Portraits (1)

She pauses. A tiny lady dressed tastefully in black. Hair perfectly groomed, slim calves, lovely shoes. A flirtatious girlish pause, as she looks directly towards the balcony. Her childhood sweetheart lived there once, her daily pause an exquisite pleasure, enough in the end to sustain a life.

Every morning the howling man welcomes the day. Baptising the city with his cries of despair. There are no words for this anguish.

Her eyes dart here and there, here and there. She paces the street corner: forward and back, back and forward. Drug-gaunt, she sings and dances, such happiness! Passers-by involuntarily smile and those that see her daily greet her by name.

Every day the little dog precedes her as she leaves the building. Always drags her back when she tries to re-enter. Her uncle a noted artist, was murdered recently. She lives in his childhood home with her son. And her eager, sniffing dog.

You hear her screaming every day, at least once a day. Abusive, wounding words. Echoed by her middle-aged daughter who is both the target and the aggressor. The bond of love, mysterious and enduring.

He sits at the same bench every day from about 7:45am looking at the people streaming past. He’s quite dirty and quite smelly, occasionally he begs but mostly he is sustained by those who everyday buy him a coffee, a meal, a cigarette. And offer a coin or two to tide him over.

Lucky day! The little girl, African. An exquisite beauty, smiling and tossing her lovely head as she skitters along the street. Her father’s firm grasp no match for the girl’s vitality. She makes my heart sing.

The dancing girls are long gone. No clients, music, booze, the cigarettes extinguished and a cleansing renovation later, behold a gleaming office space. Daily reminders for those in the know of another business, a private corner, sexy-soft lighting. Ooh la la!

He is nocturnal-white, a weird young man with darting eyes and a mad smile. You cross the street, with a sideways glance to make sure he’s not about to turn on you. Feral, nocturnal, he surfaces from a basement apartment for a daily coffee. You never see him return. But every morning there he is again.