I did not plan to be here; a place without a job, a place, a location. Here I am writing on a red table top; no, this won’t be my first great novel. The barista has served up a tepid cup of coffee. I hear her conversation with a customer; clipped, mumbled noises; crisp no’s; chunk of the door; clink of glasses and silverware; sounds of home, yet dis… or uncomfortable, not speaking in sounds familiar or comfortable.
People who are hungry sharing a cupcake…Are they homeless? Shapeless hoodie but–wait! There is a dog on a leash, and the woman wearing shorts tethers the dog.
Is it a girl? boy? standing at the counter flirting?
I look outside. What do we call it these days? Dusk, twilight? tinged with the edges of fall days; cars reflected in the windows across the street. Couple, clearly boomer age, walking side by side each looking the other way, no face to see or eyes to meet; bored by the sameness of cities repeated, reflected; a city manageable in size has outdone me; unconnected; disconnected; pre-connected; not even connected under ground or by the last thread.
Girl and boy energetic almost jog by but still described as walking: a jaunty walk, a bouncing walk, a rolling walk, a leisurely stroll. There is access to a book store still open and a Tea store–closed now–neon signed, regrettable, unplugged, rough edges and bruising corners; concrete, cement. Betty La Zoom drives past. Sister Sin is not on her bike tonight; the dusk bears down putting a grey mask on activity–a waiter, a man walking a dog or a dog walking a man wearing a dark suit and a white silk scarf–
Unrepentant, bold–the city strives against the falling darkness as if it is on the edge of disaster; the buildings are close; the street too small for technologies of the day. Two men holding hands walk by strolling. Grey, low-light; red lights on a car reversing itself–rejection, reverse, backing-up, backward, not forward. A thread-bare coat; a man in short sleeves; a skateboard horizontal–held in someone’s hands–without the skateboard the young man would look as if he were praying. Hands shoved into deep pockets against the cold. A yarn-pink baby; the sound of steam in a cup; grey deepens; shadows darken.
A small woman is cold or in awe or in disgust, hungry to be loved, shoulders folding toward center; arms defending against the world. I see a canoe strapped to a large black car across the street. Open door of the bar across the street–night-fall darkens its doorway in tense black; people disappear through the doorway; one minute you see them; the next you don’t.
A woman smiles at me as I look up from the unwanted piece of bagel glued to its right- side-down–trapped with cream cheese. Freedom is dancing–learning a new step and describing it to the floor. The new blue car echoes a Winslow grey, the color of the Hudson on a cold day; a tree grows in Asheville; its leaves are trying to be colorful but the leaves are afraid to shout.
A car goes by; attitude asphalt grey and littered. Darkness deepens with the lowering light night sounds. Voices friendly greeting known cyphers; unknown, unfamiliar make me feel unquiet and there are no vampires here or threatening. A girl plastering a phone to her ear; pacing and dark, she. A light shines on the faces of three people across the street.
An ending; I am expected elsewhere; it will be friendly there and lit and warm.