Spotlight

Brighton By-The-Sea

We live in an old neighborhood in Brighton. The two-families are all squashed together and parking is tight. You can see what they’re watching on TV next door. Retirees, families, students, and whatever I am, we all live here together. Together we sweep sidewalks and lend snow shovels. We dare to nod hello in a city where you avert your eyes from passersby in the name of privacy and of not letting them think you think they’re hot.

 

The sources of the salsa and screaming, end of the street and behind the yellow porch, respectively

 

It’s the second floor so I’m not worried about leaving the windows open on lovely summer nights. And it’s close to nightlife and the T. These humble luxuries come at a cost, though: whiny babies, the grumbling trash truck, salsa music from the Spanish house, omg even boozy sex noises from the Brighton Irish native neighbor.

Still, I love it here.

Trees and a yard, but city, not suburbs. I get nervous with quiet and exclusivity. Newton makes me anxious. And further than that? I tremble.

An outdoorsy friend once yelled at me in the breathtaking beauty of northern Washington state. That was because I ruined the day by fearing out loud the grizzlies and escaped convicts I imagined behind every low scrubby pine.

“Lisa, can you stop?! If it’s a grizzly be still, a brown bear make noise, and jails are near cities where you live. Oh, that’s a hornet, not a bumblebee. Be careful.”

I almost missed the hornet warning because I was busy picturing my probable failure of quick discernment between the two species of bear. And realizing in horror that I might act small instead of big or dead instead of small.

 

Here is some Brighton wildnerness, more than wild enough for me!

 

Anyways, this morning I woke up to the view of the neighbor’s deck, the fence across the way and quick snippets between the shrubs of cars going by one streets over. Last night was the hottest night of the year so far. You know those thick muggy nights in the city, right? The city-sized bedroom lets me sleep exactly next to the window, though. And I hate the AC. It makes me happy, my version of camping, safe, and grizzly-free!

 

Even in the city I’m obsessed with the sky, east, west, rise, set, full, half, waning

 

When the moon is rising I can see it between the trees and up into the sky until it’s hidden by the peak of the next-door roof. A moon-view till midnight or so, depending on the time of the year. When morning comes, the red glows just above the girl-next-door’s attic bedroom window. I know she’s post-coitally alone because I heard the door slam and the Jeep drive away during my 3:00 a.m. run to the head.

 

The Full Beaver Moon still rises in the bowels of Boston.

 

From the back yard window, I see the dutiful Chinese husband hauling buckets of water up onto his deck from the hose down by the basement window. His wife runs a gorgeous garden out there all summer long. With peonies.

He probably knows I can see him from bed in his flip flops and undershirt. Just as I know they can see me when I’m in front of the stove shoveling dinner into my face without a plate. We don’t care!

Maybe they feel safe in the city like I do. I think if we didn’t recognize that girl’s screaming as kind of sexy, at least two or three of us would have dialed 911.

 

The view from our bed. I’ll bet it’s better than their view from their deck lol.

 

I also wonder if they notice this morning that smell I have loved my whole Boston life. It happens after unbearably humid nights just before the sun gets heated up again.

The smell of the ocean!

From here in the innards it’s easy to forget that Boston is a beach town. True, down by the waterfront the poor ocean looks skinny and brown, lapping weakly at the splintery piers. But the salty air smell is the same as on the Cape!

Somehow it manages to surge up the streets from the water, rolling over buildings and cars, and crash through the open window into my sleeping nose, who snorts and sputters awake.

I open my eyes and see past the backyard, down Comm Ave, Back Bay, downtown and Southie. I see out past the islands to the open rolling surf, the morning sun bright on the waves. Joy hits my heart and I know in a flash what I’m writing in my gratitude journal today.

 

 

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