Hello, spot against the wall.
It feels like it’s been such a long time since I sat at this table, with the time to write whatever I want. Really it’s been about a week, but that week had enormous proportions. It was a week in which I felt barely a thought of my own, just this humming discontent, growing larger; I don’t yet know how to address it. I was so busy I couldn’t do anything about it, though now I suppose I can.
It was pouring rain just before, heard claps of thunder while trying to find clothes in the dark bedroom—so dark it turns out my blacks don’t match—but now the rain is softer. I see it out the window, the umbrellas, the puddles, the truck splashing the puddle on the girl’s shoes. Another girl slept in here, a few tables away. Her friend, a boy dressed as a girl, wig crooked, tried to wake her. “Sweetie, sweetie, sweetie,” the friend said, shaking her, but she’d pulled her arms into her T-shirt and had her head on the table. Did she dream? Her friend gave up and drifted off into the rain, and she continued to sleep until the barista tapped on the table and told her to go. She had no umbrella. I watched her amble crookedly across the wet street.
I shouldn’t be watching people sleep or wander off into the rain.
But, this morning, I don’t feel like telling myself what to do or not do.
The other night (was it last night? was it the night before? or the night before that?) I saw an old friend, though I don’t think I’m the friend she wants me to be. I retreat into myself, unreachable for weeks at a time. I did not go to her party. I am not able to explain sufficiently that it isn’t personal, I’m just a solitary person, I don’t know why, I think I’ve always been like this and only now, as I get older, have I come to accept it.
I went up to her neighborhood instead of her coming down to mine as usual. When I emerged from the subway she was calling my cell phone. I couldn’t come up to her place, she said, someone was shot outside her building and the block is roped off by police. People aren’t allowed in. It just happened five, ten minutes before—I was late, and she was relieved I hadn’t been walking past then. So we met across the street. She brought a copy of her lease so she could prove to the police that she should be allowed back in her building after we had dinner. What timing, she said. The first time I come up to her neighborhood this happens. Watch it on the news later, she says. But I couldn’t; it wasn’t on the news.
After dinner, the block was just as before, as if nothing had happened. I did get to go up to her place. Then I sailed all the way downtown on the 6 train, still reading Alice Munro because the book is due back to the library today. I finished the story before my stop came, and I sat there thinking about today, this morning, the first morning I could come back here to write. Thinking about this wall, against which I sit. That window, out which I look. Thinking it, and now I am in it, and I’m not sure what to do with myself just yet, what to say, except to start over as if I just got here.