He sat at the kitchen table drinking whiskey from a highball glass. Looked out at the cars parked in the street. Snow was piling up and the wind was drifting it. Some of the vehicles were buried. Some stuck out. You could see white stuff all over the tops of em and windows were clear. Strange how wind works.

The old man started talking to himself. Speaking out loud so that his neighbors above could hear him. They banged on the ceiling and told him to be quiet. Shut up yourselves, he yelled back. You can’t tell me what to do, he mumbled. Folks been telling me what to do all my life, he said. Don’t need you to, he shook his fist.

John Coltrane was on his record player. The old man hummed along to Central Park West. He smiled. We used to dance to this song, he told himself. Slow dancing. Hand in hand. Her cheek on my shoulder. I could smell the perfume in her hair. Chanel Number Five, I believe. It mixed well with the cigarette smoke, he lit up a Marlboro. Continued watching the snow. The plows would be coming soon. Scraping the pavement with their steel blades. He contnued humming along to Coltrane.

I never meant to hurt her, he said. Wasn’t my intention. Just happened. They say if you’re not getting what you want at home you go elsewhere. That’s what they say, he blew out smoke. A hazey fog covered the room. It was my fault. All my fault, he moaned; more banging from upstairs. You just go straight to hell, he yelled. I’m allowed to remember. Allowed to think back on my past, he said.

There were people out in the streets cleaning off their cars. Brushing them off with brooms. He poured another drink. I don’t know where she’s at now, he said. Probably with some man who can take care of her. That’s what she deserves.

It got real quiet. The record was through playing. The old man just watched as people cleaned off their cars in silence. It quit snowing.


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