Sunday, February 8, 2015

Yuanli (2)

A kid sat at our table. Studying history in college, like I did. I laughed telling him how useless I thought anthropology was as an undergrad – and here I am now teaching it. A customer told me Pax’s shoe had fallen off, and helped me put it on. On the way back we took the ‘secret way’ through the middle of the block, half of whose homes are abandoned and falling into ruin. Fuelled by caffeine no doubt, I suddenly felt it would be a great place for the kids to play. I’ve always been intrigued by empty houses – that burned one in Eagle Pass, Texas, in college, where I picked up a ring of blackened keys, and kept them. I put Paxy down on the broken roof tile fragments and found a bit of tubing for him to play with. There was a bathtub outside, filled with earth and growing weeds. A small mirror unit with a drawer and cabinet door was placed on the floor, empty. Walking that alley we had passed brick, mud brick and cement-walled houses, roofs gone or caving in, some intact, others with plants growing from the floors. These vacant frames are soothing somehow, the shells of unknown lives since moved on.

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