We found another house. "To tell you the truth," admitted Forrest, "when I first saw you, I wondered why you would be interested in living here." We moved out on a Saturday afternoon. The block was bustling, and many of the neighbors came out to watch us go. Claire and Anthony stood at the fence, their faces impassive. I had the sense that they had always known we couldn't take it. Claire told me once, while she was helping me with my Kreyol, that they paid $250 a month for the three of them to live in one room of that otherwise vacant house. There was nowhere else they could go and pay that price. We made enough money to pay double the rock-bottom mortgage on the pink house and live in a neighborhood where people satisfy their darkest needs behind closed doors with goods they buy on streets like this one. Maybe if we had stayed we could have turned things around, but then the cute little houses would attract other part-time bohemians like ourselves, and Anthony and Claire would have to find another unsavory street where they could afford to live.
As my partner carried a load of bedding to the truck, he saw a plump golden-curled white girl, no more than sixteen years old, burst out of Dwayne's yard into the street. She was so desperate for a fix that she lit her pipe right next to the shit pit. Seeing my partner stare at the girl in disbelief, one of the older prostitutes said wickedly: "You're too handsome not to smile." From a distance the scene held a certain charm.