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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…

a series of surprises


We all live complicated lives. There is always a cross to bear, a stone that swings from our necks. Maybe every single one of us became Sisyphus in the middle of some sleepless night and just don't want to admit it. I cannot imagine a person who does not have some obstacle, some ladder to climb in the darkness on an endless loop.

But that is just life.

I met a girl, well a woman some years ago. She arrived in the strangest way, by such a series of chance events that it makes me dizzy to think about how easily we could not have crossed paths that curious and cold January night. But we did, and that is all that matters. At some point, you get lucky. As the saying goes, even a broken clock is right two times a day. And honestly, I was a broken clock when she found me.

So yes, she helps me carry my stones and of course I try to carry some of hers. By some curious math, the daily hustle gets easier. The stones add up to less than the sum of their parts this way. I don't try to overthink that.

She always smells like a million dollars. She still trounces from room to room like a little girl, skipping to a class she is late for. She cracks her gum, blows bubbles, makes wisecracks. Yes, she is that girl. I suspect if we met as teenagers things might end up about the same. She would tease me incessantly, foul words flying from her sharp tongue, eyes big and darting at my every advance. I would bring her flowers maybe, or some handmade necklace. I can imagine the eye rolls, the hot flush on her cheeks of embarrassment, that skipping away in brand new sneakers that squeak on the floors.

Today is our anniversary, married three years now. I took care of the presents because she has her hands full with the baby. I like to surprise her, even with what she bought for me.


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