Rua Romilda Margarida Gabriel, Prédio Santiago, Itiam Bibi

by | Jan 15, 2022 | Robert Vaughan - January Day 1

Sense!
I only got two fifty.
Money is money.
All quarters.
Better than pennies.
…eight, nine, ten. Alright?
Up the stairs, second door on the left. Knock twice, wait for permission to enter. We take discretion seriously.
Your hinges need oil.
What’s that?
Sorry, just talking aloud.
Next time, you want emotion, bring double. Just letting you in to hook you.
Fair enough. I’m an easy fish.

**

Last night, about 10 stories up in the apartment building across the street, a figure in a backlit window was either working out or taking it happily from behind. I could only see the silhouette of a head bouncing for about 40 minutes. Occasionally, he or she or they’d look over her shoulder, swing their ponytail from side to side, and continue. It could have been a live-cam-er or even a child bottom-bouncing on a trampoline. Regardless, what caught my attention the most was the two hands gripping the window ledge and imagining, with one over-excited thrust, a topple of maybe 25-30 flights to certain death. The ecstatic energy toward the window, as if performing for the whole mega-city, was enviable. Especially, because I was lying in bed with nothing to do, self-isolating with few symptoms, only fatigue and melancholia and apathy, waiting for this virus to pass, and couldn’t imagine bouncing for that long, that happily, for love nor money.

**

This whole while listening to Diane Keaton read Joan Didion’s Slouching Towards Bethlehem on YouTube trying not to think about narrative structure nor John Wayne, Joan Baez, nor my slew of full notebooks scattered in various apartments and dumpsters and drawers around the world. At times I wished for night-vision binoculars to clarify what I’d seen or wondered if the bouncing shadow was thinking about cottonwoods in river-bends reflecting non-violent political gestures or simply grooving to a very good beat. I’ll watch that window again tonight in hope of an encore. Or perhaps I’d better stick to the green-bellied parrots pecking the leftover papaya peels on our own balcony.

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