n. time between midnight and noon

The heat of the sun, entering the windows, waking me from another night of fitful sleep. The ringing doorbell; the douchebag rings it three times. Nobody needs to ring a doorbell more than once, least of all at seven in the fucking morning.

The groggy, grumpy walk. Opening doors. There, in the corner, the same bag of garbage the neighbours took out yesterday. A canine symphony in the morning. Gates unlocked, plates prepared, breakfast cooked. The too-strong, too-sweet coffee.

A small bathroom; minutes in front of a book or a screen. Contemplations in the shower; why don’t I think of these things when I have easier access to pen and paper?

Getting dressed is a chore; clothes are heavy, and uniforms are reminders of what keeps getting left behind. The shoe fits, barely, but it will have to do. If I buy new ones, it will feel like entertaining the possibility of needing them longer. A kiss, declining money but taking it anyway, one foot ahead of the other in a long and much-needed walk.

The asphalt road, the bumpy road; if you go through M. Castro fast enough you’d probably get a bad case of neck strain and dizziness. The Hummer, parked on the roadside, and the road is small enough without the Hummer shrinking it even more; who even likes Hummers anyway? They’re the ugliest cars second only to a Prius, offence unintended (but deserved).

The small intersection by the satellite market, the waiting shed home to a shirtless man who always stays there until nightfall, the two large cans of garbage, the line of santan shrubs. Lee’s mum’s sewing shop with the mannequins; I went to their house and stayed until midnight, there were mannequins in the living room, too, the living room was dark, I don’t know how they manage but I suppose it’s all a matter of getting used to it.

The hidden school, the vacant lot that houses what feels like an old chapel; a small stall that sells fruits and baduya; another sidestreet that leads to a dead-end, the one with a trash house; an electronics repair shop that looks just as much in need of repair; a puppy tied to a leash outside a house, playing with dead plants, floppy ears and fat tummy and fluffy fur coat.

The eskinita with the dormitels, the bridge and the traffic lights; the cathedral, still closed, opens at 8am; the sister school; the convenience store; cigarette smoke in corners; a mural by the wall in glaring shades of pink and red; there used to be a laundry shop right next to this plot of land that was once standing ovation; the place is cursed, they say, because anyone who eats from standing never graduates on time.

The guards, the pillars, the bulletin boards, the stairs, a tedious job of reaching for the doorknob to open the door, the sofa, the table, the only place I still call home.

I need to leave.


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