Facing me across the open space there is an apartment where, in all the weeks since I came to live here, the shutters have never come up, the two rags hanging on the laundry line in the patio have never come down, and no one has ever come in or out. Then, all of a sudden one day last week, there was a shirtless man in the patio equipped with a full-blown shoeshine kit, encased in a wooden box polishing a pair of black leather shoes. Not many people wear black leather shoes in the heat of summer. Was he a waiter? Was he going to a wedding? Was he the groom? Whatever he was, he had not seen fit to pull up the blinds, and he only opened the back door a tiny bit. He left it open for a short while afterwards (when it occurred to me to take a photo)and then closed it and left.
Does he live there with the shutters always closed? Or had he come only to polish his shoes, like you might go to your grandmother’s just for the chicken soup with knaidelach or to your mother’s to do the laundry? A week later, he has never made a repeat appearance and the apartment continues as vacant as before.