Leviathan Jewish Journal at UC Santa Cruz

My Walk Home

Written and photographed by Tamar Weir – Feb 7, 2020 in Santiago, Chile

Looking ahead
Remaining alert
“Always be aware of your surroundings,”
They say…
Construction on all sides
Tall and short men
Leaning on tree roots
Grabbing onto any shade provided
By the big branches of the city trees
Relaxation
A break
Swarms of pigeons
One identical to the others
Groups
Runnin around
My feet
Hard hats
Reflective yellow vests
A pop of color
Muy fuerte
Rips, dirt, and obvious wear at the knees
Do I look in your eyes?
And for how long?
What is too long?
I don’t know anymore.
As I walk down the sidewalks
And uneven concrete
I can’t help but feel this fine line
A threshold
A look too long, lingered
Gives the signal that I am open
A look too short, without a smile
No upward curves or creases
Gives the signal that I am closed
Reserved.
I can’t help but feel caught
In between the two
Bags all full
Covering the empty spots in the sidewalk
Some packed with crunchy leaves
Trash stashed away in more bags of trash
Pavement scraps
Cars parked on the thick cement sidewalks
Filling every last space
Clean the streets
Nunoa trash service
Trying to erase the evidence of last night
The litter of the people
Passing by.
“No tengo, lo siento.”
Red coffee mug
Empty.
Taking a second look
I’m in awe.
Behind the big metal doors and
Gates
An unknown world
Filled with beauty
A noticeable difference
From what is scattered on the streets
Vines creeping and swaying
With the subtleties of the summer breeze
My eyes widen
This new sight will not be forgotten
A reminder to open my eyes
A mantra i repeat over and over
Keep looking, stay alert

Cane in one hand,
Leash in other
Rhythmic steps
So many faces of the city
Santiago
Nunoa
Mi barrio
My neighborhood
For now
Panaderia
Cafeteria
And all the short momentary
Encounters
Until I get home
To my apartment
The little red building
On Avenida Jose Domingo Canas

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