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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…

threading the needle (the birds)


That familiar feeling washes over the morning  - of being pulled in opposite directions. At one end, the petty, twisted mechanisms we cross paths with in life, the foul, grotesque result of miserable people trying to make sure everyone they encounter feels the same as them. It is a form of narcissism, this selfish cloud. It is hard to outrun a cloud, sometimes. At the other end is a tiny creature, a growing ball of new smiles, hands outstretched, eyes that grow curious, an enduring stare that does not blink. This little person that was not here a few months ago, at the center of our rhythms, guided by her ability to sleep, to be bathed, to poop, to eat.

I never forgot the clock I call baby time. Every time I wake E up, I think of those mornings we spent when she was the same pale-skinned lump of needs and big eyes. I think of walking around with her late at night, singing Desmond Dekker songs because that was what brought her peace.

We never forget those times, but there is nothing like doing it all again.

Now, I am walking with V in the stroller and she is not sleeping. She needs to. She wants to. Every curve of the path, every pebble is an obstacle. Will she thread the needle, and close her eyes? I look for noisy children and steer away from them. Out of nowhere two men with a chainsaw appear and I veer into the opposite direction before the throaty cough of the machine begins, and the buzzing into tree limbs brings her back to eyes fully open.

Those petty people, they are not here now. Their shadow cannot reach so far into this leafy suburb. I can only focus on the way V's hands jump around, finding a Michelangelo pose, one pinky frozen in the air as her eyes do surrender to this smooth asphalt, the chirping of at least two different kinds of birds, the smell of fresh cut grass, the low wet splash of a few leftover rain puddles.





Comments

marvelous, again. and always in that magical sense of the word, Marco!
liv said…
Ahhh, run away with them, bring them home and kiss them both for me.

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