In the apartment next to mine was a single mother whose name was Natalie. She kept her television against the joint wall. I had no clue what was going on in the shows her children watched, but I carried the songs around in the rain. The positive words, light melodies. I worked as a caterer. Natalie was a stylist. She wore her hair in a pageboy, bleached white-blonde. Some nights I’d meet up with people I knew. The fray in the hems of our jeans would leave coin-sized puddles on buckled floorboards. From within our heavy mugs the bitter ale would glow like fire. Other nights I worked late. At the wheel of the catering van I’d lean to mess with the radio dial and sometimes I’d get this guy who played nothing but jazz from the 1920s. He loved that period. In time I began loving it too. The guy worked hard to recreate the events leading up to the recordings he played. He wanted his listeners to see what he saw. The wipers thumped. The turn signal tapped. I saw Natalie, in a sequined dress.
Art by Max Bender