★★★★ A pale gray ceiling of cloud blew away into blue sky. In the apartment lobby, a baby squawked while its plastic baby-cover was being zipped over its quilted baby-bag. Two women in full winter gear on the downtown 1 train were accompanied by a third in a knit dress and tights, sleeves just past her elbows, with no sign of a hat or coat in her possession. How had she gotten to the train in the first place? Shadows pointed up Seventh Avenue, and light deflected back and forth across the cross street, two bounces before it hit the ground. In the time it took to buy warm socks and new jeans, the downtown sky went from clear and dazzling to lumpy gray. Wind shoved the shopping bag around. Uptown, the river was a woodcut pattern of sunlit polygons and their shadowed counterparts, accented with whitecaps. In the time it took to salvage a braise that had baked dry and to convince the toddler to play ball at the playground instead of in the apartment, the sky had cleared out once more. There were little slicks of ice on the climber and crusts of salt in the open asphalt yard. The swings were freely available; there was a scrap of napkin in the coat pocket big enough for the runny nose. Little clouds were shooting past the building tops at high speed. The toddler turned numb and wind-ruddied, but did not want to leave. On the way back, a gust flung dirt up the avenue from where the new house of worship, having long since finished its own entrance, stopped even pretending to work on rebuilding the public sidewalk. Even with yards of advance notice, there was no way to keep the grit out of the mouth. Indoors, the toddler began to thaw out. Another blast of wind punched out one of the heavy panels on top of the rising apartment building, where the next floor would be poured, and tossed it upside-down. A layer of pink ink had been added to the design on the river.
Tuesday, January 21st, 2014
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