New people moved into the apartment next door
. They were silent moving in, then fought bitterly the next day. A woman with a lilting voice screamed. “It does fuckin’ matter
”, and she said it more than once. I listened by the wall. I want to know what matters to her, this stranger. I was hoping for a new friend, she is older. Again I look for a mama
. I thought we might have something in common, now I don’t know.
There is a forced intimacy in sharing a wall. When they walk up their steps it is like they are in my apartment. Their slippers on the floor sound like they are coming up my hallway. I would like it to be good. I try to choreograph a harmonious future, as though everything will come out right if I think it through first and invent an a good ending, a pretend picnic.
The other day I went to the market alone. I walked through the doors and saw the fish vendors, the cheese shop, fresh flowers, heaps of pita, fresh bagels. Stood mesmerized by scents and colors and fresh ripe fruits stacked up. I picked out a blood red flower already slightly bent at an angle, and I took it home and put it in a blue vase, above my monitor so the flower tilts down at me. It’s like a sun. While I was there, waiting to buy the flower, two women gasped and hugged, clearly delighted to run into each other. Both were fine. The ceramics class is going just great, little Billy lost a tooth and can you believe the thing that happened to so and so?
I sat outside the market, not wanting to head home just yet. Just picked a bench and parked there, when I saw this woman pushing a teenager in a wheelchair. They were laughing; she was loaded with packages. Her van was right in front of me. She stopped along side it, he put his arms around her neck and she lifted him out of the chair, set him in the car seat and then loaded the her packages into the van. It was a simple thing really. I kind of do that for my kids, but only because they are small children. Sometimes I grumble about it, sometimes I wish them older; old enough do those kinds of things for themselves. But there was this woman, and I found her extraordinary. She was laughing, she had a whole bouquet of fresh flowers. She had a son who touched her face when she was seated.
I got lost in the city for a moment. In having to double back I found myself at a red light near a church. There was a procession, red robed choirboys and the priest in white, a huge cross on his back. A line of worshippers followed behind him. A young girl pulled up, got out of her car and fiddled with the alarm. She was in skintight hip huggers, had a smoke dangling from one lip, a belly shirt, a tribal tattoo on one arm. As they passed I heard, “Wow man. Shit, what a trip.” Such was her summation.
It’s that sort of thing I like about the city. Columbus is clean. I like to drive through the shadows of the big buildings. It does not feel like home yet, but I might get there.