writing conditions

I wrote in the summer of the MH17 plane crash. The summer where the world seemed lost, both numb and sickened to the numbers: 298 dead in Ukraine, bodies and only parts of bodies pulled from the wreckage by separatists, bags burning on the sidewalk; 26 members of a family, including young kids and several pregnant women, dead from an Israeli military strike intending to kill one Hamas member. 

I wrote in the humid summer mornings with a fan turning from side to side, just long enough for my neck to get sticky and then cool. I wrote as my father withered, losing both fat and muscle mass after surgery, and as the stress of college applications and senior year loomed over me like a bad thing waiting to happen. I wrote without freedom. I wrote under duress. I wrote while surrounded by books by Kaplan and Barrons - preparation for the SAT. I wrote with a candle lit to keep away mosquitoes and quell the stench of dog shit that seemed to linger on the walls. 

I wrote while walking. I wrote while listening to Sylvan Esso and Wayne Coyne and also silence, but for the fan's whirring and the screech of the cicadas outside that with closed eyes I might mistake for the tropics.

Sometimes I wrote at night, when the fruit seller would come by, shouting his wares through a megaphone, in a last attempt to empty his open truck of bruising peaches and browning cherries. Often I would overhear angry voices and I would lean in towards the single-panel window, peek through the shutters to listen in wait for the quarrel to intensify and then break just before erupting into fists.

I wrote not dutifully nor faithfully and when my brother awoke at lunchtime or dinnertime or somewhere in between, I would look up guiltily from the show or movie playing on my laptop screen, suddenly disturbed by the hours wasted and the day's approaching end and say bitterly, "Good morning."