on Lenin's Hill.
I show E the picture and she smiles a little, patting my hand once and closing her eyes.
"Stay here until I fall asleep, ok?" She asks me.
Her hands drape across her chest like tiny birds.







Comments

liv said…
Celebration and revolution - so easily confused there.

Loved the last line.

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