jolie laide

jolie laide

I started this when I lived in Brooklyn and struggled for grace in a city that grants moments of beauty and ugliness breathtakingly close to one another. Now I live in a place where things are a different kind of ugly and the beauty is pedestrian. I struggle with that.


I am sitting in her living room on a low sprung couch. I've only met her once or twice and in any other social setting I would not know much about her. But I have read the files, ten years of them. They are thin on details and not well written, but I can see the thumbprints all over them. Of a man who does what he wants to, of a man who likes to dominate women, a bully, a user, a potential for violence like a thundercloud sweeping toward you.

I shift in my seat. In the cramped space between the coffee table and the couch edge I have to lean backwards to re-cross my legs. When I do, I am looking at the ceiling, at the hook there. It's not one of those little white hooks you use to hold the swag for a chandelier. It is substantial, black, iron. It is sunk deep into a beam, it is meant to hold weight. My mind is clouded with what that could be for and trying not to think of what it could be for. I feel cold.

When I leave I go up a quiet side street. I like this neighborhood, it reminds me of Brooklyn. 100 year old houses and lots of street life. With that you get some sketch, and why wouldn't you. The local "Japanese" joint only has sushi from Tuesday til Friday and the corner bar opens at 10AM for beer and sausages, but people still walk places and there is good coffee and good burritos and plenty of good, hardworking people.

I want to keep liking this area of the city. I hope that is what remains tomorrow.


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