Sunday, March 24, 2024

the last book I ever read (Lives of the Monster Dogs by Kirsten Bakis, excerpt seven)

from Lives of the Monster Dogs by Kirsten Bakis:

I arrived in Ludwig’s neighborhood early and walked around the streets of the West Village for a long time. It seemed as if Ludwig were gone already. I remembered then—and I remember now, as I’m writing this, though I haven’t thought about it in a long time—how in the months after I first met him, I sometimes used to wander around after classes and find myself in the maze of narrow streets around his building, Bedford and Barrow and Commerce, where the little old house leaned into each other, cracking and covered with vines. I would try to imagine what it felt like for Ludwig to live there. I thought about how that part of the city, like no other, had corned and ancient shrubs for ghosts to hide in, places where the residue of the past hadn’t been swept away by thousands of moving bodies and buildings going up and down. The past had always seemed to be Ludwig’s element, and every forgotten thing in those corners vibrated somehow in harmony with his spirit.

On that morning in February I walked out near the river, where it was empty, and I could hear the wind moving in deserted garages and past the long, doorless walls of warehouses. Over the water a helicopter chopped its way through the ice-brown sky, pulsing light, sending indecipherable signals out into the empty air. It occurred to me that I loved Ludwig, and I had never said it to him. I wondered whether it would have been something worth saying or whether he knew.

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