Vignette #1: Left Behind
I’ve decided to write a few vignettes about my daily life in Brooklyn in the next few weeks. Our landlord is renovating the building we’ve lived in for seven years so we’re leaving our apartment in Brooklyn on April 1st. We’ll be subletting an apartment nearby but soon to be homeowners North of the city (more on this soon!) so our move is as exciting as it is bittersweet. In the meantime, I hope to capture what I love about our Brooklyn neighborhood, here.
I walk with the blue laundry bag that’s lost its cinch, a rope unwound and vanished. The community garden hibernates. Wooden chairs on their heads and a table with its legs sticking up. The crocuses have been up and frosted over, again and again, in an ever dissolving and evolving winter.
I walk past the bus stop and the President Street market, near the grates that Little O likes to stomp on. Here, on the corner, is the bodega we never go to because we have our bodega on Union. And we are loyal. We know its rows and its overpriced milk and the deli meats graying and dulled behind the glass. We know its day-old, speckled bananas because Miss Li gives them away as if she’s doing us the favor.
It’s here, I stop, with my laundry bag. I rest the blue fabric against the sidewalk. He stands next to the rack of newspapers with a stripe of white mustache. I nod a ‘hi’. He nods his. I leave him behind. As I have done for years. I leave him on the way to the markets and the laundromats, on the way to the rest of my day.
When I turn the corner, I stop, let the bag fall in a lump at my feet. I adjust it again. I tell myself I will make it to the laundromat without letting go. And I do. The door swings its tinkling bell. I place it on the old metal scale. A girl, who changes too often, who can not remain a constant in my life because she has to get on with her own, takes my telephone number. She asks separate or together?
Together, I say. Because I do not know the nuances of temperature and color. I do not know the heat of a laundry’s steaming swirl.
She hands me my ticket and when I return, that evening to pick it up, she’s gone. Someone else in her place. And the next time another in hers.