After lunch at home, I'm trudging back to work. Snow crunches underfoot. A layer of slush revealed in each tread or boot print. White, gray, black, crust, mantle, core, and I can feel warmth.
Brallier is a perfect alley. It stretches from the river to Tenth Ave. I can see the whole way down because any trees have been vanquished of their foliage. There's this old guy lurching towards me. He's in the middle of the road, in a gray work jacket with his name on it. Big dark glasses and mesh hat. A delivery truck is creeping along right behind him. The driver has beeped a few times, but gently--considerate to a cold, elderly heart.
"Hey!" I yell from the opposite end of the block. "There's a truck behind you!"
He steps to the side and waits, and I do the same. When we finally meet, I smile at him.
"That happened to me this morning. I had my headphones on." Lying.
With a hoarse, yet hardy chuckle, he turns and continues walking.
+ + + + + +
The handles of a now empty plastic bag whipped and snapped with the wind. A disjointed six-pack of Budweiser pressed into the snow. Around the lonely cans: yellowy stains like halos. Sadly, the tabs had not even been pulled. Holes on the sides and bottoms told of slow, frigid explosions. Maybe the weight of tires or clumsy feet.