It’s my day off. Getting up late I run about and do all the mundane things that need doing. I go to the bank, drop off the laundry, take the dog for a walk, and go food shopping. When I get home I clean the bathroom, vacuum the floor, and change the sheets on my bed. Then I fire up my laptop and pay some bills online. When I finish the computer blinks three o’clock. It’s time to start writing. But an hour and a half later I stare at the monitor in frustration. A couple of paltry phrases stare back at me. It’s not for want of material, the Bistro was crazy this week, but I can’t seem to cobble words and sentences together. I sigh to myself. It’s not gonna come easy today.
I get up from my desk and go into the kitchen. Pulling a bottle off the shelf, I throw some ice in a tumbler and make a whisky and soda. I take a short pull. I know it’s early but hey, it worked for Hemingway. The ice clinking in my glass, I go back in my bedroom and stand by the window. My apartment fronts a busy street. I watch as cars mercilessly tear up the asphalt.
A gaggle of rambunctious schoolchildren toddles along the sidewalk, oblivious to the danger a few steps off the curb. After the kids disappear a grandmother pushes by with a baby in a carriage. The infant inside isn’t moving. A few drops of rain splatter my window. The woman looks up, holds out her hand, and picks up her pace.Soon she’s out of sight. I take another sip of my drink. A sleek young woman jogs past. I admire the easy gait which announces she’s been running for years. I look down at my stomach guiltily. I really need to take better care of myself. As I watch her receding figure I feel a small stirring of lust. It’s gone as soon as she is. A few minutes later the jogger’s replaced by a young couple. They stop at the corner and wait for the bus. I can hear the girl’s crystalline laughter from my window. The boy pulls the girl close and gives her a long kiss. When they’re done they look at each other. I can’t see the girl’s face but the boy looks like he’s the king of the world. I remember that feeling. The bus arrives. The doors open and an old man wearing a tan raincoat steps off. He looks up warily at the darkening sky. The boy and girl push past him, and, in a second, possibility and limitation trade places. With a hydraulic squeal the bus lurches towards its destination. The old man walks home. I swallow some more whisky.
A few weeks ago a little boy crossing the street from that corner was hit by a car. I didn’t see the accident but my roommate told me about it. It was bad. He doesn’t know if the boy lived or died. My neighbor downstairs is a cop. He’ll know. I always mean to ask him but, since our schedules are so different, I almost never see him.
I gaze at the corner. Were that boy’s last seconds on earth spent there? Dried leaves blow off a carefully raked pile and scatter into the street. Cars bluster past and pulverize them into dust. Yes, I’ll ask the cop. He’ll know. But deep down I’m certain I’ll never ask. I sip my drink and stare at the corner until dusk becomes night.