Excerpt: “Crying Widows”

20 Mar

It’s where I learned how to read, on this trolley line. 2B from Boulevard Magheru to Unity Plaza. Going to kindergarten every morning. I learned to read the marquises: Restaurant. Cinema Scala. Notarra Theatre. My Da used to bring me back home by the hand. Two kilometers. We walked together every afternoon. He always brought giant, purple grapes to eat on the way. He spat out the seeds, though. They upset his stomach. Spat them out on the street. It was allowed and accepted that a man his age and stature spit out grape seeds.

I’ve been riding this line for thirty-six years. I still live in the flat in which I grew up. On the 6th floor of the ONT building. Well, used to be the ONT building. Funny thing’s been happening lately. I keep seeing women crying in public. Everywhere I go. From the window of this trolley just now. They’re everywhere. On streets, in parks, waiting in lines, standing next to trees, knocking on doors, checking their watches, waiting in bus stop shelters. At University and Union, sitting on a bench, nearly climbing into her woolen scarf I heard the muted sobs of a badly dyed blonde woman. In front of the old Central Committee building, on the street, I was passed by a well-dressed student who couldn’t contain herself. A tiny older lady in Herastrau Park, standing by the empty swings, sighing and wiping off tears. She was dressed in black and had short, bluntly cut hair. All these faces I remember. They’re all spliced together in a long line of celluloid.

You know how they say that with your last breath you see your life poured into a stream before your eyes? I wonder if mine will just be the faces of these women projected onto the white hospital walls of my room.

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