Who are you …
Idk how to feel about the fact that despite my best efforts to disappear as much as possible I’m still perceived.
There’s a laundromat across from my building. The owner is an acquaintance (I always use this place). She’s in her 40s and has two grown daughters and a grandkid she doesn’t like. I know all this crap about her cause she’s told me, and I know her daughters cause they help her run the business. Why I have not forgotten some of it is probably cause her grandkid is a literal infant. And saying you don’t like a baby is kinda messed up, you know. To me.
So she’s always been very sweet and chatty with me, and I don’t mind. (I also don’t wanna walk three more blocks downtown carrying my laundry… so there’s that.)
I’ve been back 2 weeks and this is probably the first day I’ve really gone outside. And I finally did cause I had to go get more booze.
So the laundry’s piled up and I thought I’d drop it off on my way to the liquor store (I don’t like that place, it’s run by cranky old people but they’re so cheap I just go and take my shit and not exchange a word with these fuckers). I go in, the bell rings and she comes down. I can see their lovely husky looking at me from the door and I smile at her. I know her name and I call her by it: her pretty ears perk up. She remembers me too.
“Hi there A!”
I hand her the duffel bag. It’s packed, she weighs it. It didn’t feel that heavy to me but maybe it was.
So how much?
She only takes cash, so I gotta know before I hit the liquor store, which also only takes cash.
“Back already hm? I saw you before, through your window.”
“I mean, through my window!😆”
“I thought: how mean he hasn’t come say hello…”
She says something. I forget what. She tells me how much it’ll be: I say I’ll pick it up later.
I get to the liquor store and pick a bottle of vodka, a bottle of tequila, and a quarter whisky. I pay and leave and on my way back there’s this tiny shop I’d never seen before cause it’s often hidden by trucks that park in front of it to unload goods to the whole market.
It looks bright and the fruit looks good, and I’ve been thinking I should eat some fruit and start cooking again… I talk to the guy that’s sitting in a corner cleaning mangoes before he sets them neatly in a basket and turns out he’s the owner. We laugh at something, don’t remember what, and I’ve decided I will buy from him from now on.
From a window that lets waves of late morning light into the shop I can see the inner yard with a garden and a fountain: the remains of colonial architecture that’s been passed down for generations. He’s a tall mestizo with green eyes and graying brown hair, but his skin is a light olive tone just like mine.
“Come back anytime. Anything we don’t have on display you ask me: I keep a lotta things back there.”
He makes sure he keeps things like avocados and herbs safe from hands that would otherwise bruise them before they reach their buyers. I’m kinda touched, you know. It’s unusual… seeing someone care about what they do.
I think about that and about other useless stuff until half a block from the shop I’m suddenly on a corner at a crosswalk.
There’s this small guy standing closely in front of me. He looks like a kid from behind, but when he turns his head to see if there’s another car coming I can see he’s not. He’s pretty cute. Looks like a girl.
I start walking before he does (there’s no oncoming cars but maybe he can’t see that cause there’s a parked car blocking his view) and this truck drives by at the same time. I hear a dude shout: “Faggot!” like we’re back in the fucking 90s or something, and I smile.
Little guy didn’t hear them cause he’s wearing headphones, and he just walks on to wherever. I give him some room to get ahead of me cause the sidewalks are so narrow they only fit one person. As the distance grows between us I realize this isn’t a guy, or at least not a biological male. It cracks me up and I’m laughing on the inside. She turns to look at me and squints her eyes.
Maybe I didn’t laugh only on the inside… I can’t tell anymore, my guy. Do I just say and do whatever cause I’m back to being alone?
I’ve taken off my mask and I smile at her. She smiles back and turns around and hurries to catch a bus that’s letting people off at a stop.
And as I reach the corner the bus is turning and she’s sitting there looking at me and we flip each other off.
Who are you cute tomboy? 😩 don’t go…
Anyway, I just remembered what L said about watching me through my (her) window 😆:
I live on a 5th floor and she lives above her laundromat. I think I know which window (of hers) she means. But you can clearly see my window from there and I don’t have any curtains (maybe I should). Anyway, the heater closet in right next to that window and I only turn it on when I’m gonna shower so she’s probably seen me naked a few times.
This isn’t the first time someone’s told me they can see my place from theirs. My landlord’s wife told me once that she can see my door and all the way into my flat from her living room. (“It’s a good thing too cause if anyone tries to get in when you’re not in I can see them…” lol).
There are a few shops on my block and every person working there knows where I live. It’s not strange at all cause this is a tight knit community, you know. I’m just a stranger they’ve adopted. Pre-covid whenever there was a party or celebration or religious thing going on they would invite me. I’ve never rejected any of these invitations, even if I almost never showed up, so maybe that’s why there’s a sense of closeness going on.
I have no idea what they think of me, nor do I care, but I know that they think of me and that is so fucking weird, my guy.
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