I love when the sky is gray. when the dawn paints
the roofs of the buildings and the sun is still hiding.
The city is ours then. Right before everyone takes
over, right when everyone is still sleeping. It’s
hard to notice that it’s so cold when it’s
It’s like today. I made Jef come out here
with me. Sure, he complained. He didn’t want
to wake up, but I can always get him to come along.
Please! Please! that’s all I have to say. He
likes me. sees me as his little sister or something.
I don’t mind. It’s nice actually.
He’s kind of grumpy today, though. He doesn’t
see things like I do. didn’t sleep well last
night. He’s kind of pissed I woke him up but
if I keep smiling at him and at the sky, the trees,
the pigeons, then eventually he’ll come around.
Chan, why do you always drag me here? I hate fucking
My name’s really Gretchen, but they all started
calling me Chan. At least Jef did and everyone else
seemed to adopt it, like a pet name. I like that.
Chan. It means “little girl” in Japan.
He’s rubbing his hands together. His fingernails
are dirty. so is his hair. But his eyes are clean.
his voice is clean. Dirty on the outside. that’s
alright. It’s only if you let it sink in. He
sips the coffee we stole from the deli. sips it twice
before he looks over at me again.
Because. It’s beautiful here! I tell him.
Then I smile again and finally, FINALLY, he smiles
Beautiful, huh? I guess if you think garbage
and dog shit’s beautiful. I punch him in the arm
for making fun of me. I know he’s only kidding.
Still, he’s sort of a jerk. I’m glad
when he spills his coffee a little.
Jef tries to warm up to me. Says he’s sorry
and all that. Making puppy faces and everything.
But I don’t care.
I’m mad. I don’t care that the sky is
gray. It was so pretty and he ruined it. He shouldn’t
kid about things. About the morning sky when you’re
seeing the trees in the park. the birds. and all
the pain goes away and the traffic is dead on the
streets. It’s the only time I really feel that
I know who I am.
We sit there awhile. Quiet. I’m not speaking
to him. I’m sad now. sad for no reason and
that makes me angry. I’m angry and that makes
me sadder and I blame Jef for everything. I know
he thinks I’m being childish, and that makes
me angrier. Why did he have to ruin the whole day?
C’mon, let’s get something to eat. C’mon,
I’m sorry, okay? See? I’m looking up
at the sky. You’re right. It is pretty. Can
we go get something to eat now?
Yeah we can. Asshole! because it isn’t pretty
anymore. It’s crowded. The people have all
woken up. have come out with their clean clothes
and their new day smells. It’s only happy when
it’s loney. And you’re paying
Jef’s way ahead, walking really fast. I keep
back a little bit. Keep it slow. walking with my
head down to let him know I haven’t forgiven
him. not 100% anyway. to let him know I’m not
going to be running around all day just because he’s
all racy and everything. Not my problem.