On a cement block where my ancestors used to smuggle immigrants across the water, we stood in the sunshine and looked at pieces of ices floating down the river from right to left, swiftly, probably 7 miles an hour.
Across you could see Peche Island, which looked funny without any leaves on the trees. Just barren dendrite-things sticking out of the water in a patch, wishing to be seen in aerial vision for true appreciation of its form. On the ground I found an orange and Mani realized that it was a pipe and I bent down and saw toothpicks sticking out of it like a pentagram, tin foil wrapped around the edges.
We got back in the car and the sun was still shining, the sky looking extra blue. We made plans to see the Lego Movie and I pictured all of the buildings and water turning into Legos and everything turning into Legos and the animators who worked on the Lego Movie controlling the universe and feeling comfortable knowing who controlled the universe.
Downtown there were lots of people outside, enjoying the sun, on picnic tables, basking, moving by the river. The skyscrapers hung above us almost jokingly, separated by a checkpoint that asks for too much. The tunnels below were completely obscured but I knew that an endless trail of cars and SUVs and gasoline were slinking below my feet.
Mani showed me the neighborhood where she grew up, near the bridge, near “Sandwich” and “Chewitt,” a real intersection, we laughed. She said when she was elementary school one of the older kids on the block climbed up on the streetlamp in the middle of the night and hung himself on the curved pole reaching over the sidewalk.
There were lots of geese near Bablo Island, friendly geese that poked their heads around like dinosaurs and walked away when you got too close. I ran away to catch up with Mani, following her past a fence toward the water where ice continued drifting, past the bridge, in the West end, drifting, same velocity, fast. Mani threw big rocks in the water and we laughed at the sound it made.
I could remember walking across to an island, earlier, in the winter, when it was night. The trucks on the Ambassador Bridge looked like monsters stampeding in either direction, their lights glimmering off the frozen everything. But now it was just blue and sunshine and drifting ice. Industry in the West making smoke.