“All of this is true” was written neatly in black dry-erase marker on the glass of the sliding door. Beyond it, the balcony, the railing, the street, and the big corner gas station with the floodlights that never went off (much to my irritation). Assorted traffic passing at appropriate speeds, low buildings across the street, a big chunk of sky — an urban tableau streaming in through the glass. Every glance out that aperture made a frame for the time-lapse video of my memory of this place. And every frame was pre-captioned: “All of this is true.”
It was a reminder. I was in the habit, in those angry days too, of peering out over the railing to see some fat, greasy neighbor move down the block and thinking something like “I can’t believe people can live like that.” Or, in the middle of the night, moonlighting as an insomniac and blaming my plight on the blazing bulb across the street: “They shouldn’t be leaving that on! What is wrong with people??”
At night, the words projected their shapes onto the backside of the pale curtains. But vibrations — whether from the choppers at the Dominican biker club across to the street, or subtler forces — occasionally altered the light’s refraction through the glass, casting new shadow messages onto the cloth.
“Things could be different, but they’re not,” it said once, flickering. “Accept that and go from there.”