American dreaming

July 2nd, 2014, 9pm

His wife left him while she was still with him. First, for other passions, then for other men. He spent years confused by how blatant she was about it, how entitled. Then, one day the fog lifted and he moved to America, leaving her behind.

We celebrated by clinking glasses from a vantage point above the city, floating on a sea of lights.

On my way home a woman yelled at me. Her voice was clear but her body was bent, shaped like an s, her head bowed, her stringy blonde hair hiding her face. She was wearing a ragged top and shorts, the shadows created by her bony body dramatic, almost staged. “You can’t cross here, the other people might hurt you,” She shouted, and for a moment, it seemed, despite the empty street, like a legitimate warning.

I paused, midstep, looked down and realized I had almost stepped on a blanket, a crumpled heap on the sidewalk. I apologized and she watched me, vigilantly, until I was a safe distance away. Then she snatched at her blanket, retrieving it with a sense of urgency. I thought I saw her begin to draw it into her chest, to hug it the way a child might embrace something precious, but I turned away.

Earlier, on the train I had listened to a busker play his drums.

He had prefaced his performance with a speech: his daughter had been hit by a car; he couldn’t afford to pay for her care. He said his son was with him and he indicated a boy to his left who looked both determined and faraway.

I left the train gritting my teeth, my mind reverberating with his speech and his music: this is America. This is America.

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Dani Z

The hardest thing about getting older is realizing that I might, in fact, be a minor character in someone else's story. (I keep changing this bio. I'm not sure I'll ever nail it)

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