The cart with her belongings clanks against the walls and comes to an uncertain stop at the head of the stairs. Twice, a neighbor passing by helps her move something down to the U-Haul. Another time, it's a homeless guy who makes five bucks for the box he carries.
She joins me at the synagogue that evening. I sit on a cardboard box at her left arm. The seats and floors are filled with people.
One of the stories we hear: A concentration camp inmate, given an opportunity by the Red Cross to send a postcard to someone, realizes there may be no one left who cares whether he's alive or not.
The storage facility reminds me of a video game where you need to adjust your speed and timing to keep from getting shut out and having to start over. The entry doors will stay open for ten seconds, the elevator doors for seven or eight. If you hit someone with your cart, you lose points. Lower level, make a right, then another right. If you hit the walls with your cart, you lose points.
Street after street, there are empty storefronts, evidence of high rent blight. To run a small business in this environment has become untenable for many.
Hanging baskets of flowers at the farmer's market, nuts and chocolates too. Only the meat and seafood seem suspicious in their sweating coolers.
On both sides of a narrow apartment building, there are sunny, vibrant gardens with raised beds of flowers, a small fountain spilling its melody, and a gazebo where a woman and her grandchild sit among piles of picture books.