Sunday, June 20, 2010

Varet Street

We walked through the streets late at night, early in the morning, noticing the industrial buildings around us. The air was warm and my heels clacked like army boots. Everything I'd been worrying about felt safely far away - my sister with her stomach stitched up, my father with a tube in his head. Music from a neighborhood party echoed off the rooftops. We shared a bottle of water and looked at the factories, where the Boar's Head cold cuts are frozen and distributed, where corrugated boxes are made to order. Bushwick had never felt so safe, all five of us marching like a little band. I wondered if these were my friends, my Brooklyn family. It's lonely here sometimes.

We made our way back to Mark's car and drove the short distance to my apartment, gazing at the late party-goers straggling home. I said I worry sometimes that living here prolongs a sense of adolescence, freezes our growth in time. We're almost thirty and still doing the same old things, still noticing things together. What will happen when that changes? And when should it change? I don't think any of us knows.

I let myself into my apartment and started cleaning. I swept under the couch, in neglected corners, coaxing balls of hair and dust from hiding. It felt like teasing out pockets of shame, the detritus of my life. I listened to the mix I made for my parents' wedding anniversary two years ago, the old love songs I'd put in order for them. How do you know what your own life is, and what your managed idea of your life is? I spend so much of my time thinking of myself as I relate to other people. I don't know where I am if there's no one there to place me. I finished cleaning and I sat on the couch and I listened to the Byrds, and I thought about it.