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in the projects

    I saw a woman in the projects, by the apartments you were looking at. I was driving toward the lake, stuck at the intersection in traffic, and she walked across the street, in front of my car. She was wearing a blackjacket, falling off of one shoulder. She was wearing a black and white striped shirt. She was carrying a clear plastic cup in her left hand, like the kind you get in a bar. It was filled a quarter of the way with beer. And she walked across the street, holding her beer at the end of her straight left arm, and the sleeve of her jacket almost covered her hand. And her eyes darted back and forth, as if she knew she wasn’t supposed to have open alcohol in public but she’d do it anyway, not caring for the law, but still being cautious. And I thought: I’ve done that before. We both have things we’re running from. What makes her, in the projects, living off the government, any different from me, in the ugly new houses, living off someone else’s ideals.

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Blister and Burn, Janet Kuypers 2007 book