Popular Posts

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

First Heat

October 14, 1980

To hell with the twenty first of December, winter in Passaic begins when I turn on the heat. It's part of the game we play, delaying the inevitable for a long as we can-- and the steady drain of money heat bills mean. Rocky prides himself on holding out until Nov. 1, but I gave in today. There was frost on the ground outside when I woke and the irascible wind gusting through the alley between buildings. In the dead of winter, the room on that side is impossible to bear. I've closed it off and slept in front of the stove. Even my hamster, Merlyn, has complained in his way, curling up into a ball at the corner of his cage, ready to hibernate.
There are some advantages just the same. The noise level sinks in winter. No more kids screaming through the car port with their games of tag. Nor radios blaring from open windows. Of course, the old lady upstairs will move around from time to time, pacing from one side of the frigid building to the other, her grandchild stomping up the stairs as if there was already snow.
And the gulls cry as the rise up over the buildings from the river, moaning the loss of summer and the fish. Next door the neighbors argue over who will walk the dog, and by the time I get out to run, the sun has risen, melting down the frosted edges of the river, leaving only the colored reflection of changing leaves that will soon turn brown. Bums huddle behind the church, making fire out of paper and discarded furniture, their wind burned faces lost in the steam of their own breath.
Watching them, I'm glad I have the option to turn on or off the heat, sink hole as it is, hoping I don't find myself in their place some sad October.

No comments:

Post a Comment