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Cinderella and the pumpkin

Cinderella is not going to the ball.  But she's daydreaming about one. Fall, 2002, Manhattan.  My shared apartment on East 20th Street was in a corner building, sheltered from taxi packed 1st Avenue by a basketball court and a playground.  It was close enough to work, that on the rare occasions exhaustion could pass for illness, I would walk home and observe the schoolchildren at play, untamed beneath my bedroom window.  I was far from the wilds of nature, but the shrill sounds of laughing children felt organic enough, and I looked forward to them.