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Hey, Lyosha

There are prison tattoos on the backs of his hands. Faded, blotchy shapes and a finger that jabs at a phone. "Hey, Lyosha!" He shouts, as every face on the bus swings to him. There is no answer, no voice on the other side. "Lyosha." He says again, then stares angrily out the windows. I step on someone's foot by accident, apologizing quickly. The young man waves his hand as if to say I did not need to say anything. The man with the tattoos sips from a giant cup of soda from KFC that is balanced on the empty seat next to him.

We pass a hotel we used to live next to, where expensive escorts are ferried in and out like yachts in a harbor. There is a fresh line of flags snapping in a low wind, and an American one is curiously absent. Plenty of the businessmen behind those windows are from the states.

The man brandishes the phone and hands it to the young man in front of me. I did not see that one coming. The young man wipes invisible dust from it, a reserved frown …

the wall



I am still unsure about how one foot follows another, about how there can be a roof over our head. There was that time when I was just treading water, chin at the surface as I measured the weeks until rent was due again. Then, the slow climb to a life lived with the minor comforts and I dared not look down, knowing the vertigo that waited for me if I did. The years unfold, little check marks on an invisible bedpost. My stomach still turns when I look too far backwards. They say nostalgia is a dangerous mirror, but I have no sweet longing for those lost years. I simply cannot turn my head.

The days are full now. I know what happens, but I don't take account of things until my head hits the pillow. There is so much to do, and I still feel like I am just scratching the surface somehow still treading water - a different water at least.  There are needs and wants and headaches upon headaches. There are rushed wishes, and long waits for replies. Living here, we feel unknown and forgotten half of the time. Out of sight, out of mind. But maybe the whole world has evolved to that, and we are in good company. The face in the mirror is mine still, that I know. It stares back at me, sad and quiet.

The kids break me out of these moments. V is on the verge of words, her face a mixture of recognition and thought, lips pursed and ideas bubbling to the surface. She is all about taking your hand and dragging you from room to room of the apartment, pointing "aaah!" and then "ahhh!". Some secret often makes her want to laugh, and she fights it for a moment, which of course makes it even funnier. And E is taping band names to her bedroom door, now closed. She is obsessed with music and which album is better the first one or the third one and "Can I buy this EP?" is her first question on most days.

I imagine cracks forming in some giant wall. It is smooth and white, almost shiny. The cracks are there under the surface. I can hear them if I rest one of my ears there.

Maybe something big is coming.




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