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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…

the old place


Passing the old place, a phantom wind runs up my leg and across the back of my neck. I have not been here in eight years. I do not go closer than the driveway. There is the bald spot of lawn where my Weber stood, where E rolled around on a blanket as I slow cooked ribs on Saturday afternoons. The house looks clean, under a fresh coat of paint.

There was a light on the corner of a building that turned on when you walked under it. E would be in my arms long after the sun had gone down and I had to be careful or the light would wake her up.

I can admit it now. I talked to that light. It was a familiar presence in a broken life. I waited for the telltale click and the bloom of shadow and the click of the timer that would turn it back off in a few minutes.

I told that light may things. My fears, my wishes. I called it friend. I can remember telling it goodbye, looking up at brick and metal, talking to a piece of hardware.


Comments

liv said…
sentimental journey

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