What was she doing here in this hot weather? The day was hot and humid, yet going in and out of the subway would have been too expensive. Her chin hit the sidewalk. It happened almost without her realizing it. One minute she was up and the next down. Her whole body hurt but the chin got the worst of it. he hoped someone in the street full of people would offer to help her up. No one did. he struggled up again as best she could, picking up her purse. She shook her head and on she went. The day was too bright to think about heartlessness.
She walked down the street slowly, with her hand tight on her cane. The woman moved towards the back of the sidewalk restaurant. The trash can is piled high with plastic and brown bags. She touches one bag, then another, then the next. One brown bag looks promising. The woman smiles. She holds it in her left hand. She spots another bag. When she’s about to reach it, the door of the restaurant opens. An employee wearing a black apron stares at the woman. She puts the bags on top of the others, and holding on to the cane for protection, walks up the street.
My life is different because of what’s happened. It’s more complicated. What once was merely unpleasant has become ugly and uncomfortable. It is a chore, a duty I don’t want to take on. I knew that living like this, like a nothing person, wouldn’t work. And I resisted it with great force, with as much force as I was able to muster. But towards the end of my effort it was like hitting a brick wall. I was trapped on the other side of that wall and couldn’t get through. It’s a disgusting feeling and I feel numb a lot of the time.
Where? Where is it? Where do you go during the dark hours, the hours that nobody sees? Where do you hide? What do you do when no one’s looking? Where is the protection? What protects you? How do you hide from the chill as it penetrates your bones and beyond?
You are everywhere. They are all you. All the ones I see are you, the way you were when I knew you, when you and I were living together. I didn’t know I would miss you like this. I had no idea I would care as much as I do. I watch them go by and I follow them. There is no getting enough. My love is forever.
“Food for everybody, guys.” The man’s voice was loud and clear. Some had already left. The van with the sandwiches and muffins from Upstate New York must have been held up in traffic. They couldn’t wait anymore. “Here he is.” A station wagon approached and park by the curb. The driver, without saying a word, got out and open the back. The women lined up first. They made a long line, but not as long as the men’s. Two of the women pushed each other. “You always want to be first, sister,'”the younger one said. “And so do you,” said the other.”Stop fighting, girls. You remind me of cats the way you scratch and fight,” the driver told them. “Just wait your turn. You’ll get yours same as the others.” He turned his back on them and started distributing food to the men.
Mother. My mother was a beautiful young woman who had many suitors. They would serenade my mother with the tango Malena. She couldn’t make up her mind, there were so many of them. She loved her mother, a widow left to fend for herself after her husband died unexpectedly. The mother had to take care of 2 little girls and go through sone humiliating experiences, One day when the husband was alive they had something, like respect and security. The next day, all that was gone. There was a small dog and the three females loved him. My mother grew up and went to work. She didn’t especially like the factory, but her friends were there. And she’d be with her mother for as long as possible. That was the main goal. Then the single mother died. For the young and beautiful woman the world became dark for a time. She pushed on and after a while had good times with her suitors. Malena would always be her song. She would always be that immortal protagonist, with the haunting music. Nobody would ever forget her. Ever.
Memories of him. Memories of her. Precious memories of time spent with love and affection. Moments of great passion. How much passion was to her unbelievable. The feelings of the heart that can never be forgotten. The love for him, the first real love of her life and the affection for her, her second mother. The years that have passed since these two people left her life have often been empty and unreal. She thought they would last forever, the simple pleasures of running into him, of seeing him and being near, then talking to him as if she had known him all her life. She didn’t care what he was–Forbidden or not, he was hers because she loved him. And the little old lady she lived with–the feisty black and white haired woman. The old lady dressed in dark colors and wore moccasins. She seemed so frail, so easily destructible. When she looked at the young woman, her eyes became alive again. They had that light in them, that special something that only affection has. That time has gone. It will never come back. But in the former young woman’s heart, the time is here. It is now, just as real as it was then, in that small town, that small world she lived for.
Time lost. Time never to be recovered no matter what the outcome. Time that has dragged itself until it is endless, unbearable in all its seconds, minutes and hours. Time. Not her time. Not anybody’s time. Just time hanging out there because. Just because.
This cannot be true. It cannot possibly be happening. The cold in the early morning hours, the pushing of stuff on the streets, the questions without answers. None of this can be real. None of this can have anything to do with the real person inside. The outside has to be fake. There is no other way to explain it. The outside has to be somebody else’s act, somebody else’s responsibility. It has nothing to do with the person known to be the woman. The fake show has to be a complete stranger to her.
The bright red color, almost like fire, was all spread out. The grey stone floor caressed the hair resembling Rita Hayworth’s. Her body wore a nightgown similar to one she would have worn at home. The wooden doors would be closed until the morning hours. For now, they would shelter her from the dark.