Jimmy and I can't keep cats or dogs in our apartment at port's edge, but that's ok and only ok because although we like cats, I don't like dogs. I wanted to have trees, one for each year, to drop buds, bouganvillea maybe, on our slate gray floor but trees are costly to acquire on a baristaís budget. So: parakeets. A green one and a pink one and one with stripes, any color, definitely. I want to hear the parakeets twitter in the early morning just as I heard my motherís parakeets twitter in the early afternoon before the sun dropped and the night creamed noir over the city.
. . .
Awkward young woman, thatís me. I donít look people straight. My voice shifts in tone and accent, the kind of voice that belongs to someone who will always be a stranger, unwilling to be pinned down to a city or a region or a nation, wary of the very idea of a homeland. I pretend Iím Invisible, Nobody, Jane Doe. I used to be agoraphobic, fearful of open spaces teeming with people. Iíd wear headphones, sometimes with the sound turned low or off, and walk through campus like that, pretending as if I was in my own world although, in truth, my skin prickled at the dazzling nearness of strangers. Then I got a bike; I was closer to freedom, whizzing easily into the spaces between flesh and flesh, flesh and building, building and building, by day or preferably night. My friends are not at all like me; they handle superficial encounters with enviable aplomb.
Sometimes I wonder if I will be an awkward old woman, the kind of woman trailing crooked hems and relationships ellipses-fraught. Dreams and people and emotions, perpetually on hold. I hope not.
There is a woman I want to read in a story I have not written yet. She is just past her youth and living in a country that cannot claim her as its own citizen. She doesnít look for finalities. She isnít afraid of the strange, the unfamiliar, the wildernesses in people. She does not shy away from possible friendship; she looks at people straight.