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no gold (things will have to wait)

There is an old Russian expression for the inevitable moment when your neighbors begin renovating. "Searching for gold in the walls." They say, to describe the epic sounds of drills in ancient concrete. You might appreciate this odd humor, this dark joke, this survival tactic. I am not so graceful a man to wrap my thoughts around it. Those drills and grinders, they shake the very walls of our apartment. Early on Sunday mornings and often long into the evenings they go.

This has been going on for the last four months, maybe more. I stopped counting.

I cannot imagine there are any walls left, that there is an entire open floor below us, the wind whipping through the naked beams and nothing else. That is the only explanation. Or that they break down walls, build new ones, find a flaw, some grand mistake and then break all of the walls down again. Not swiftly with sledgehammers, but with one crappy old drill with a dull bit, mashing away, so that children hundreds of miles away…

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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