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.
The animal is in its cage. The bars are light grey. They are made of some hard metal. There is no chewing them off, doing away with them. Nevertheless, the animal strikes his head and his arms against the bars. “I don’t want to be here. This is too confining for me. I can’t move. I feel trapped. Free—I want to be free. Once I am free, I will become myself.
Bright colors in a dress—green, blue, light green. They are done in a 60s kind of way. The dress is sleeveless. The woman’s arms are not thin, not fat. Her head is medium sized and her thin dark brown hair is cut short. I knew someone once who looked like this stranger. It was someone I loved and lost. Her face was bright; her cheeks used to get pink in the summer time.
The woman went up to the counter. She dropped the bag full of coins. There weren’t very many. She had counted $8.01. It was mostly quarters, with some dimes, nickels and pennies. What’s this? The teller asked. “It’s a deposit. I want to put this in my account.” “You can’t do that.” “You didn’t write a deposit slip either, “he said. “Yes, I did. It’s this one here.” She pointed to the one she had put in the deposit slot. “I can’t read this.” She sighed and wrote another slip. “He picked it up and frowned. “I can’t read this.” “It’s how I write. Be nice. With my deposit, I’m helping pay for your salary.” The man took a white plastic bag from a drawer near him. He wrote down some information and put the coins in the first bag inside the other one. After he gave the customer a receipt, he told her that they were done. ”Thanks”, she said. “You’re welcome.” “I shouldn’t have said that,” she muttered. “That’s no way to treat a customer. You’re paid to count money.”
It was there—all three rolls were there. Someone had left them. They were wrapped in cellophane. “To take them or not take them?” the person asked herself. Her eyes didn’t see anybody looking her way on the busy street. “I am hungry.” She touched the rolls one by one. They were soft and fresh. Opening the pocket of her long black winter coat, she put them inside. “Thank God, they fit. These are for when I am in a safe place and can actually eat them,” she said shrugging her shoulders. She walked away from the subway station.
She heard the words. She had just returned from a hard day out on the streets. No, not this again, she thought as she listened patiently. “You are moving, aren’t you? You will pay me this month’s rent, anyway?” “Of course,” she said. She tried to smile faintly, but the smile muscles wouldn’t cooperate. “I am looking for something as we speak.” There was another woman in the living room. She held on tight to her baby and looked at the renter. The renter waved at the baby. She had to distract herself with something. “If you don’t mind, Ms. Mendoza, “she told the landlady, “I am tired. I’ll have news soon. “
She closed her door. How much more of this is there? Will it end? When? It’s happened so many times. All these moves are meaningless, totally meaningless. It’s like being on a plane 99.9 % of the time. Her cat went up to her. “Hello, baby”, she told her. “It’s fine. Everything’s fine. For now let me feed you.”
Don’t you dare! A woman told the little girl about to open her knapsack. The little girl did not even shrug. She held a book in her hand and pretended to read it. The woman stood near her seat, holding on to the pole while the subway went on its way. She was thin, with dark curly hair. “Come on. We’re getting off here.” The doors opened at the 59th Street Columbus Circle station and the little girl followed the woman.
One -Time Caviar
A young woman got on the subway. She was carrying several bags full of beautiful purchases. Someone sighed. That was a long time ago, such a long time ago. I used to eat that, once, so many years ago. I used to shop at nice stores, stores with names like Chanel, Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue. I was this young woman, or just like her. What happened? The only things I buy now are at the Salvation Army. A castoff—I feel the same as a castoff piece of something, the thing nobody wants.
Was it yesterday? Was it last week or did it happen long ago? Reality tells me that you went away in the 1990s; my heart doesn’t believe that. My heart says that it was recently, just a short time ago. I see your face. I understand your eyes and what you wanted to tell me when you looked at me. I wasn’t quite sure then. I didn’t know and I am so sorry. You thought you were not important to me or not important enough. I cared. I cared for you and yours. Wherever you are in Heaven, please wait for me.
Rolling along—the big, overstuffed suitcase is pushed around. Someone’s knee is often used to kick it. One baggage handler pushes it, then another. A third baggage handler takes it, puts it down. “This one is heavy”, he says as he walks away. Someone else picks it up. He looks at it and shakes his head. “I wonder who this belongs to. Whoever it is must realize it’s a burden.” The man puts it in the lost and found dept. “All the trips this suitcase must have taken. Maybe it was one trip too many.”
I feel it after all these years. How many years has it been already? 7—I have lived over 7 years without you. I never meant for it to happen. You were without me and I was without you during your final days. What possessed me to think that we’d be together again and that we’d walk streets similar to the ones you loved? Dear little one, we had the same feelings about things and nothing that anybody could ever say would have changed us. You and I liked the best, the finest. We loved the blocks with the green lawns in front and the trees and the well-kept gardens. We admired the homes of the better neighborhoods and when we walked by a particularly beautiful house, I could say to you: Don’t you wish we could live here? I talked to you as if you were a person. Your eyes answered me. We kept on walking.