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When ever my old landlord would come over, I never knew where to put my hands. You can’t sit down when these things happen and it would happen often. My roommate was never home and would leave empty beer bottles in well arranged pyramids near the kitchen window. The landlord would comment on them, not to say that it was wrong, but almost in a way that would show that he was disappointed he wasn’t invited. I’d have to explain to him that no, it wasn’t a party, it’s just that my roommate has two beers for breakfast each morning.

He was foreign in a way that could have been Eastern European or Latin American depending on what you had him talking about. He liked to talk about girls a lot. This explains the hands dilemma. 

He came over once and asked about a girl he saw me come home with. I explained that it was just a friend and he stole a pair of my shoes from right outside the door on the way out. I saw him do it.

A few weeks later, I had told him that I had gotten some things stolen from the apartment and he almost started crying. He took his hat off and wiped his brow. He said, “These things happen. I once told myself I could live without shoes and then I cut up my feet outside. That was six years ago.”

I saw him once after I had moved out. He told me that the people who are in the apartment now grow dill on the window sill and sometimes give him some. He doesn’t visit them often though, he told me.

I just wish I had more pairs of shoes to pass around.

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brocante  736There have been clouds for days now and still she takes this time.  She stopped lining her shoes, just a pile of color and shapes, heels pointing every which way.  She holds her arms each time up and down the stairs, always chilled.  Just thought you should know, she reads cereal boxes to herself now.  She ran out of milk.  

Tim? She asked me.

And I said Yeah?

And she said she wanted to dye her hair or buy a car or travel or do none of those things ever ever again and could I get her a glass of water?  Oh never mind, she said.

And you should know that she still writes and she says it’s not to you that it’s just stuff she says.

Tim? She said.  

And I said, Yeah?

And she said that she remembers camping in Mexico, and the bonfire that one night, setting our breath to the waves, she said, and she said that she remembers getting a head massage and she thought it was from you, but never could remember to ask I said that Aries always really like head massages.

She still does

And she still does and still does.

Just thought… Yeah.

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Double-Knot.

timfieldThere was a board of gold stars next to each name in my kindergarten classroom.  I got the star for the finger painting and for the public service when I helped Carlin get her bag to the top cubby. I got the star for being punctual and the star for reading a story to the class. I grew that year and as I did my shoes seemed smaller. I never could get the star for double knotting my laces.  And I would try and I would practice, but I never did get the technique.

My teacher would do it for me. Right before recess, I would do the cross, the take-it-behind, the loop, the bunny ears, pull through, and then I’d freeze.

“This part’s the easiest,” she’d say and I’d say that no, that I saw what needed to happen but I just couldn’t get there.

And I would try and I would practice and again because by the end of the year, my shoes had gotten tighter, and I’d walk into that open field  across the lot at recess, and I wouldn’t feel the sun on my face, nor see the shadow behind me.  I wouldn’t see the grass in waves in the wind, nor feel my arms stretched out wide into the expanse.  

All I had were shoes too tight around me and a knot I couldn’t get out.

And I try and I practice.

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