the city: the neighbors

The windows are only open for the fleeting week or two of hot summer weather that scorches the Golden Gate in October. And so there is no one to lean over the back fence and gossip with, there are only proximate strangers suddenly visible and audible: a white South African émigrée cradling her cellphone (she will be leaving soon, she spends the winter months in the southern hemisphere); a couple with a young child who cries for hours at a time as if her heart would break, while her parents lowered voices offer unending negotiations; a stylish man with bruised eyes and heavy lashes, to whose back yard young Asian boys seem to gravitate; he silently watches them water the garden. And of course the whole audio canvas is washed with the grim, heavy sound of cars roaring down the twisting road from Twin Peaks.

When the cool fog descends again, and we can close the windows and hide from one another, we are deeply grateful.