Her dark eyes stare at me from across the room.
Her colors are rich and deep and knowing.
Her gaze is strong as though telling me something.
I cannot handle it any longer and so I find my legs bringing me out of my room and into the elevator. The glass doors are open, making my escape easy and obligatory.
The quiet road I find myself walking down leads to a mosque. A dog speckled in rust accompanies me, trotting in front as though it feels the need to protect me. I see her enlarged nipples and decide it’s a motherly instinct rather than an indication of danger. The mosque is magnificent up close. It is painted in a forest green and off white and the architecture has the arched doorways with the subtle point at the top. These arches alone make it unique and beautiful. Its solidarity makes it spirited. I see a group of people in the distance sitting. All I can see clearly are the taqiyahs resting on their heads. I have turned off my music in an attempt to hear what language is being spoken. They are too far away and have stopped conversing after noticing my observation. I keep walking to the safety of a wall. I peer through one of the ovals that have been cut out of the decorative cinder blocks but they remain quiet.
Then I hear it. Silence.
After a minute a dove begins cooing from my left side. I find another quiet road. Each step I take releases a crisp noise magnified in the silence. My feet threaten to take away this moment of pure exploration. Each step I take I risk becoming noticed by the people who are so caught up in life they have not taken the time to notice the Farang walking through their hidden neighborhood. My senses are heightened. I feel the perfect temperature brush against my skin, and smell the air that feels cleaner. I see the beauty that has survived the garbage strewn throughout this quaint neighborhood. Every house was different. Some were colorful, painted at least two different colors, others were dark stained wood and held above the ground on stilts that made them seem superior to those resting on the dirt and filth. On the edges of the road resilient, hearty, vibrant plants grew. They were mainly a deep green, or a dusky, strong purple. The sun is low making the shadows of the plants grow and become alive. The garbage surrounding them had the slightest effect on their growth, giving them an idiosyncrasy that other plants lack. Every dog that keeps its mouth silent as I pass I thank. Their heads turn to watch me.
The cat’s eyes were as blue as the ocean. It walked towards me, the young girl did not make notice. It sat at the edge of the large spirit house watching me as its owner stuffed plant debris into a bucket with her father, their tanned backs turned conveniently towards the gravel road.
The next driveway broke the silence. There were children chattering as I passed by. All of them looking at their mother, pleading her for something. As they break away to grab brooms, only the youngest, at the age of 3 or 4, discovers me peering from the front of their driveway. We make eye contact, but she says nothing.
Many driveways are filled with the noises and smells of cooking. Clattering pots and pans and the smells of food being fried and baked. It makes the air tainted with the temptation of blissful gluttony.
A house sits blackened by flames with nothing alive but the disco ball that still hangs from its skeleton by a red ribbon.
Finally I become visible again when a woman on her bicycle stops to chat about the recent drama at a nearby restaurant. Her true goal is to practice her English. I smile and nod until she feels she has practiced sufficiently and continues her bike ride.
The mosque returns. This time it is not quiet at all but has three children in the spacious parking lot running and screaming. It seems that my transparency still does not work on them as they yell good morning in my direction. I turn around and smile and yell back “Good Evening!” The man sitting in the midst of the children’s hullabaloo, watering the ground, smiles. I take it with me as I continue my walk out of the hidden, amiable neighborhood, home.
I smirk at Frida as I walk into my apartment. The smirk tells her everything she has to know.
I think I’ll walk there again tomorrow.