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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…

rainy days and mondays (run and find the one who loves me)

The streets are wet. E's red raincoat is short at the wrists. There are stray dogs slogging through the puddles, their fur a grey mess the same color as the sky. She looks up at me, that defeated Monday morning look on her face and I shake my head, telling her to let it go. 

I know she loves the rain.

The lights are out in her school. The guards are sitting in the dark lobby hunched over computer screens. I kiss the top of her head once. The room smells of wet paint and fumes.



On the way home I see a tiny house made of paper hanging from some colored yarn. It is sagging, falling apart from the rain. I wonder if it is for birds, or if some children just left it here and then someone saved it.

I see the faces, the stone expressions sucking on cigarettes, the occasional hard stare like I am a Martian walking among them. The thought comes to me that each one of these people has a home, a kitchen table, a bed, some shoes in a closet, that every single one of these people has hats and jackets and umbrellas, a window to stare out of late at night, a cherished cup, some eggs in the fridge. I think of every single person I pass having dirty clothing to wash, a decision about what to have for breakfast, some coins lost in a couch, bills to pay, a picture that hangs on a wall they have stopped looking at.

A woman sits on a folding chair next to a crosswalk. She is wrapped in a blue plastic bag, her head bowed low over a harmonica. She plays it the way children do - breathing in and out through it, just the same two or three notes. There is no melody, no phrasing, no expression, no pauses. It is more noise than music.

I see her.



Comments

liv said…
"Seeing" is a double edged sword. Sometimes, well mostly, it is a wonderful and lovely ability that too few possess and so it is a blessing. But other times....it is just damn hard. What does one do with all that seeing?
"I see her."
There is so very little that you DON'T see/feel, Marco. Another masterful piece.

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