I love walking in that hour just before dinner when it’s already dark but doesn’t yet feel like night and people are coming home, on foot and by car, stepping off busses, picking up kids, dragging home groceries. It’s like there’s a universal aaaahhhh in the air. I love the way windows are lit and I can see the wee slivers of life of those who don’t draw their curtains—which I assume they leave undrawn because they, too, want to see wee slivers of life outside, which occasionally includes me, walking by, looking at them, feeling a little like a peeping tomette (although I think that only applies if you actually stop walking).
Last night the sky was mostly clear with a few scudding clouds and the moon, an almost perfect half, and in the first of a row of old brick townhouses painted bright blue, I see a young man and a slightly older woman at a table in the front window, leaning back in their chairs, talking and drinking red wine from stemmed glasses.
In a low-rise apartment, an elderly woman checks her mail in the lobby, keeping the door open with her foot, then goes back inside empty-handed; I sense the length and weight of her days in the slouch of her shoulders, the shuffle of slippers.
Another woman, also elderly, sits with a tray on her lap, and a few doors along, in a house the size houses used to be, with a tiny carport and a milkbox, a couple are eating at a table with a white cloth; the woman catches my eye as I pass while her husband stares straight ahead at something else, a wall, a TV, a daydream, and just chews.
In a front yard that’s all plants and no lawn, a bench has been placed right next to the public sidewalk as if to offer a moment’s rest to those who have been a long time travelling. I think about stopping, but carry on instead.
A man sweeps his front porch and on the corner a fridge is being delivered. Or stolen.
A woman in jeans walks a stroller and a golden lab and a child skips to the front door of her house with a pink backpack ahead of a woman in stockings who moves much more slowly, locks the car door with a remote and a beep beep.
Across the road, a gate is over-grown with dried clematis and in the tiny wooden house attached, a couple sit back to back at computers as their faces shine blue in the light.