Tossing and Tortured 'Till Dawn

I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

This is Life:

It's a good book, but it doesn't take long for the words on the pages to blur, twist, and convert into an illegible scrawl. If this is what my handwriting looks like to any who have to read it, I'm sorry, because I can make no sense of the lines and paragraphs any more.

I shake my head and snap the book closed, though the trade paper makes no authoritative whump as a hardcover might. Boots, overcoat, hat, scarf, out the door and down the stairs, into the night. Eight o'clock might be midnight for the January dark, my footsteps unconsciously synchronizing themselves with the beat of the music. The iPod defeats what would otherwise be an entirely anachronistic little trek, but it makes me feel like I am listening to the soundtrack to my own feature film. Nada Surf. The Black Heart Procession. Rodrigo y Gabriela.

This is a bad movie. Nothing dramatic is about to happen. I'm not going to meet a girl, or wandering off into the night -- never to be seen again. This is just me. Just life. The miles under my feet, the clean air that follows a storm, headlamps and streetlamps and darkness and woods and trails and streets.

Fifth Avenue is a street that runs down the face of the ridge into the valley, and it's got a creek and wetlands at the bottom. A gravel pit on the hillside above old houses. It is a street of fences, dogs and pickup trucks. It's an old frontage road that parallels both highways, ancient Ninety-Nine and the "new" Interstate, which of course predates Yours Truly by who knows how many years. Still, these things make it a place that's largely missed by Modern Development, with the notable exception of my own apartment complex, which believe me isn't my preference but it'll do for now.

The road up the hill turns steep, entirely unlit, and my legs have a conversation with me about the going on six hours of cycling I put into them before. As if that weren't enough. Well, folks, that's why we're walking now, isn't it? They scoff, but as long as the pace is reasonable, agree to proceed. Around the corner, through the neighborhood, into the faint orange neon sign that reads out the name of the town on the brick building that is fire station, police station, utility maintenance facility.

A last bit of uphill brings us to what you'd call Downtown, a failing little row of shops including an overpriced independent gas station, a market far too large for its empty shelves, and a diner that does a fair bit of business even still. If Dave's were open past nine PM, I'd likely "find" myself here far more often than I do, sitting in the cheap vinyl booths with a bad cup of coffee intermittently refilled as I scratch away into a notebook and try to disentangle the words to the book I'm reading.

---- T B C & C ---

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