The barks of a mother overhead announce the dropping of gloves left behind like thunder precludes the rain. Two small boys stand in the guilt and dust as tiny red gloves flutters to the ground from a fourth-floor balcony. Dressed in little gentleman suits and already-crooked ties, their usual enthusiasm is neatly bridled. Neither tries to catch them. The gloves land on the ground with a puff as more mother-barks hammer down like hail. The now-not-so-red gloves are snatched up and quickly stuffed into a pocket to be forgotten again. History, as they say, inevitably repeats itself.
Shifting cumbersome backpacks they begin their trek to the gate with the snail’s pace of old men. The conversation is equally glum. No giggles or sticking out of tongues; just somber expressions and an occasional nod. The weight of the day ahead chokes out even the gleeful anticipation of the rollicking race home when it’s over. The bus arrives with a squeak of brakes and two little soldiers trudge off to war.
Morning comes shyly wrapped in a pastel gossamer gown. Like buttery silk she flows across the eyes. Lavender, gray and subtlest robin egg blue; a misty, smokey, mysterious woman is she. Serene, she’s still pale-star-dusted from her late night dalliance; the barest blush still in her cheeks. Softest wisps of silver-cloud-curls drift as she floats on a temple tapestry of flute, lost in her devotion, off to meet the afternoon.
Watching traffic buzz along like aimless bees, I hear “slap, slap, slap” coming up behind me. I pause a moment before I turn, wondering what this mystery sound could be. “Slap, slap, slap.” My mind frolics with possibilities. “Slap, slap, slap.” Whimsical rainbow fish falling from the sky? “Slap, slap, slap.” A walrus in a hurry? “Slap, slap, slap.” A bear on a bicycle with a flat tire? “Slap, slap, slap.” I turn. A little brown man in a dust-colored sweater, hunched against the cold is hurrying. The sun reflects from his bald dome atop a white ring of hair like an egg. He smiles a toothless smile as he passes. “Slap, slap, slap,” go his slippers as he scurries home. Much better than a walrus in a hurry.
Convened in gentle morning sunlight, the committee’s called to order. Each participant is at its post and eager to begin. Poised and alert. Focused. Third-floor clothes line, second floor balcony, fifth-floor brick jutting from the façade. The straggler waits on the rock wall across the lot. A shrill “pee-deep!” rings out; seconded. A third barks to disagree. Heated squeaking debate rings out. Bushy tails flailing; throes of squirrely conviction, argued. The loudest will prevail; until tomorrow.
These little squirrels live all over the apartment complex. I see them every day climbing the building like it was tree, going from balcony to balcony, nosing in potted plants, peering in windows. They don’t miss much. Every morning they convene in their favorite places and “peep” to each other. I often wonder what they’re talking about.
Droning tones of call to prayer drift ghostly in unpopulated fog. Eerie specters to the ears roam from home to home. They’re peering in windows, creeping through doors, searching for believers. The cold predawn defies the rule holding people in their beds, but it relinquishes them reluctantly. Duties must be fulfilled.
As a footnote: We live in a predominantly Hindu neighborhood, but the Muslim call to prayer can be heard in the distance. In the stillness of the early morning, before the sun comes up, it has a very eerie quality.
Tuning in. Head TV is airing and blaring 100 different programs again, simultaneously on the tv screen. I try to watch intently a miasma of commercial messages, melodramas, documentaries, thrillers, comedies, sci fi. My eyes dart from one to the other and back again. Sound bites blaring. Colors colliding. Ear and eye madness. I desperately try to focus on one channel looking for inspiration, but it’s deafening; impossible. Reruns! Exasperated. I want to turn it off but there’s no “off” button. This mind TV can’t be unplugged! I wheel the thing into the other room and close the door, ignoring it. Peace at last. I’ll watch it later. Maybe.
Steaming teacup promises chill-chasing inside smiles. Black pepper burn, ginger tang and cinnamon kiss dance in milky abandon. Rising from the cup, aromatic bliss teases the nose. Taste buds reach in gleeful anticipation of a spicy hot bath.
Fat little rolly peas go bouncing and cavorting. Freed from their cocoon unzipped; eager to explore. Impossible to catch, they go rolling. Boiing! Under the bin they go; hiding. Is that a giggle I hear?
I shut the door and threw the bolt. Turning, I left the night outside to stand guard. I hear it out there wrestling with the noises that come but I’m not afraid. I know it will lead the day safely back.