Monday, July 18, 2011

Sweating July

   I follow behind him stealthily as to avoid detection. Summer whips its early afternoon breeze against his manicured hair. He tucks his face into his chest and quickens his pace. I compensate. I close the gap. My speed lifts me not unlike an airplane at the end of the runway. My perspective is altered as I now command the space above his left shoulder. I control my float with my palms-as a rudder in the smog. I'm unseen.
   The white tank top covers a majority of the Irish sweater on his chest. Sweat beads adorn the curled hairs of the sweater as the man walks at a purposeful gait. His black boots reminiscent of something that I can't quite pinpoint. They are not of this time-as I am not. The boots make a clapping noise as they hit the bespeckled concrete that is the sidewalk. He tries to avoid the cracks. He steps over them. Step on a crack and break your mother's back.  I didn't step on a crack.
   The tank is tucked into black dress pants that do not work for the climate, but must be necessary. The material sticks to his legs below the knee to the ankle where it loosens around the boot. The place behind the knee also gathers pant material.  I can see the small sections of the shirt where the man's body is perspiring the most. There is a vertical section running parallel to the spine and on either side roughly three inches long where the shirt has changed to gray, indicating moisture. There is a semi-circle just above the pant line that has a similar hue and gains momentum as does the man now barreling down Ashland. The sun creates an oil slick on his forehead and where he furls his brow there are crevices of winter skin hidden from the sun. His sunglasses have me guessing his interests, though the general direction of his head is a dead giveaway. He does not focus long and his head is on a swivel.
   As he passes glass windowed storefronts he looks into the reflection to assess his physical self. In this reflection he can see how his hairline is screaming for the back of his head. He looks and immediately replaces hairs that were designed to cover the vacant lots. The reflection draws like a magnet-skewing his trajectory. He reestablishes direction, looks forward, and without skipping a beat-continues on his path. He passes the Asian jerk joint, where they offer late night massages to the unimaginative. Eventually he passes the furniture store that is ten individual buildings with walls blown out to make it one. The polish grunts of Mike's furniture sit on buckets in the shade awaiting orders. They judge the man as the man reciprocates in transit. Their faces are hard. Their hands worn. Their inner pianos play sad songs. That is my view of it. Above and to the left. Warped. Probably wrong. Maybe right.
   They do not see me floating just behind the walker. I am incognito. I whisk past as does the thick air that is pulled down the avenue by the cars and trucks. I'm an unseen fixture unfixed in space sweating July.