Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Relief of Exterior Space


It’s a quiet day at the beach. Mid-week, overcast, an on-shore breeze.  I’m drawn to it today, even though it is not my official office hours, to get distance from and reflect on my neighborhood.
 
The police were called to my neighboring fourplex early this morning.  The argument in the lower front unit woke me up when she opened their door. It was just dawn, but two other neighbors were in the street, awakened by the downstairs neighbor and waiting. 
 
‘I’ve called the cops’ said one ‘Where are they?’ The other held a bat as prevention if the scene came outdoors.
 
Domestic violence. The woman in the lower unit would walk outside, lightly clad, and then turn back. The man inside would close the door, then open it to yell. She went back in, then came back out.   At length she sat on the curb in pajama top and panties though it was 50 degrees.  The police arrived, though no one was taken away.
 
We go outside to spend time with ourselves. Sometimes it is to heal, to rest, or reflect on our sorrows.  The best public places have activities and also spaces to be alone; spaces for privacy in the midst of the public. Because sometimes it is safer to be in public than to be at home.


-Helen Lessick

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