With my eyes closed.
Someone accelerates in the distance, and down below, children giggle. They seem a funny combination, one suggesting danger, risk, and adulthood, and the other a playful innocence, in no rush and with no adulteration.
Now and again, there's the faintest pitter-patter of water against my window and its sill.
My phone alarm goes off. Reminding me yet again to buy toothpaste. I haven't got any left; I've been living off of the remains of a travel-sized tube for days.
The wind is coming straight at the glass, and I can even hear it whistling through the cracks where my windows don't quite seal out the outside.
The twitter of my computer. If I unplug it from the wall, the twitter will go away
There is a sound emanating from the kitchen, like if water were just a little more solid, and you dragged it across metal. Almost the sound of the steam heat in the wintertime, but it quickly drops away.
More cars rushing, more, more wind and rain sounds. A growl, but whether by human or beast I couldn't say.
In this silence of afternoon, with my eyes closed, it's easy to think I'm somewhere. To think I'm anywhere.
The radiator threatens to heat for a moment, barely whistling, and hesitates, a bit unsure. The valve is nearly closed, so not much is getting through.
A wind chime somewhere.
The intense pop of the steam against the steam valve, or perhaps the heating of the metal against different joints. Like a miniature machine room coming to life in the morning hours.
The absence of the church bell tolling just moments ago. How that bell now could have filled the space. I think of the church we went to visit by Piazzale Michelangelo in Florence, where we went to see the monks chant. I went out onto the front steps and looked out over the view. I recorded it. I took out my tape recorder, audiotape, and recorded the view, the silence, the chanting vaguely behind me. The sound of peace and tranquility. I recorded it, like May Kasahara recording the face of Toru Okada doing his impression of Noboru Wataya in "The Wind Up Bird Chronicle." I wonder what that sounds like now, that view...
The refrigerator clicks on and hums, and my cellphone beeps to signal a text-message arriving. I find myself angry and bitter at their stealing me away from my fantasy of warmer, prettier times past. I know that if I open my eyes I will not be on that veranda with Italy splayed out before me, but rather tucked into the gray Brooklyn I inhabit on this cold, dreary, rainy afternoon. It would be a disappointment. But it is an inevitability.