Henry Gwiazda: Claudia and Paul

claudia and paul 2:13 a.m. text version
by Henry Gwiazda

It’s late, and I’m looking out of my window onto the street below. Not because I’m bored, or some sound or movement has aroused me, but because I do.

I’m looking at a crossroads in an older part of the city from a height of about 5 stories. The buildings are only two or three stories and there are numerous streetlights. There is a man standing almost in the middle of the crossroads facing in my direction looking down the road to his left. There is a woman standing in the road as well, just a few feet from the corner of the lower right side of the crossroads. She is looking in the opposite direction than the man is looking. On the sidewalk, up the street that runs up and down, is a dog, a Great Dane, which is looking further up the street.

It is very quiet. The streets light are not on.

Then, three events occur simultaneously, a streetlight to the left of the standing man flickers on and off for several seconds, the dog looks to his right into a space enclosed by a chain link fence, and the woman looks in the direction of the dog while assuming a different stance for one second with her legs separated. She then returns to her original posture.
A gold VW is coming down the road perpendicular to the crossroads. It slows and stops. As it comes to a halt, a light from the right is shining on the left side of the front of the VW and the man at the crossroads moves. He takes his hands off his hips, looks in the direction of the woman. A light comes on in the lower right just to the left of where the woman is standing and the man is looking. It creates a subtle, multicolored effect on the macadam of a purple and a greenish color. The man moves his right hand to his head and leans a little to his right.

There’s a slight twinge in my lower back.

(sound of rain on an awning) Across from the woman, up the road, a streetlight comes on. It goes off. (sound of rain stops)

The streetlight on the left of the standing man flickers 6 times again then goes off.

I look back to the work on my desk for no reason, momentarily turning my gaze from the window.

When I look back, the man is still at the crossroads for some reason, the woman has moved across the street to where the car was and is looking in the direction of the flickering streetlight. The dog has moved towards the crossroads and is walking diagonally across the street to the opposite side from the one that the woman is standing on.

On the right, where the woman is standing, a blue light goes on and off in a rhythmic fashion lighting up momentarily a small yard with metal barrels. The woman turns slowly looking up the road first with her feet together, then apart. (sound of someone running)

The dog leans forward as if to smell something on the street.

On the building behind the streetlight that flickered (to my left), a reflection of a red stoplight appears on the wall of a building. The light then turns green and I brush the hair from my forehead. It turns yellow.

A light from below my room comes on projecting the shadow of some kind of oblong object connected to a pole onto the street below almost across from the same streetlight.

The dog lifts it’s head, looks up the street, then down to the crossroads as the woman looks to her left then crouches very slightly.

For some reason I’m thinking of a small pool and the stop light changes to yellow then red. When it turns green, the oblong shadow goes off and the man stretches his arms behind his head separating his legs slightly. The traffic light turns yellow.

I hear a sound out in the corridor and I turn away from the window.

When I return, the man has his hands on his waist and is still at the crossroads. The woman has crossed the street to the corner where the flickering light was and is looking in that direction. The dog is lying down on the sidewalk just a few yards up the street from the woman.

A small black car passes below me from left to right and the man leans slightly away from the car.

I brush the hair from my forehead.

Another car, this time blue with a white roof passes below me even faster. The man leans this time towards the car, resting his right hand on his head.

(sound of raindrops on a can) Simultaneously, the dog changes position and a light comes on up the street.

I blink my eyes quickly and the woman looks up, then to her left. Two streetlights next to her come on. Then two more down the street.

I go to the bathroom to wash my hands.

The man remains in his original position. The woman is walking away from the crossroads, in the middle of the road, diagonally towards the opposite side of the street. The dog is gone.

Suddenly, nine streetlights come on. A tenth, to my right, flickers two times. A car pulls up below me to the crossroads and the woman glances behind her. I can only see the front of the car. It’s a pale blue color.

(sound of thunder)
The man puts his feet together and looks at the blue car then leans and turns to look back down the road as a lighted sign goes on above where the dog was lying.
The blue car slowly pulls around the man while a light of radial window is projected onto the building across from the lighted sign. As the car accelerates past the woman, the lighted sign goes off and the woman takes two steps in the direction she is walking.

I open my eyes wider.

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