I dropped the ball on the people in your neighborhood, though I suppose I have only one character left. After Jacob and Cafe TiNY closed and John started making inappropriate comments (“What did you expect?” asked the Turk), I lost some enthusiasm for that route, but didn’t really gain it for another. In fact, yeah, I kind of got sick of my walk to Mysore. I did keep shooting. I fell behind in the thick of the semester and I’m still tagging the February 9 blizzard. But we’re moving along.
I still walk. I still Mysore. I still shoot. It’s light out when I leave now and the sun is much more harsh. By the walk back it’s too bright and contrasty to take good shots. With the point and shoot I can’t even see the screen with the sun glare. But I do adore the sun.
On all but the coldest days of winter, this woman lives on E 8th Street, just east of Fifth Avenue. She sleeps in front of this empty property near the painful sign SPACE AVAILABLE. BROKERS PROTECTED. There’s usually trash around her, spilled coffee, opened packets of cookies, wrappers. And her belongings are strewn about with it. Backpack. Dirty blankets. Books. She’s always sleeping when I walk to the shala, and usually awake by the time I walk back. She sits sometimes with a cup of coffee. Sometimes with a cigarette. She’s clearly ill. If it weren’t in her eyes, she’d make it known by hissing at passersby. Or yelling. My heart hurts each time I see her.
One day, near Valentine’s maybe, as I’d recently asked someone why anyone would find a stuffed animal an appropriate gift for an adult woman, I saw her teddy bear. Grey and grimy on the street near her pillow.
What is happening to us? How can we let people live like this?