June 23, 2009


There is nothing quite like a humbling little walk through the hood in your jammy outfit in the blazing hotness of 8:47 a.m. on a workday. Good morning people with your dogs and fitness routine and your commuter bikes. Good morning, neighbors. Good morning I have not brushed my teeth and only have been awake maybe 15 minutes. Good morning I am wearing indoor clothes outdoors and the too big pony hair sandals Heather Kenny brought to the last clothing swap two Junes ago that were still in a bag on the back porch which was fortunate because all the way to JR's house is kind of far to go sans shoes entirely. Hello elderly couple that looks scared for me, I am only locked out, not cracked out. Hello denizens of Ukraninan Village, I am on my way to the spare keys of my best friend.

After Chicago avenue, I realized the too big pony hair sandals were an impedement and if I was looking like such crunkled shit already, what difference do shoes make. I took them off and picked them up in front of the golden Orthodox church while a pacing teenage boy watched. I put the shoes back on to cross Augusta, and then again when I reached the side of the Empty Bottle as there were so many lipstick slicked filters on the ground and the sidewalk is much darker; no one should go bare foot on Western.

I removed the right one and pounded on the door of JRs house four times. I yelled his name three times. I waited for the street sweeper and the traffic to calm a bit. I noticed his air conditioner was dripping. Surely he would not hear me. More yelling his name, this time higher, shriekier, to cut through the lulling white noise and cool air of his room, where he was probably only 4 hours into slumber. His head popped out from around a fan in the living room window. "Hi Buddy!" It is good he was home, as my other option was Matt, at his new job down at City Hall.

JR came outside with my keys and told me the dream he'd just had, about how human flight had been made possibly due to air current science and we were jumping from planes and landing safely on the ground, then partying at an abandoned hospital. I tucked my keys into my pocket, and headed home. I went shoeless most of the way. I wondered if the old people on their porches in my old neighborhood recognized me and wondered what sort of terrible fate had befowled me that was causing me to pace Oakley Avenue shoeless, with my bedhead cowlick pointing towards the sky. I wondered if people thought I was just a sloppy person, or if I was on a particularly shameful walk-of-shame.

When I passed the church a second time, the boy was still there. We made eye contact as I was putting the shoes back on to cross the street.

I kept checking for the keys in my pocket. As a kid I lost my house keys all the time, I spent most of 6th grade afterschool waiting on the porch of my parents home. I lost my keys so often that I had to go to a therapist because it was believed perhaps I was doing it on purpose. I told the therapist the only truth: This has nothing to do with my parents divorce. I was disorganized and forgetful, my school bag was a mess of undone homework and half eaten lunches and tapes, plus why would I want to be locked out of my own house? My explanation apparently sufficed and I was not made to return to further investigate the issue of chronic key loss.

Alas! I returned home, keyed and bedraggled, and realized, could have ridden my bike, and I needn't have gone into the hall looking for Wyatt, as he was trapped in the closet. Not R. Kelly style though--he was just trying to get to the cat food.

Posted by jessica hopper at June 23, 2009 11:38 AM | TrackBack