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.
This isn’t happening. It is not supposed to happen. You and I are standing by ourselves within 2 or 3 feet from one another. We don’t dare to get close. We feel, but we shouldn’t feel. I don’t dare walk to where you are. I could pretend that I need to ask you something, but if I do, my eyes would tell you things you don’t want to know. There is no one. You are the dream of my life. There is no other.
I have lost my 2 cats. They’re gone. Somebody opened the door(or didn’t let them back in) and they are nowhere to be seen. I don’t know where they are. I cared for them. I fed them. I rescued them when they got in trouble; when they were on the rooftop or on the street somewhere. I was and am their true owner. I actually cared what happened to them. I miss my cats. I wonder where they are; whther they are cold or hungry or in some sort of danger. little Big One and Young Miss. I named them. Before that they had no names. Young Miss was always hungry. She could eat anything and everything. I never saw a cat, male or female, with as much appetite as she had. Who is feeding her now? Young Miss used to go out, then meow at the kitchen window to be inside again. Little Big One liked danger. Before he was neutered they would let him out and he’d disappear for hours.At first, Little Big One did not know what obedience was. I taught him. He learned to listen to me when I told him not to do something that wasn’t good for him. Whoever says they owned them–those people don’t know what they’re talking about. They l ike to manipulate, to twist things around and appear in the right when they’re not. They let other people do what they should have done: be caring pet owners.
I feared. I feared for my life and safety. Every time I saw the fat man with the tattoos on his arms, my skin crawled. His voice, the way he spoke made me nauseous. I was criticized and insulted. I was on the point of calling the police several times; one time the phone was snatched from my hand when I was about to dial 911. His girlfriend, the landlady, took it away from me. I told several people to no avail. I lived in that rooming house for as long as I could. If I stayed it was for the sake of the cats. I didn’t know what else to do.
I own the cat. The fat man’s voice was loud and strong. My boss gave him to me. But do you take care of the cat? Do you feed him, take him to the vet, see to it that he gets his shots and is neutered? No, the fat woman said. You wanted to do that. But it is required. Any vet will tell you that. And were you born in this country? No, the woman answered. Then you are undocumented just like me. Me like you? I am an American citizen. I can’t be like you. You are uncouth and rude. The argument went on and on. The fat man pretended to dial 911. Let’s call emergency, he said. We’ll say that there is a schizophrenic woman here. She’s been making threats. The woman watched in wonder. She was living in a nightmare, a horrible nightmare with these people. It couldn’t be real. How can it be? How did I get to this point? The fat woman insulted my mother and called me a scarecrow and I don’t know what else. How can I be with these people? I am not safe here. I have to go.
You were sunshine to me, pure sunshine. Even in the darkest moments, things were fine, everything was fine because we were together, because I was with you. I loved you. I love you. Whatever risks I took to be near you, to be with you were no problem. I had to do it. Just walking down the street holding on to you gave me a sense of pride. I felt fulfilled because I was doing something right with you. I felt alive. Those feelings were some of the best gifts that you and only you gave me. Now you are gone and I will never see you again. My lips kiss you on the head at a distance of thousands of miles. Goodbye, my darling. Thank you. We will meet again.
The door of a room was open. A woman stood with her cat. She made a noise, a noise she did not intend to make. The man, she thought. The menace will wake up if he hears it. Another door opened; the fat man stood several inches away from her. His eyes were not friendly. She could tell this even in the dark. As she was about to close her door and pull the curtain, his shadow looked like danger. Quickly, she shut her door.
Dry skin—the skin is very dry. The veins are blue, dark blue. They stand out in ways they didn’t before. The fingers are a little dirty on the outside. The nails are not in good shape. They need to be done with a nail file and done quickly. There is not enough hand or body lotion to make the inside and the outside of the hands look younger or better. They look like the hands of someone working hard tilling the land or doing hard lifting. The hands are a poor woman’s hands. They are not glamorous and they are not pretty.
A Place, a place with a capital P. No one knows the importance of Place better than the homeless. Finding a place to live, a roof over one’s head is important, often more than important. It can be a matter of life and death. My heart is in agony, sheer agony. I cannot afford the street, the sidewalk, and I cannot afford a roof. The first is cold and stiff and the other has to have lots and lots of dollars attached to it. I look for answers. I have been looking for answers for years. I have found nothing.
She had them. Her eyes spoke without words. Their expression was deep and powerful. She was known as the woman with the brown eyes. The eyes told of her struggles, her attempts at getting things under control so that no one would guess the truth. She looked at you and it was understood. Her life wasn’t much good. She lived with her animals, her 3 dogs. They were the only family she had. She could count on her animals like she couldn’t count on people. Here they are, she would say. They are the children I never had. I love them and they love me. I can’t say the same for anyone else. Where are those people anyway? I don’t see them.
The Menace Part 2
It was late at night. A cat had slipped out of the woman’s room. The cat was a healthy cat; all she wanted to do was run around the house she thought was hers. The fat man walked into the kitchen just a second after the woman had gentlypushed the cat back inside. I am sorry, little one, she told the cat. The menace is too close to us. I want to protect you from that thing. The fat man stood looking about him; his beady eyes had meaness in them. His legs were wide apart, as if ready for a fight. The woman watched him from behind her closed door. She swallowed hard and sat down in the dark.