There is a beautiful neighborhood near where I live. There is much history within its narrow streets. There’s also a creek that runs in between two long and winding rows of houses and abandoned buildings, where the shadows of the trees tremble in backyards and on stone and brick walls. I go there to walk around. Sometimes I sit on the withered and worn out stones lying at the miniature wooden door of some Armenian church, which has long been empty of a prayer. One day I’ll creep inside and see what it’s like in there. Quite frankly, until now that thought hadn’t occurred to me. Regardless, it is a beautiful neighborhood. I am more than certain that many people know of this place; however you can always find silence throughout the day and there never seems to be any heavy traffic. Like I said, it’s the history that lies within its narrow streets. History keeps people quiet as they come and go.
The other day I left my house with a letter I had received from abroad. I hadn’t opened it yet and I decided to go for a walk. The contents of the letter weighed heavy through the envelope and I knew that reading it would either kill me or intoxicate my eyes and soul. I decided to keep it sealed and unread and just walk around for a while, consumed by what I had done. I remember staring at myself in a mirror before leaving the house. I stared deep into my eyes and made many faces. “You could’ve picked silence,” I muttered with an evil grin and added hysterically, “But no! You had to make it known. I guess you’re happy now you fool! The end has arrived!” I remember letting out a laugh as I locked the house door and entered the street. A sentence came to mind. I repeated it as I began my walk. “I’m the man impartial of the outcome. I’m the man in a box made of me, and I shall breathe and go to sleep, night after night, regardless of the outcome.” I repeated it over and over again and I began to feel that it would make a wonderful poem.
I felt once again the weight of the outcome, put on paper, inside my pocket as I reached for my cell phone and turned it off. I had received the letter two days ago and since then I had observed only and quite critically the handwriting on the envelope, the stamp, the smoothness of each curve on every S. I had consumed for two days now, the focus and care that I felt had been put into the writing. I’d stared at the damn thing for hours on end unable to predict a single word and incapable of ridding myself of regret.
Winter seemed to be over. There weren’t many people out at midday. I made my way, speeding as usual, to the beautiful neighborhood where I go to walk. I noticed from afar a few kids that were tossing a plastic ball around. As I approached them, one of them fumbled the ball and it bounced off of his foot and rolled into the creek. The other two kids yelled at him and he dropped his head with his smile and walked over to the water. The kid got down on his hands and knees, on the edge of the grass and began to reach. “Do you need some help?” None of them said anything as I walked over to the water. The ball hadn’t even hit the water. It had landed perfectly against a plastic bag, which was filled with something soft. Something soft in a plastic bag saved their ball from the water. I didn’t question what it might’ve been. I sat down without looking at the kid next to me and made my way down calmly and grabbed the ball. “Here you go,” I said as I handed it to him and smiled.
“Thanks,” he said, getting up quickly and throwing the ball towards his friends. I came back out on the grass and continued my walk, further down the creek. There was a man walking in the opposite direction as me. He had a crooked cigarette in between his lips and his hands seemed to be stuffed incredibly deep within his jacket pockets. He wore jeans bearing streaks of mud and dirt with a few holes by his knees. He caught my stare as I walked by him and for some absurd reason that I’m yet to figure out, I smiled at him and said, “Hello.”
“Good day,” I heard him say when we had already passed each other. His voice ached in his throat, or so it seemed. There was something about his crooked cigarette and his weary eyes, or perhaps there was just some history in his worn out jeans.
About a quarter of an hour had gone by when I reached the silent church. There, I sat down as usual and had a smoke. I wasn’t alone. I ran my eyes down the creek and the snake like strip of grass. There was a young couple sitting by the water. The boy was leaning back against a tree with his feet stretched out towards the creek. The girl was sitting to his left with her legs crossed calmly as she stared at him constantly. Gradually I began to pay attention. “Where will you go?” she kept asking him. They were clueless to my presence behind them. Sitting there, taking silent drags off of a cigarette by the church, I stared at them attentively. “I love you with all my heart,” she said to him. “I will always love you and I don’t care what others think or say. I love you and that is all that matters to me.”
There were silent pauses here and there and I was leaning forward ever so casually, focusing on the boy’s head and waiting for him to speak. He seemed to be gazing blankly at the water and the girl’s eyes, from what I noticed, never once left the sight of the boy. She was facing him the whole time and I could see the side of her face. She was young, maybe sixteen or seventeen. My cigarette, for some absurd reason that I’m yet to figure out, tasted much more bitter than usual and I put it out with disgust, still keeping my eyes on the young couple by the water. “I could never find it in my heart to leave you,” she said as she grabbed his hand.
Within my gaze, within my thoughts, I wanted to walk over there, grab the boy by his collar and put him up against the tree. “Don’t believe her you idiot! What the hell is the matter with you, huh? What are you like sixteen? You don’t know anything you idiot! Sure as hell she doesn’t know what she’s talking about either. Open your eyes you stupid kid!”
I still walk around all the time, and I’m yet to figure out what to do and how to love. The contents of someone’s thought, weighs heavily within my chest.