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The cobblestones were about as multi-colored as a bag of M&M's. All the brick buildings followed suit, but were darker overall, offering more of a contrast between the pale beige and burnt toast look and feel. All around there was the sount of leaves full of chlorophyll whistling in the wind. A stray moth whisked toward the first available street lamp, which spilled its scrambled egg luminosity into the area around like a stamp in need of more ink. Potted pansies accented spots everywhere amongst the dark store front windows. Saw a funny movie earlier, but tomorrow's Monday.
The coffee house was alive with creaking floors, heat, conversation and thoughtful glances. The first number was performed by a young man with a violin that needed tuning. After his instrument solo, he screamed into the microphone about his needs. It was too crowded in the converted establishment to see him without blocking someone else's view so we all chose a random focus. Jenny looked at the doorway, Erin pondered someone in front of her. I occasionally shifted focus between the young girl on the fireplace with big plastic sunglasses and the younger type crowds walking in and out. Loud.
Everyday I hear two automatic doors contracting on eachother, leading the way into a second long hallway to my work area or to a cluster of vending and ice machines. Beyond them is the warehouse where all the orders I enter into the system go to be fulfilled. Before the second hallway is a kiosk with brochures which I'm sure all the employees who moved here from Rochester, NY have been perusing with a certain interest. There are even a couple of brochures advertising locations that I've never heard of--it'd be nice to have new eyes again like them.
Out of the milky morning sky appeared the shapes of skyscrapers. Each bump and pothole still needed to be carefully navigated. Downtown there was another sound besides the sound of car horns and tires on the pavement. There was the invisible humming of a city in motion. The judge looked just as fortified as some of the more ornate buildings outside. "He's not omniscient," I repeated, watching with a room full of onlookers. A man suspected of fraud was being questioned. Nevertheless, when it was my turn, I shook--probably just short of discovery. Detroit has always been all business.
Life is like a rollercoaster--my parents, aunts and uncles sit in the cars ahead of me, but we can all hear the chains clink and watch the ground fall away from us. Depending on which way the wind is blowing, I often feel compelled to climb out of my own car and either join my family in their cars, or climb down the track, ready to berate whoever signed me up for this ride. I need to have faith that somewhere along my track segment, I'll learn to raise my arms again, smile and enjoy the neverending ride to...
My brother was in the flourescent-lit garage most the night cleaning out his car. He moved the brown leather chair from the right side of the garage to the left and placed a box of his cleaning agents on top of it. I'd occasionally come out for a smoke and we'd discuss cars, with the exception of the time I walked out was participating in a 15-min survey about the quality of our nation's water supply and he was running the vacuum. I offered him Cocoa Wheats and we watched CNN. Outside we joked some before he left.
I watched two entirely different movies today-Stepfather and The Moon. The first movie was about what you'd expect...the male version of the black widow. The mom in the family was desperate for another relationship after a divorce. Her cute son knew early on that there was something wrong with his Stepfather, but he couldn't confide in anyone his suspicions. The Moon addressed a man's loneliness during a 3 year contract on the moon, which, come to find out was compounded by the emotions of his own clones and the existence of one dirty old computer to talk to.
I wanna say I was sitting where a storage facility had been back in 2001 when I cleaned the office next door. I could see the brick building from my position at the window inside Arby's. Everything looked more or less the same with the exception of the wall that grew a brick higher every ten feet. I wasn't entirely sure whether there was more than one firedoor because I always used the same one to take out the trash. A vase in a window reminded me of the stillness of my working environment and all the vacuum packaged emotions.
Gotta take it easy on the pencil marks, but I'm not sure how else to best convey a pine tree without drawing squiggly lines. Perhaps I'll limit the cluster of distant pine trees to those behind the pond. It's funny how much power palm trees, or the lack thereof, have in portraying a northern or southern landscape. By adding just a few palm trees, my fortified and happily insulated buildings would suddenly be lost in a swirl of stucco, vibrant colors and block party real estate. Hopefully this painting will turn out well as it is supposed to be imagined.
The side of the apartment was full of never before seen lush, and I was able to make it there without being spotted. In the distance I could hear the Jeffries freeway, but I couldn't see it because it was underground and the sun's rays stung. Behind me was her main throroughfare, evident by the sidewalk and all the neighbor's porch railing. Besides the muted sound of cars, I could hear crinkling underfoot and the exterior air conditioner mixing. The wreath of rosemary I once hung was drying on a fence post. Felicia wailed when I appeared outside the blinds.
