kitsjay: (4 a.m.)
[personal profile] kitsjay
Augh. Stretching my writer's muscles, which have apparently atrophied to nearly nothing.

Three snapshots of three places I've lived - each are less than 150 words.

Some old man in a flannel shirt and canvas pants always walks along the main street, passing the feed store, the hardware shop, and the squatting dingy building with the faded “Super S” on the side. He stops at the gas station to buy a can of snuff and a Coke, and then sits with the high school kids outside on the benches while they nudge each other in the ribs and talk about going to town. Any of the turnoffs from the drag turn into dusty roads belching up clouds under the wheels, kicking up gravel and struggling plants. Everything is always dry – no rain, no trees, just scrub-brush and cactus. None of the roads travel far enough to get away from the feeling that everything and everyone around is quietly dying.

Order cookies to be delivered to a dorm room at 3:00 in the morning, girls in pajamas standing outside to let the man in and eat their brownie while cramming for an exam. Or walk down the cracked sidewalk, every other streetlight flickering to get to the open-all-night Thai restaurant with the blue roof and friendly graffiti written on the side. No matter what time it is, there are people walking back from the bars or just out to grab a pack of Orbitz gum from the independently owned store on the corner of Speedway, right beside the arcade where people eat pizza and never play games. On campus, people are constantly moving, slouched under backpacks or playing Frisbee in the shade of the tower. There is never a moment of loneliness, but never a moment of peace, either.

The three constants are: loud music blaring from a car radio, pollution warnings on the road signs, and the scent of Cajun food from a hole-in-the-wall joint with cheap prices and sweet iced tea. There are no markers for the “good side” or the “bad side”. The glossy office buildings turn into apartments with gates and locks on the windows turn into suburbs turn into fast food restaurants and traffic jams. In the city, hidden away in parks and tarmac side-streets, there are forests standing guard against urban progress. It sprawls, settles in; it wanders, darting between; it rambles, walking slowly, but always toward something.


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January 2014


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