I sent out the invites without a plan and waited. all afternoon, just me and nervousnes and a lot of chairs sitting in the sunshine.
some former students came. there was a pleasant burble of conversations. people took chairs and put them in rows and waited. one grey streaked hair woman in a sari wrote in a rainbow irridescent marker as she sang the urdu. a small circle listened as another group sat apart and waited for someone they recognized to start the main event in the community centre. her voice raised and fel and swayed. she sang a changing incantation.
i realized i provided no food but there was a 50s diner across the parking lot. a lady in a confidential tone heard my thought and read my gaze and looked at me and from face to face and said, what percentage of the room is below the poverty line? 40% 70%
i got out flour and started gathering ingredients to make a huge pizza and set the dough to rise.
someone was missing. i said i'd give her a ride. i went to the parking lot. besides the open air lot was a metal building with orange garage doors. a man in a spiffy business suit with a military gait left it. a passerby said to another with a chin jut nod, that land was appropriated by embassy row. the diplomats get the parking for free. they already have all those homes and get more for free.
in a moment i was returning along the late afternoon highway with M. and as we approached the community centre the hillside was covered as well as he open parking lot in a mass of people. the movie had arrived. i had acquired a fragment of an 80s star trek movie that was filmed in Ottawa. the scene on screen was exttras walking into a conveniencestore with the camera in the shelf focused on the kitchissipi beer. there was a xdingle of the bells of the door on the screen. i went in and looked at my pizza dough. i'll need a loaves and fishes miracle i thought.
but no, i thought, they all can take care of themselves. they aren't all here for me but for the opportunity of the movie. it's grown past me and past my responsibility to feed them all.