Stone steps rise from dirty lawns to reach hopelessly for nowhere.
The sceleton of a compound wall, the wet dirt under unkept bushes. An empty plot filled with the neighbour’s garbage. An electric pole wrapped with so much wire it’s like an insect caught in a cobwebs. Eighty years ago it was farmland, then a small shack, a home, an apartment, a memory of someone who moved away.
Time passes and forgets but there are still reminders that go way back. Someone lived there. There’s no reason to care but you can see. The steps don’t go nowhere. One they used to lead to someone’s home.
The road ahead sprawls under the setting sun,
Half draped in banyan shades, half in orange.
I love the full moon of the cloudy night,
The road an endless serpent; the moon a hidden pearl.
Pity was the last thing she needed, maybe it was even a little insulting, but that’s all he had to offer as she left.
A few days ago she flew in like she always did. She was always turned around, looking out to the street while the doorbell still rung. When the door swung open, she’d turn, and with formal greeting head straight in. He would stay out of her way, but like the ears of a cat would follow every step. Far too often he’s look around and feel something out of place, something missing. He was wary, and watchful when he wasn’t indifferent. But that day she was a was a bit nicer. Meeker? He pushed the thought outside and went out to the balcony where he could rock the cane chair a few inches shy of the late morning sun. From here he could see and ignore most of what happened inside.
A few cushions paled with age were moved around and leg was swung onto a reading table. He looked out at the sun coated sprawl of buildings, rented houses that cannibalized former homes. They rose irregularly, their bones of steel sprung out of the roofs of many, the grilled windows unable to protect against dust. They were all he saw except for irregular burst of green and glass behemoths at a distance. She spoke again.
He hardly head what she had said. Her contacts were lost she said, she wanted help she said. A few days later she nicer still, said she wanted help. His curiosity was sufficiently piqued. He tried piecing together a mystery as she asked him how to block a number. Her’s was an old phone, a worn touch pad that poured light through faded keys. There was no block option. It wasn’t one of those call drop numbers. This was a person. A person who had called frequently, late into the night she informed him. She asked if it was possible to have it blocked at a store. He doubted that was possibly and shrugged no longer interested. He told her to try. Late into the night… It’s a little more serious than call drops then. “Bored pervs” he though to himself.
Today she asked for his number. She’d lost her phone. He couldn’t shake the feeling that she’d gotten rid of it to escape the calls. He remember her husband, a loud, brash plumber he couldn’t stand for too long. He didn’t see the plumber being much help. He saw her fly away like usual but felt disturbed. Maybe he should have done something more. A phone wasn’t cheap,it must have cost her dearly to get a new one.She might have asked for help but maybe it wasn’t his business to offer help.
She joked that she must have forgotten it somewhere. Her laughter seemed awkward. He offered her his usual curt smile. She carried on as always,back to the un-speaking self, having found her way of coping while he stayed out there perturbed. His indifference made him feel guilty but soon he was lost to thoughts about the city before him.