From the Corner of the Universe

April 5, 2010

I watch time pass through a 9 pane section of the world.

There’s a courtyard down there—out my window, I mean—and a street, and, if I look intentionally enough, the tops of some restaurants. On weekend nights, and Thursdays for some reason, live music spouts off the tops of those restaurants and rolls down the street in a clump: always a mush of electric guitars, yelling, and some guy on a loudspeaker I wonder if anyone can understand. The only thing I can make out clearly is the bass and kick drum who hop effortlessly over the arts center and tap on my window—let us in? It’s freezing out here.

In the afternoons, the courtyard fills with kids playing tag and other games I’ve long forgotten the names of. The sounds they make are quick and nimble: Sporadic burst of laughter. Silence. Screaming! Silence. Laughter. Yelling! CRYING! Silence.

In the evenings, adults talk on the street below until late into the night. Their sounds are thick and syrupy: a constant hum and laughter that swells and dies with geriatric sloth. Occasionally, there will be a shout or a surprising burst of laughter, but, for the most part, the surprises are left to the kids.

The last sound I hear is a car door slamming and an engine turning, fading around the corner. The Parents have picked up their kids. The adults have gone home. And we who live on this tiny corner of the universe sit under our reading lamps and turn the page.

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