Once a week, Owen wakes up and gets really close to my face, grinning wildly. I say, “Good morning!” and he says, “Tofu. Tofu! TOFU!” And I know it’s a tofu day. We get our faces on (this involves coffee for me and a diaper change for him) and head down the nearest alley. We walk under the clotheslines, strung from crumbling walls, heavy with the thick winter wear of people who live in unheated spaces.
Maybe it is washing day, in which case the shared washing machine is out in the alleyway, lid-less and spinning the neighborhood’s underwear together. Groups of people work together to sort recycling (boxes stacked flat, ten feet high, and placed on the back of a motorbike, then carted slowly and precariously off for the refund). Men step out of doorways to spit their morning toothpaste into the storm drains. Kids play with halves of toys: a car with two wheels, a yo-yo with one side. They stare and yell “Hello!” and we wave back. Continue reading