The young man pulled his pants up, losing them to a triad of misfortune: lack of body fat, the sad reality of not fitting in, and gravity. His grey nikes, flopping off his feet, a thin white shirt, and a small backpack slung over his shoulder, like an earth bound Perseus, fallen to the dirt and the wifi, the crazy city streets, the suffering and the lessons in survival and loss, and finding no gorgon to slay, instead pulls out of his backpack, a small black box that once held a light, and dismantling it into outer piece, inner sleeve and plastic molded section, arranged it as carefully as a man arranging an altar, and laid it down in front of the door of the house next door. With his curly blonde hair, his young face and lithe body, he could have been an ancient hero, Instead, he was just a homeless young man, not much more than a boy, clearly in the middle of a drug induced bout of hallucinatory activity. Once he completed his little ritual, leaving his offering there, he moved down the street quietly, almost sadly, reverently, and disappeared around the corner.
I had to go out for a few things. I rounded the corner myself, but nothing much was happening out there. Two men play fought and laughed. A couple of homeless men ate sitting on the curb…and there was Perseus, standing blank eyes and a little perturbed on the street corner. He smiled at me. I smiled back. The light came back into his eyes, like it tends to when a human connection has been made.
A man was talking in tongues as he walked on down the line, yelling in some garbled backwards tongue things that sounded like threats and promises of war and destruction. Meandering this way and that, he eventually drifted away and yelled some more someplace else.
A woman stood outside a house. She held her phone in her hands. A young man ran towards her. “You made it!” she cried, and they hugged long after I walked past them both, with a small tear in my eye. Oh to love and be loved! I was loved once, and I loved back too. I waited for my man on corners and in hotel rooms, and he ran towards me, and for a moment, for one moment I believed in love. I was a fool. There is no love for me. Not love of that kind.
I don’t mean to fuck things up. I am just human: flawed, vulnerable, sometimes easily manipulated…..lost. I am hard on myself. I should have been more successful in love, life, art, work….in being a good person. I was and remain a good mother, though not flawless. I was never domestic goddess, I was however fun, even at the worst of times. I think if anyone asked the boy, he would tell them he loved me dearly and knows he is loved unconditionally in return.
There is nothing as pure as love. I suppose I am too dirty, too broken, too corrupted, too disappointed and vengeful to be successful at romantic love. Not irredeemable, just shattered and better off alone, if lonely. Almost a year away from Billy, a short time from losing him entirely, I look back and realize, I did love him at one point, but that love left far before I did.
And now the night is cool and quiet, peacefulness drips softly off the day and dyes the afternoon shades of inky blue black darkness. Now there is nothing to drain my energy apart from the usual drains and the vagaries of mundanity. Now there is a peacefulness I hope he is sharing in whatever way those that have passed share. I don’t want to think about him. It either hurts or it makes me angry, neither of which are much fun for me.
Out of the window nobody is walking down my street this evening. They are seemingly repelled by a force that keeps them travelling east to west, not north to south, for once leaving me quite alone. I wish they would come and wander, shout, scream, dance, meander past my window again.