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Scenes at the edges of the Common

Saturday 6/19/21

Five mile walk today. Coming back, at one edge of the Common, two men, positively painted with tattoos--necks and all--and with one wearing a Celtics jersey, the other a ratty contractor sweatshirt--likely guys from the heart of Southie--are told by a Chinese man working a pushcart that sold some form of nuts that it's cash only. The men swear. A lot. "What the fuck kind of fuck is this fucking fuck." They shamble away, and each takes a turn making fun of how the Chinese man spoke.

The other end: junkies. Lots of junkies strung out on their heroin, all but rubbing up against mentally ill people with megaphones shouting inannities into the air. One is going on about the real reason for Santa Claus, which he maintains was political. Everything is political to these people. These lonely, living ghosts.

Just outside of the Common, three meatheads walk together, two of them rapt on the words of what seems to be their leader. They all have tank tops. The leader says, "I like to carb load before I dial in on my pre-workout workout. Get locked and loaded." The other meatheads look up at him as if he is the Christ here at the foot of the Park Street Church.

On the other side of the church sits a homeless woman. A small girl--maybe seven--with flaxen hair--looking all the more like straw in the sun--walks over to the woman and gives her some amount of money in dollar bill form. The girl's mother awaits for her further down the block. The girl must have said something and asked if she could go back. She walks backwards away from the woman sitting on the street. Fixing her gaze on her. I don't know what she's waiting to see. What she thinks she might see or what could happen. But she walks backwards a full twelve, fifteen steps, just watching the woman sitting on the street who is doing nothing.

I check my phone to see what imbecility will inevitably stare me back in my own face. And there it is. I respond. Hit "erase" once again.


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