the fake elegance of periphrasis

Here’s an idea: Write the story of this move we’re making to a completely different neighborhood, different part of the city that’s technically not even part of the city where city people go to be out of the city but still close to it because that’s a natural progression and a better way to raise children, though I haven’t packed any children and don’t intend to create any.

In this story we’d be wondering if the move from the city to a part of the city that isn’t technically part of the city is the right thing to do, if the house is ok, safe, structurally sound, functional, unhaunted, etc. We’d meet neighbors and I’d scan their expressions and read between their words for clues and hints of warnings or reticence. Empty for nine years, the house was, then bought and remodeled, bought presumably from the family of the one-hundred-and-eleven-year-old woman called Lula Mae who lived and perhaps likely died there, though that’s not a thought upon which I’d like to linger, and I say so to the neighbors in lighthearted neighborly terms of orthodox joviality and we all have an uneasy chuckle.

The wife and mother of the two little blonde girls whose names I instantaneously forget and her husband their father talking to me over a low chain-link fence, his expression kindly, clingingly earnest and lacking the sort of withdrawn haste to which I’m accustomed. The uneffusive, reticent elevenish boy from the third floor of the old brick midwestern three-story walkup around the corner to whom we’re introduced by the wife and mother as he’s walking home from school, saying I haven’t seen you in a while while he with modestly downcast eyes gives a dutiful half-smile and wishes only to continue on his way and I wonder what he knows and how he thinks that knowledge applies to us. The heavy woman from the first floor of the same old brick midwestern walkup with two little identical white dogs which run and yap along the fence until she carries them back inside from their little dead-grass little yard in early March like they’re furry footballs, lumbering corpulently up the four wooden steps to her back door. I wave to her and imagine she fears for us.

Everyone knows one another. Everyone says it’s quiet. “You’ll like it,” they say, not knowing the first thing about us, and I’ll call it “The Fake Elegance of Periphrasis.”

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