In the Utica rail station I imagine my grandmother waiting for my grandfather’s returning train at the end of WWII. I picture her leaning against a column with her eyes watching everything; her fingers knotting behind her back; her skirts swaying slightly as she tenses with each arrival notification. This thought ends abruptly with the sight of the bathroom wall by the urinal – bright romance trumped by dingy need.
The girls are not here. They are estranged from their mother once again. Daneal’s absence is a seasonal thing. She could appear any minute dragging her storms and earthquakes with her. This time though Desi ran off. That’s a sad first. I know she’s fine but the silence she left behind is a heavy one. A layer of the atmosphere thins when she’s gone – the floating, antagonistic hope that this place needs so badly.
In the late afternoon the clouds gather and the sunlight begins to taste like steel. The house fills with the hiss of the coffee maker’s last round of the day, staccato gossip and the clack of the cigarette machine. Behind it all is an unspoken waiting for the rain to begin, for the day to end, for something to change.