The restaurant was devoid of customers with the exception of an older man who took a seat in the dining room as I waited for a sandwich. The place was overstaffed with chatty employees walking to and from the drive-in window in headsets and black uniforms. My glazed donut didn't compare to the blueberry donuts, which were apparently removed from circulation by an overzealous manager. I sat down facing the counter. The smell of coffee was in the air. I hoped it would be enough food to hold me over until six--if not there's always the vending machines.
Bill was in a cage of his own flourescent light, groping his desk in an increasingly dark office space. I bid him a good night and walked up the long, empty hallway. The mailroom on my right had been abandoned ever since Sherry was laid off rather suddenly one afternoon. Before passing through the collapsing doors and walking up the carpeted hallway, I went to my right and stood in front of the vending machine. Apple struedel Pop Tarts. I could take them or leave them. Instead I wondered when I would run into Chris next. I want a man.
The island and a portion of the mainland is dominated by one family. Parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins and their corresponding in-laws are everywhere. Even if a family member didn't run into another family member, chances are 99% they would run into someone familiar. It was late summer since I last visited--shortly before the last four 'Ber' months began their cooling onslaught. The rivers ran brown and the trees intermittently concealed the glare at a solitary cabin on the bank. Inside it smelled like the lumber aisle at Home Depot, where every cashier had a mural.
I smoked a cigarette and walked barefoot around the house. It was nearly dark, and all the trees were silhouettes. A lifetime seemed to have passed since I mowed the lawn here, yet I still knew every nook and cranny. There was the crease full of dead grass outside my dad's bedroom window and the largely neglected piece of landscaping in the NW corner. I approached the waffle colored deck and took a seat, hypothesizing that the majority of the crickets were somewhere in the acid-drenched pines. The clouds were thick--a few formed the jaws of an alligator.
It was warm and pleasant this evening, with only a few thunderheads in the sky. The restaurants locked up their tables and chairs as traffic downtown thinned to levels one would associate with a typical Sunday evening. Rachel and I set down our leftovers from Little Bangkok and politely discussed the importance of maintaining ones sense of identity in a relationship. She was wearing her signature shades, which also concealed the area around her eyes well. "There's something in your eye," she said. I brushed the side of my face rigourously, swinging my legs back and forth, enjoying the evening.
Walking sluggishly to my closet this morning was an experience wrought with the most innate kind of fear. "Life is hard," it said. The old movie tickets on my dresser, the bills piling up in my drawer, the container of change which I picked all the quarters and dimes from, the dirty clothes lying on the floor, the burnt taste of coffee left on the burner too long, my morning cigarette in the dusty garage--the emotion was in the details and therefore it was in the big picture as well. "Take care of yourself, find yourself in the details."
One of the hostess/waitresses at the Coney Island wore a white top with silver sparkles around her shoulders. Her dirty blond hair was pulled back in a short pony tail that fell over her left shoulder and her eyes conveyed a personality sweeter than vanilla tea mint conditioner from the CVS on 6 mile. I've been visiting the drugstore at that location more frequently lately to either just get my mom out of her apartment or pick up her prescriptions. The two gruffy cooks in the window behind the delicate waitresses provided an intriguing contrast between the two sexes.
I drove up to my old stomping grounds in Farmington Hills to see a new orthopedic doctor. I parked and called information for the number of the clinic because I was unable to find it. Was I supposed to know it's in Botsford? The doctor asked me if I had the records from my previous doctor. I left down the spindly stairwell frustrated...why am I still seeing new doctors? I don't live in Tampa anymore. Arthritis? Tonight I'm pulling a Salander on Cigna's website so I can understand this in and out of network jazz once and for all.
One lane was blocked off, stripped down to black resin, and traffic was at a standstill in the remaining lane. I would have used the turn lane to approach the light if it weren't for the overconfident drivers leaving McDonalds and forcing themselves into a space. It was hot and the underbelly of my sedan rattled with each short-lived acceleration. I was going to be late returning to work from my half-hour lunch. When finally I was able to turn, the looming clocktower of my employer came into focus. It's long corporate eyes were indifferent to my world.
The map was an antique with a noticeably thick, powder white hue. Perhaps it was the same type of substance that caused my co-worker's hands to break out in hives when we reviewed Ford documents back in 2004. The names of each neighboring city were handwritten, but the map itself only consisted of lines depicting all of the streets and avenues. It looked like an engineering document and I can only imagine the great lengths that were taken to capture them before satellite imagery was available--flying in loud commuter planes, taking exploding B&W captures with camera inventions.
Inititally, details like the time I wiped out into the icy median stood out the most, followed by the corner licquor store that formed a break in the contingous strip mall for the association of co-ops behind. Tonight, there was a heavy chill in the air as I located Greg's apartment amidst the yellow sulfur glow from the small elementary school and a myriad of sprightly sidewalk lanterns. It was the second time I had trouble finding his place because of his vicinity to Christopher's old apartment. I had been carpet cleaning long hallways back then, hoping the evening would end with laughter.
