The blinds were off white, much like the children who played on the stoop. With a sturdy shade, they were only slightly dark around the edges.
“This is going to be the best day ever,” the blinds said when they were still new and hopeful. They opened themselves up to the world, exposing their innocence in a translucent bundle of joy. They looked out over the courtyard at all the kids running around and smiled, opening their mouths wide. Children of all different races played on the picnic table. A quiet boy who didn’t speak much English would sit out on the stoop and stare up at the blinds, looking through the window in hopes of glimpsing the pretty woman who lived upstairs.
The window shared his outlook. The kids would play outside until the evening turned dark, drawing pictures of the sun and flowers with yellow and pink pieces of chalk along the sidewalk. They played hide and go seek in the abandoned lot and hid in the thorny bushes until when they finally emerged, there were little scratches tattooed all over their arms and legs. They didn’t care, it was fun. When the days stretched on, they would walk up to the laundromat and ask customers for quarters so that they could eat one of the burritos that came out of the Mexican dining cart.
When the seven o clock shadows came, so did the broad rusted cars with thumping bass that blared from rolled down windows. Their mothers would appear out on the stoop wearing cool colorful rags over their hair and yell things like “If you don’t get in the damn house Right This Second, I’m gonna come out there myself!” Then within a moments flash, their giggles could be seen trailing the street corners and into the rows of brightly painted apartment buildings. In a matter of hours the music from heavy, metal, cars would take over.
The blinds watched the children every day from inside the upstairs apartment. When a summer breeze slid through the window the blinds would hit against the sill, knocking gently against glass. “Be careful,” they would say, their voices lost in the wind.
It was years later when the kids had grown up and you could see them no longer playing, but standing on the corner, that the blinds started to tinge. The crisp clean clarity of their sturdy straight lines started to bend and lie crooked as they rested. The children were no longer chubby and baby faced, but gangly teenagers with low cut shirts or baggy jeans. The girls swayed their hips and waddled past each others stoop, trying to make any head turn that would. The boys stood on the corner late into the night, their parents were gone – nowhere in sight.
“You looking?” The quiet boy who didn’t speak much English had perfected this phrase to passing strangers in large hoodies. After a few hours, it was the only voice that could still be heard.
“Please,” the blinds closed their eyes against the window. “Be careful.”