The Stockbroker – 5

When he pulled up to the shelter he helped them out of the backseat. He had driven past the protesters with their rows of placards. She had told him that they were not wanted downtown. The homeless. Had told him that the downtown was rich now but that he probably knew it. Lastly she’d told him that she does not mind the country. He watched her now standing on the curb, the oldman beside her. They could have been a father and daughter perhaps. Let from a besieged land of a foreign time. In mourning of the sacrificed she carried. In shock. She smoothed the baby’s hair, still it didn’t move. He reached from his front pocket all the money that he had and held it out to her. She looked over at the oldman and he took it and stashed it away somewhere beneath his ragged clothing.

Vaya con paz, she said. Then she told him that he will improve with time. That time will save him. She held the motionless child with one arm now and with her free hand touched the youngman’s face, stilling the movements which possessed him. This you will die with, she said.

I know it.

After he got home he changed from his suit into shorts and a tshirt and trailshoes and then he sat down on the sofa what was against a wall of windows and looked out. Putting two fingers to where he imagined his carotid artery to be he held them there at his neck for a moment as if so to witness some tactile event. To confirm the doctor’s report. Afterward he lowered his hand. He was still looking out the windows. The city higher and near pressing up against itself, against him in his own glassbox. He looked toward the old neighborhood. Vestiges of a gone era the last remaining bungalows set just off to the east as if they were yet a palimpsest for the new city. He could still make out through the newly rising slabs and construction cranes the roofs of the old homes and the cars already slowly going and stopping to buy White or Charlie, what have you. He looked away from the windows. On a bookshelf near to where he sat was a collection of framed family photographs, only one of which held the image of Mr. Morris, which is the one that he rose and reached for now and returned to sitting with. He was maybe three-years-old and was standing beneath his father’s hand lay on his shoulder. The little boy grinning. A wide-toothed grin. Mrs. Morris was caught looking down at him. He sat there for a while studying the photo and finally set it in his lap and lowered his face into his hands and began to quietly weep. Sun had been filtering through onto him. Unto the outside array of condominiums windows a mourning or perhaps a penitent figure revealed in the white glow of the late-afternoon sun. A downtown panopticon of fresh voyeuristic latitude. He kept on with his head lowered until he felt right. Soon he rose again and with the back of one hand wiped his eyes and put the photo back and looked over the others, his sister and brother as he remembered them. Turning he took one more look out the glass toward the east. He went then to the bed and from a stash he had in his nightstand drawer took one bump and pocketed the rest and headed out.