The parking lot beyond Gardner White's decorative scaffolding looked lively as ever--almost as if it were welcoming me to drop everything and begin hauling flat beds and shopping carts back to Home Depot. I didn't really know whether I was outside looking in at my former existence, or eternally 'inside' due to my lifestyle and the choices I've made three years ago. Inside the furniture store, my mom wheeled her bicycle-style walker behind the hungry gait of a polished salesman. She was at the mercy of a quick gimmick and I wished it was none of my business.
The appliance was mercifully switched off and the coffee pot was in the sink with a froth of soap bubbles on top. I brought out the mustard, mayonnaise, salami and provolone and began scarfing down a sandwich, catching sight of an animal under the bird feeder. I figured it was a rabbit until I noticed its small rounded ears. The groundhog ceased its grazing when I tapped on the window, looking up defiantly at the source of the noise. I let it be and rushed back out the door, still chewing on my sandwich, thinking of winter and Punxsutawney Phil.
Candles were flickering in the window of a novelty shop as Mark and I left downtown. I had introduced him to Plymouth the best I could, in exchange for when he introduced me to Tampa five years ago. Continuing onward, we took a detour by what I described as the largest educational park in Michigan before we ran into construction by my subdivision. Cattails swayed in the night breeze as we waited patiently for the construction worker to wave his reflective wand. Soon Mark will return to Florida and my memory of better days full of sun and self-discovery.
I walked into the large carpeted cafeteria which smelled like silicone and warm, ionized air. Inside my caramel colored shopping bag was a tupperware container of chicken rice, an orange, a wad of tin foil containing five oatmeal raisin cookies, and a diet Mountain Dew. A woman who I assumed was the VP of Human Resources passed outside of my peripheral vision and sat almost directly behind me as I hastily shoveled down rice. I peeled my orange and ate with mild apprehension Chequita appeared from Taco Bell. She looked flashy as usual, and her presence invited conversation almost naturally.
Green awnings on the first floor reminded me of James Bond, Clue or billiard rooms. The sun was setting down the country road and a couple miles past the apartments was an endless span of cars with their headlights switched on. The name of the road is Sawyer Lane but it's rarely used since Blue Finch Trail is closer and runs parallel to it. Churches are situated on both ends of the road--one toward the middle class subdivisions and the other closer to metropolitan living downtown. It was so close, yet had the potential to be so far away.
I had the house to myself tonight so I watched Kill Bill Vol. 1 after a long day of furniture shopping for my mom's new assisted living facility. The movie brought me back to Westland and all the fancy renovations of Barry and Mariusz's place. The furniture, the deck and all their amnemities always played a role in their allure--they loved to host. But it was more than that--Barry had more hobbies than anyone could count and Mariusz was, well, Mariusz. They were friends who knew me for a number of years and there was comfort in that.
A squirrel skipped across the street and a hawk flew overhead. Most of the neighbor's garage doors were closed and it was peaceful. I knew I would have the house to myself for at least one more day. If my childhood friend were to ask me that same question that marked the end of our friendship 14 years ago, "What do you do all day?" I would have told him it consisted of doing laundry, nursing my perpetually sprained right shoulder, watching a couple movies without much conviction, playing chess and running out for necessities. Otherwise, it'd be fair game.
The protagonist had come through on horseback, equipped with bows and arrows. He was using the long prickly bush as something to put between himself and the raging elephant, but unfortunately the beast charged through it without hesitation. Every now and then I'll see something that reminds me of the setting of a novel I read years ago. An example would be a picture of South Africa from the Art Fair last month. It was hot, and I was leafing through some large prints. Often, I shifted my stance to make room for passerby's interested in the photography as well.
There was an article on my dresser this evening, positioned in such a way as to attract my attention. Basically, it discussed how a researcher is close to finding a medication that is supposed to prevent seizures rather than merely suppress them. I remember the breast cancer walk downtown recently, and I struggled to draw a parallel between the pink marauders and the amount of money invested towards a cure. But then it struck me that the same hope I received from a concerned parent in the privacy of my own room was what each walker had been investing in.
The street which lead downtown was like one of the bones in his shoulder, and each pink marauder of the "Race for the Cure" festivities was like a red blood cell, rushing in tune toward a design nobody knows anything about. The area where he resided since high school was quickly blossoming into a stage where the trials of independent living would once again play before him. Is this what it feels to hope--privately? Keeping the skewer of physiological and psychological pain at bay? Whatever happened to the jazz? Guess you don't know what you got til it's gone.
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