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streetlights

There is no easy way to say it. I was married to someone I hid from. Tucking E into a sling, I would disappear for hours saying I was going shopping for dinner, and if she fell asleep the excuse was that she needed fresh air as I sat on a park bench with her tiny hand grabbing my pinky until she eventually woke up. I would make my way along the side streets of Greenwich as the sun went down, leaning into store windows but not going in. Eventually I would go home, and as I turned the corner there was a security light that would switch on - obviously attached to some motion sensor. In those strange and lonely moments, I would talk to that light. Each time it clicked on, I felt somehow that the night ahead could be survived no matter what madness waited for us behind the front door.

That was twelve years ago.

Another life, another country.

Today, I turned a corner in Moscow with an all-too familiar bag of groceries swinging from my shoulder. A street light flickered on and all at once I…

suitcases and guitars (on my way to where)


I have passed it hundreds of times. A suitcase under a thick layer of dust sits outside an apartment door across from ours. The only fresh marks are accidental, someone brushing against it exposing the old stiff leather. Maybe it is empty. Maybe there is junk inside that never made it to the garbage trucks downstairs. It was invisible, but I would like to think I would notice if it went missing.

Standing in the hallway, camera in hand I look down the stairs, their banisters shining in the late afternoon sun. To the left is the suitcase, and now I finally see it, the ironic metaphor. The people that never go anywhere are behind that door.

And then, on the way to the new market where they sell thick cuts of ribeye, where the floors smell of ammonia and sweet coffee. Here is a balcony, just a few feet off the ground. Closed in, as is the tradition here. A place to store sleds and boxes of books. A guitar hangs crooked from a wall staring back at me. The cold is terrible for an instrument like this. It will warp the neck, make it almost impossible to play or keep in tune. It stands like a trophy, like all of the guitars in the corners of teenager's rooms in those films from the 80s. Unplayed, an empty boast.






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