In a late-morning hour I am
trying to organize my room. Moving
things from one spot to another.
Bewildered by the disarray.
Yells outside my window keep me distracted. I recognize the voice of the person who sometimes shouts in
the mornings, and whose face I had never seen.
I go out to the porch. In the street below stands a small
woman. Her white hair falls to her
shoulders in splintered wisps. It
seems as if it has not been combed or washed in quite a while. Her face is wrinkled and some of her
teeth, so it seems from a distance, are missing. A frayed dress hangs on her small frame in simple lines. Her hand-gestures and stooped shoulders
convey rage and distress.
“He is knocking on my door. Tell him to stop knocking on my
door!” Her repeated accusations
are followed by a rain of swears, her arms slam against the sides of her body
in sharp and quick motions.
On the roof of a two-story house
across the street, a man is hunched over the shingles, hammering pieces back
into place. He glances at the
woman below from time to time. She
does not look up at him, and shoots her complaints at the passersby.
At the street’s corner sits
another woman. Her face is dark
and roughed-skin from sunshine and years.
Whenever I walk by, I find her sited on the sidewalk with her back leaning
against the drugstore’s window, legs folded under the faded blanket that covers
her, a flowery headscarf tight to her head.
She spits an endless concoction
of incomprehensible syllables. Her
wild gaze is fixed away, beyond the street.
I leave the porch and reenter my
room. My eyes travel across the
chaos created by my belongings with a creeping anxiety. I try to imagine these two women in
their youth. Was there a clue to
their present, in the past?
In the movie The Conversation, a young woman, passing by an older man lying limply on a park
bench, says: “Whenever I see one
of these old guys … I always think they were once somebody’s beloved baby boy.”