I was walking out the steps of the library when I heard the sound of someone starting to cry; heads started to swivel before they caught themselves in mid-turn and resumed awkwardly whatever they were doing. Bitter silence descending like dropped handkerchiefs. I swallowed and pushed past and stepped out and breathed in.
Turning a corner after lunch I saw white and purple papers take off. The wind caught them and threw sheets like speckled handfuls of pepper; she laughs, and her empty hands echo her tired shoulders.
People stop, though; a woman jumps out of her car and starts chasing after sheets of paper. Behind her, burly construction workers drop their shovels and tape measures to rush under trees between branches; some seventh-graders pick up sheets and add them to my pile. I watch one as it flies away; swirling, it twirls out of reach and disappears between rushing cars and behind hordes of bags and backpacks and briefcases. The construction workers hand their papers to the woman who puts her stack in my hands which go to her hands. My eyes go to her hands to her eyes and she smiles with blue eyes and the edges of her eyes the edges oh the edges change; its good to see her real eyes.
Somedays you let go and you start laughing and things go a mile a minute your way and you're right on the wave riding it and having your time. These days I think that joy is like momentum; its too late now.
Walking alone around Cambridge I was walking for the sake of being alone or alone for the sake of walking. Friend told me to go to Pamplona; I did. Friend told me to walk on the bridge and look for small things; I did. Over the edge of the bridge was a broken television set and a rusted bicycle lying broken on the ice. I looked sideways and all of a sudden I could see people at night pushing things over the rails, beer goggles donned and television in hand; another it seemed like a good thing to do, then. In broad daylight things change; night twists things into a dramatic introspective stupor, and when artifacts from the night before emerge in broad daylight you get the silly feeling that your skin has been replaced with clear plastic and that people in white lab coats are kneeling in front of you tapping on the plastic and jotting things down.
It was too bright to think, so I stepped off and went back underground to wait for the sun to set. Something tangible was churning and turning inside, and I felt like either killing all the people in the world and destroying everything or healing everyone and creating things. Classical teen angst. But. When you grow wise you realize that the cliche is only cliche when you're not in its direct experience. When you grow wise you realize that things can't be compressed that way. When you grow wise you realize that saying 'when you grow wise' is not a good idea. (can't you see that I'm making fun of myself, here?)
So the sun sets and I emerge from a cd store having finally bought something after four other stores and seven more stories. I eat. So my stomach doesn't complain anymore and I go to a bookstore; I wander in and out the aisles but nothing grabs me so I leave. If it doesn't work it wasn't meant to be is most convenient; custom-tailored for my purposes.
Cold white headlights and denying stoplights; people mill around and I find that people turn into clumps of couples; interesting interesting interesting. I watch a him and her and they lean against each other and laugh and smile and nuzzle. People waiting for the subway in multiples of two- my addition makes this number odd. Odd.