The day I watched them quarrel, I had been ruminating. Because I had been ruminating, I had been mumbling to myself. Because I had been mumbling to myself, I was laying low. Because I was laying low, I overheard the couple quarrel.
“It is not my fault.”
“It is absolutely your fault. I said…”
She interrupted him, “I said, I didn’t have them, Steven! Jesus Christ, go get the spare. Come on! We have chicken out here that needs to be in the refrigerator!”
They were each carrying two to three bags each, placing them on the stoop and then pausing to yell at each other. I was at the corner. There was a bench and an opening to a very small park, more like a courtyard, and no one else was on the street.Just lifting my haunches, I leaned forward to peek.  I saw him throw his hands up.
“The key is under the gargoyle, Steven!” she sort of hissed it.
“I know where the spare is, Martha, tell everyone!”
He stomped back down the steps and turned to the left of the house, yanked on something and disappear into the wall.  I stood up but kept behind the brick, waiting til I heard the front door open for his scowling wife.
“Ok, Martha, let’s get the chicken inside.”
Cue, I turned the corner and refrained from making any spectacle. No mistake walk. No falling, sighing, humming, leering, jest. No interaction.  Steady gait, strong posture, watched them carry their bags two by two inside. Arrived at the bottom of their stoop to four more plastic bags and a strong urge to help swept over me; to introduce myself, shake hands, offer to carry things.. Look at the mahogany door instead. 456. I am on Mirch St.  I could see inside their house: living room in front, stairs in center and straight back to the kitchen like mine. I could see an island and that the back door was still open. I didn’t hear any dogs or children. No cats ran out. Their keys open the back door. When I heard them come down the stoop for the last four bags, I was already halfway up the block, self consumed again, arriving at no real solutions for the day.
My cheeks were dotted with condensation and my chest hurt. Felt like phlegm was building up. Swallowing, I felt a slight pain but it could be nerves. Don’t cough. Need to get vapor rub. No, no time for lists. The stores are closed. I swallowed the cough and felt my chest burn.
“It’s just the cold,” I whispered.
It was, I guessed 22 degrees and I stood shivering in front of 456 Mirch St at 2:46 am. Hands carefully halfway in each front pocket, I was fingering each knife. It had taken me less than fifteen minutes to get here and no obstacles presented themselves on the way. I avoided Dickinson Square, going towards the shopping center instead but cutting through side streets to get there. If anyone was awake, they were stealth too. If anyone saw me, they were too afraid to ask. Pausing below the mahogany door only to listen for shuffling, movement, secret light, a secret radio, I quickly crept to the white aluminum slatted door. It looked like a barn door. Seeing it as if it was my own, it felt like my own like I had just been transported back to my home. These are stories that help me. This is my home. I have the same door, the same walkway to the backyard, the same back entrance. I felt a weight both bearing down on me and leaving me as I quietly tugged it open with my ungloved, wan shaking hands.

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