Friday, July 16, 2010

On Our Block

At about 9 p.m., about the time my children are getting ready for bed, the little block outside our front door starts to pick up.

It's hot in New Jersey, and the day is no time to loiter around on the pavement - people move quick and get out of the heat when they get the chance.

When the darkness rolls in with it's cooler air, doors start to open and folks stroll by with no hurry on their way to parties and bars. My neighbors come out too, watering their plants, letting restless children run a little in the cool air, gathering in little impromptu knots of twos and threes to talk. It's like watching a little nocturnal ecosystem start to percolate and chatter.

I stood for a while tonight talking with my friends, letting my daughter get in a few extra episodes of Sponge Bob while I stood outside the open window and caught up on the small news.

I'm getting better at enjoying these little spaces, just putting the unpleasant tasks of the day behind me, forgetting the tough discussions, the arguments around making a living. I can stand and talk and enjoy without my thoughts jumping back and forth between what's happened and what might.

"Gotta get the second kid to bed," I said finally, making my apologies before coming back into the house.

"Okay Dave, have a good night," said one of my older neighbors, a kind, retired truck driver with arms like small tree trunks and about twice my time behind him, "Going to bed soon too."

The house is quiet now; the block is quieter too.

I've had ambitions in my life, some of them are still with me, but there are moments like these when really all I want is to come home to this little cobblestone block each night in the kind weather to where people know me.


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