Monday, November 5, 2012

I Go Walking, Before Midnight

The men hanging out on the second floor landing call down to me, one of them sings. Their tone changes as I walk past without acknowledging them, but no matter, even behind me I hear no sound of anyone coming down the stairs. I take a quiet mile up the wide tree-lined street of old mansions, turn two corners and come back past the little block of restaurants and bars mostly closed or close to it. A car of young men with the windows down idles at the stoplight, revs, the passenger asks in a stage voice, "Why so serious?" The questions trail behind me as I cross the street. These things never happen when I take Dustin on my evening walk. When I walk with Dustin, maybe a dog walker looks up and says, "Hello." I am rounding the final blocks home when a woman overhears me talking on the phone and crosses the street from the liquor store to ask what I wanted. I explain the mistake and she smiles, waves as she continues on her way, and it seems for a moment a shame that I don't have more to say. On the other side of the street I am still talking on the phone and a man crossing in my direction changes his path so he can ask if I'm okay. "On the phone," I say, pointing to the bluetooth lost in my hair. "Oh, okay," he says. "I thought you were on those magic sandwiches." I don't ask, but I want to know more about magic sandwiches, about why they would have facilitated a conversation but without them we have nothing to say.

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