We Live Here Now (after @weliveherenow)

 

We live here now. House of brick, black shutters, screened in side porch, slate walkway. A kind of corner lot, but not really. On one side there’s a gravel alley and on the other side Alice and her husband live in a house that looks like ours. She blows the leaves around and empties the bag of leaves onto the yard full of leaves. I’m not sure of her method, but the husband’s is more clear. He sits on the back stoop and smokes for long stretches of time, hunched over a newspaper. The other day you told me you like his look: Big gray beard, faded red Patagonia jacket, a cap pulled down low over his eyes. We watch them from our kitchen window, bare without curtains or a shade. You want more privacy, so people can’t look in the way we look out, but I wave it off. We’re neighbors, right? And this is the city. Of course it’s not the city like I knew once, apartments so close I could reach my arm out my bedroom window, swat a pigeon away, and nearly reach into another person’s living room. It wasn’t even a bedroom, not really, but that was a kind of city life I don’t think you’d ever want. I close my eyes and try to remember all three of my city addresses, but they’ve mostly faded. How many addresses have we shared? This one makes five: One for every year we’ve been together. Today I washed the blinds for hours while the painter worked in the dining room smoothing Alpaca gray on the walls behind my piano and you rode your bike in the park with my brother. I worked so long I forgot how angry I’ve been for weeks now. How everything irritates me and my whole body is a bottomless well of frustration and tension. A friend sent me a message that said you look so happy lately in your pictures! And I said actually I’m not and then wondered if maybe she isn’t right and social media is just one stupid, wishful layer of the truth. I admire my work on the blinds, the faint smell of bleach and wood and dust tracing my skin. In the bathroom upstairs, I see particles of dust forming again already on the blinds I wiped there just yesterday, when I started cleaning. I laugh to myself. Force the smile and let it spread. A new practice I’m trying; a kind of disruption. When you come home I tell you this dumb story of the cycle of dirt and dust and chores as if to say look how much I’ve done! And also look how it’s never done. But we live here now and I want it to be beautiful. We keep walking into the electric green-blue on the kitchen walls now and think beautiful. Coastal Aqua. Expansive and hopeful. Or that’s how I think of it. Surprised every time I turn the corner. That we did it. That we made it. That we live here now. That love feeds us enough to go on. That love finds us in every corner, despite every inch of dust growing there constantly, begging to be wiped away.