Wednesday, July 22


DURING MY LAST weekend in Bow, I was watching a documentary about the songwriter Nick Cave, who, from the wonderful skull he keeps underneath his hair, confessed that it was better to work on a bad idea than to do nothing.
That is in my mind as I sit down to write this evening.
O, there are things to write about! Yesterday a madman on the streets threatened to kill me, my cousin’s eight-year-old cousin died from a cancer that she had had for two years, one of my love interests became utterly repulsive in a single moment, and I woke up, one more day. Yesterday I was too distraught to stay awake, so I went to bed, and the sounds of the neighbourhood chimed me asleep. I am in love with this city, but I am in love with this neighbourhood; especially now that all of the children are on holiday and their cries fill the streets. I watch from my window. A girl from the balcony shouts—‘Azim, where you goin?... I’m tellin!’ Her friend is sucking on an ice-lolly so that she laughs melted ice-lolly. ‘You’re tellin? haha!’ Their shoes stamp on the tarmac. The boys turn back as they run, calling out, slapping their way down the road, cheering and laughing to each other, all the children laughing this pleasant sound through the air. At night their bicycles are up against the fence, untouched until morning, unstolen, stripes of moonlight highlighting them for not a single person to pinch. I love this neighbourhood, which is why I watch it so often. There are a lot of crows in this neighbourhood, too; crows cawing constantly, padding their way up & along the edge of the roof, shouting at nearby birds, their plumage shining like the bicycles at nighttime.
A new employee at work: Spanish, glasses, short heels, a blouse every day, that wonderful Mediterranean glow. When I walk past I look at her and she is looking at me. Dark eyes meet blue eyes. Hullo. She holds – a moment – and looks back down. It is enough. With my eyes I have been letting her know that I like her, these little peepers of brain. She has a deep voice, the accent, and when I hear it I am aroused from my place, like a dog at the sound of the front -door opening. On Monday morning we arrived together, in the lift, going up, picked up and stopped higher. I allowed her out first to watch her walk away from me, that swing. During the day I talked to her of trivial things, the kind of chatter one partakes in during the making of a pot of coffee; her deep voice, it caressed and interested me. She is so quiet that when I hear her talk my ears prick up and do their best to tune In to her distant radio station. That evening, so chance would have it, we left together, at the same time.
‘We arrived at the same time and now we’re leaving at the same time!’ I said, thinking that I, with my laboured confidence, would have the upperhand.
She looked into me—‘People will get suspicious…’
For the five floors of the lift I could not think. She stood there, eating oriental crackers. I tried to think of something to say, but could not. Had that been a flirt? Was she toying with me? Did she know all of my weaknesses? I trembled and counted every second we were side by side.
Ground floor: I let her out first.
‘So polite,’ she said, looking at me and smiling. It was a smile, as a smile is separate from another kind of smile, as not all smiles are the same but all with the same five letters. She sauntered out—‘Good-bye.’

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