In Broad Daylight on the Street

In Milwaukee, a 13-year-old girl sits on her bed out of breath. It’s not the stairs that took it out of her, but seven hallways, thirteen hundred eyes and a long bus ride home. It sounds funny to compare middle school to war but in 2014, 425 kids couldn’t survive it. In Los Angeles, a woman paints the exhaustion off of her face with powder and lipstick. She drowns out the sinking feeling in her stomach with the vacuum, the microwave and a kitchen timer ticking. When the guests arrive, they’ll be too busy complimenting her decor to notice the decay underneath. In Chicago, a man spends another night on the sidewalk, asking God to keep the wind warm. When a knot of teenagers throw a beer bottle he waits until they pass to check if it’s empty. The label says 2017 and he’s surprised to learn another year has slipped through his grasping fingers. In New York, a man commands a conference room with a red tie and icy teeth. His presentation casts electronic sunlight on one hundred hungry faces who eat his bravado for lunch. So magnetic is his performance that nobody notices when, halfway through, he stops and sees his mother in every open mouth. Downtown somewhere, a light flickering on for the morning in the 32nd floor window attracts more attention and wonder than a person standing in front of you in broad daylight on the street.

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