Life is like that, isn’t it? Periods of calm interrupted by these crazy interludes of action and disruption. I am packing up the little apartment in the bad part of town, ready to head out to another little apartment in another part of the City. We are going to the ‘burbs. I can’t quite let myself believe it will all happen and everything be ok . . or at least ok for a while longer.
There was a time recently that I thought I was going to have to count down to saying goodbye to everyone for reasons of health, my various issues, and the simple fact that I could not keep life here going financially. I was trapped, no way forward, but somehow one materialized and it is a miracle. There is no other word for it. Nevertheless the strain I have been under has been immense, and my health is poor and failing. If the move goes ahead I think I might have bought some time, and time is more than I could ever expect or ask for.
So here I am, amongst boxes. I have never made a move with boxes. I generally run out the back door, down the road with the clothes on my back and my shoes in my hand, trailing a child. This is civilized. Lou Reed stares out of the photo on my shelf, smiling out at me, my treasured Patti Smith Rolling Stone magazine from the 70s behind him, next to that the signed copy of The Great Shark Hunt, by Hunter S Thompson that the kid found for me for a few books in a junk store. The Boy has a talent for finding things I love that other people have discarded. The signed Lou Reed photo also only cost a few dollars. The person selling had no interest in Lou. I have a few boxes of books, and my little window sill garden which will also have to travel and find space in the new apartment. I have no idea where to put the plants. I don’t quite remember the lay out of the new apartment. When we saw it, it was still being renovated and we were still in shock, not quite believing we could possibly move. I don’t remember seeing window sills or anywhere to put the plants. I will have to find a solution – I have nurtured those plants for two years now, and they have grown so much. I am looking forward to the cactus flowers at Thanksgiving. I have my little candlesticks and three small pottery owls from a charity shop. It feels like so much, but in fact will fill only a few of those civilized boxes.
We are staying in the City, but moving out, out past the streets of Downtown to where the people live somewhat more sedate lives, and the City has not yet allowed all hell to break loose on the streets. We are going out to where the parks are green and grow palm trees, and the water laps against the shore of Land’s End. I figure there will be less drama outside my window. The road we are moving to is quiet and residential. I can see the hills from my new bedroom window. I will have a bedroom, and no mice. I will have the Boy a while longer. Perhaps, just maybe there is a future where I can see him settled and married off and a father to his own little munchkins who will love me. Perhaps I will one day rest easy, knowing I love and was loved in return. Perhaps.
I don’t know much about the area. There seems to be some bookstores, a few little local shops, and a lot of quietness. There doesn’t seem to be much filth, drama and horror. In short, it is the Burbs and to be frank that almost scares me more. I feel out of place on those quiet, safe little streets on the far side on the peninsula. I worry they will spit me out. I am racing to the Burbs, away from the absolute horror that Downtown has become, but I am a downtown kinda grrrl. I am not a sedate being. But this crippled old feral beast needs to sleep and rest and try and survive, so retirement from the gutter, here I come!
My health is very poor. I am in so much pain which the doctors leave uncontrolled. I am not bent on relief, but instead survival. After the move I am going to have to concentrate on trying to get better. I am going to have to concentrate on going to appointments, and fighting to stick around a while, so I can see how this all plays out. I have come so far.
The nice social worker sees a route to citizenship for me and the kiddo. I almost don’t dare trust her. I long to be a part of this country where I have spent so many years now. I have run and fought to survive for so long, now things feel as if perhaps, just maybe there is a chance I might find some measure of safety in this life. How I long for safety!
So now, I will take a sedate streetcar, not named Desire, all the way to the water, for one of the last times from this part of town. The cars don’t run where we are moving to. I will stand on the docks with the Boy, and stare out at the water, and wonder what next for us both.
The world seems to quiver around me, shake and tremble. It feels as if it is more scared than I am. About time. Perhaps I have found my power after all. Perhaps I have found my respite. Perhaps I have finally found my shelter from the storm.