wander the sea

Fragments from a static radio

Photo: Cynthia Via

Music in Bryant Park: Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra…

The songs pull me, and I find myself staring at the white ice— the skaters going round, some with more gusto and fancy arms, others trailing, dragged by their heavy skates, with caution so as not to fall. The dancers and the ice, the music is loud and beautiful, and I watch. I find a seat and eat my grapes.

The clumsy  little girl skating, holding onto the fence for dear life, as the last people leave

Behind her is the voice that keeps ringing, “clear the ice!” Everyone is gone except for her. The last one, she makes it out, almost falling, saving herself from slipping and smacking the floor. She walks out to the carpeted area and sits down near her parents. Her parents never look at her.

 Man in the train with the name tag on his waist: Jasmin K

The creepy man with a beard, stares. And me uncomfortable, trying to grab the pole next to the door, next to the sweaty man, then there is a smell, and people keep entering at every stop. When does it end? The smelly man, the creepy man, my arm hurting from holding the pole that ten people are grabbing. Finally they left, and I was left at the pole, alone across a guy not seen before, a blank face leaning on the door, who I was too tired— shy to smile at.

 The thrift shop, the walk to the bus

I walk from Broadway thinking it would never come. Finally I had the good sense to wait on the stop. There’s a lady in a wheel chair, and some people sitting on the bench. I sit next to an old guy, playing with his radio. It’s only a radio. First there was news then he switches stations, switches, again: the static and voices continue. He says something blurred to no one at all.  He goes back to his radio, mumbling. The bus. Everyone gets on, except for the old man with the radio. I wait for the lady in the wheelchair to enter. She smiles at me. She is wide-eyed and has blond streaks on her hair. She’s in a good mood and has made a friend with a woman. Her aid pushes the wheelchair in the bus. The ladies make friendly conversation and laugh about the small stuff. I get on, the bus leaves, and the old man continues playing with his radio. Through the window, the last I see of him are his dentures sticking out in a smile.

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