Saturday, 5 November 2011

61) A Walk

    He walks out of his apartment complex and heads down the dirty streets looking for a place to sit and enjoy what’s left of the day. After years of pills and therapy he’s found that a simple sit in the park is the cheapest cure.
    First he walks down Grant street with more apartments and the occasional convenience store. Then a right on Cesar Chavez and it’s the freeway ramp off on the right and gas stations every other block up to Mission Street. All the towering signs look like the strangest parodies of trees.
    He hears the sounds of childrens laughter, playing rough and rattling chains on monkey bars. That’s St. Cynthia’s boy’s school a block over. He keeps walking and their shouts of joy fade into the noise from the street.
    All of a sudden an elderly woman pushing a walker appears from out from an alley. She’s short and hunched over in a greasy overcoat. She smells like off cheese and has thing greasy grey hair. He jumps out of the way and she gives him a ward against the evil eye and spits at his feet.
    “Hey, what’s your problem?” He says.
    She mumbles curses in a guttural language. He puts up his hands and backs off. “Look lady, I don’t know what’s wrong with you. But you can have it.”
    She gazes up at him with her piercing red rimmed eyes.
    He can’t meet her eyes but instead has to stare below them at her flapping lips, six teeth, a salt and pepper mustache, porous nose all red and veiny. He finally breaks his attention away and turns around to go to the park.
    The old woman is still yelling at him. He double times it down the street and her voice fades in the distance. He rounds the corner of Cesar Chavez and Gogh St and there is his salvation, his neighborhood park, anemic with one slide and two swings and a single bench. A single occupied bench. A single bench occupied what that horrible old lady in it.
    He puts his head down and keeps moving the park. The old woman starts screaming at him again. He runs away down Gogh. He glances back and she’s gotten up from the bench and is slowly following him on her walker, its tennis balls scraping away at the cement.

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