Friday, June 24, 2022

Scary Monsters

The pleasures of a walk home on a cool summer night are lost on me as I ruminate about my future. I don’t notice the soft scent of jasmine, because I am worried I might be making a mistake in thinking about changing roles. I neglect the shimmering street lights reflected in the puddles in the street as they are stirred by gentle breezes, because shadows of my past rear up to frighten me with memories of times I was not so skilled or smart.

Then, crossing from one corner to another, I realize that, yet again, I’m actually just kind of hungry, and all my worries disappear like nighttime scary monsters in my childhood bedroom that turn out to be some clothes on a chair when the morning comes.

Thursday, June 23, 2022

The Mist

It doesn’t look like it’s raining, exactly, but the ground is wet, and people are walking with umbrellas, so what I mean is that you can’t see the raindrops shivering the puddles, or see the trees getting hammered with giant drops that shudder the leaves. We figure we’re okay to walk to the post office without rain gear.

But it turns out it’s less rain, and more walking through a very low cloud, not quite so fine as to be fog. Our hair is soaked before we even get to the end of the block.

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Collider

Sirens are commonplace on the block outside our front window, so we don’t look up from the video we’re watching as they wail down the street, growing louder as they go.

The heavy crash that follows startles us out of our reverie, though, and we leap to the window, only to have our view blocked by scaffolding.

In an instant, Katie is on her feet, shoes on, keys obtained, and out the door to see what’s up. 

By the time I get down to the corner where the two ambulances collided, into each other and then one into a building, she’s already taking videos and making friends with other spectators, while lights flash angrily  and twisted, exposed engine blocks steam into the night.

Friday, June 17, 2022

A Blessing

She opens the door between the train cars and pulls herself through, only to stop, captivated for some reason, and stare at Katie, who is resting her head on my shoulder with her eyes closed. She stays that way for a few moments, staring with some deep emotion in her eyes, then shakes it off and walks to her customary spot and begin her spiel: “Good evening everyone, sorry to disturb you but I am homeless and I need a few dollars...,” etc.

After she has collected her money from a few kind people up and down the train, she comes back to where we’re sitting and stares at Katie for another few moments. “Are you okay?” she asks Katie, and when we assure her that Katie is just resting, she smiles and exits the train, blessing us as she goes.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Anxiety Has Been Reduced

The sale shoes are on several free standing racks out by themselves on the floor, and because humans when confronted by a sale tend to behave like savages, they are often in terrible disarray at the end of the night.

One of my salespeople and I are putting the bombed out sales racks back together, him on one side, me on the other, and the rattle of leather and rubber against the metal and plastic of the racks in the quiet of the empty store is sort of soothing, if that’s your thing. I hear, through the racks, my co-worker singing quietly to himself, not loudly, not particularly well, but nicely, just singing a tuneless little tune to pass the time.

My first thought, whenever I hear someone singing, is to remember how wonderful it is to sing, and to want to sing along, because singing is one of my life’s true joys, but I stop myself, and simply listen, enjoying the sound of his simple tune. 

Always Go To Weddings

“It’s just, I have all these events,” she says in mild exasperation, “and I’ve been wearing nothing but comfy clothes for the last two years, but now I have to dress.”

“Well, maybe it’s better to think of it, not in terms of what you have to do,” I say, boxing up the shoes that she’s going to buy, “but what you get to do. Like you really haven’t been able to dress up for, what, two years now, but now you have these fun events that you get to go to, and you can kind of get fancy, and that can be fun.”

“A year ago, I would have been dreaming about going to a wedding,” she says, nodding.

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Cry Havoc

Children strike heroic poses with cut up boxes for shields and nerf swords as their camp counselors herd them into two opposing groups facing each other across the park lawn. 

“Back up, back up, back up!” one of the counselors yells, to little effect, until finally he gets his miniature battalions lined up behind their starting lines. 

“Okay!” he shouts dramatically. “Five..., four..., threetwoonego!” and the spindly little kids on both sides scream bloody havoc and race toward each other to the resounding thwacks of duct tape covered foam beating on cardboard, and then it just sort of disintegrates into a bunch of little arguments about rules, and who’s out, and why.