There is an old man who sleeps on the street outside my apartment building, and he calls out to the air in the dead of night.
He sleeps in a tent that he puts up and takes down and moves in circles along the back way. I live high up but I can always hear him, the sound bounces off the old brick walls down there and echo into my new ones up here. He sometimes apologizes, and sometimes tells stories out loud.
He curses the world and his place in it, and he throws empty bottles of Gin at garage doors and listens to them explode. I never go back there, but I see him, his coat is bright red and he has a long beard and he is saying sorry to his daughter for being gone.
I only heard because I couldn’t sleep, I was sitting on the balcony listening to the snow fall and writing nonsense that I hope makes sense one day. I watch my breath come in and out in clouds of cold smoke and fade into the lights of the city. I rip a page from my notebook and let it fly off into the wind.
I take another, and I break it up into small pieces, and on each one I write I forgive you, in slow and deliberate hand, making it neat and tidy. I write it and put it in my empty tea cup, over and over.
I take all the little pieces of paper in my cold hands, now full of something like redemption and I throw them over the ledge and watch them cascade down into the back alley and watch them slowly fall, landing in the snow by the tent that houses the man in the red coat.
Maybe tomorrow night, both of us will get some sleep.