The front room was the coldest. Rodney lived on the third floor of a walk-up, railroad style. The source of heat was a little coal stove three spaces away from the front room. But cold or not, it was home to a vertical Baldwin’s bell-tone treble. Plus, the windows faced 1948 Broadway and the thirty foot elevated BMT. On a big dusty cushion at the sill he’d watch sparks fly from the L’s third rail and illuminate the snow.
Summer next, Rodney walked down that Broadway for that L, to the Cypress Hills Swimming Pool. It was a Saturday and the diving show was on. Riotous clowns would follow graceful olympians. They’d fly from platforms – three, six and twelve metres up.
Rodney bought his first and only ticket in. He received a numbered key to a wooden locker. The pool received its water from the mouths of ten lions guarding its edges.