Hollow Sidewalks

After a shower and a change of clothing, I make my way back from whence I came. A woman in the Southwest Corridor Park wearing a vibrant floral blouse and a straw hat is walking a black poodle. She smiles at me.

“It’s a beautiful night,” she remarks. “Not so humid.”

“Gorgeous,” I say, returning her smile. I am exactly where I am supposed to be, I think, heading to where I will find answers and resolutions.

At the Back Bay T-station a man stands at the foot of the stairs playing a guitar. He finishes the last bars of ‘Life Goes On’ and then it is briefly, eerily quiet before be begins a plaintive folk song. It is hot on the platform, and the T stations will hold this heat until October.

I get off at State Street and retrace my steps. The way to Bond is shorter than I remember, but a few lonely stretches of sidewalk still separate us, and the ghostly litter seems sad and poignant.

A stray feather and what looks like the remnants of an office lunch. Someone’s cut-up credit card and a crumpled sticky-note. The day-to-day debris of people going about their lives – the people I wanted to be – the normal ones, the simple ones, the ones who do what they’re supposed to do. There is a nobility to those lives that I’ll never achieve, a certain grace and dignity to be able to do it all without falling apart. Even at their sneaker-clad power-walking messiest, they have it more together than my impeccably-attired ass ever will.

I skirt the park again. Beneath a vine-covered arbor, a newly-married couple poses for their wedding photos. Another sign, another totem. The reception is taking place in the hotel, changing the previously-quiet atmosphere into a buzz-filled zone of static. Luckily, the celebration is not at Bond.

The stairs rise before me.
The hostess says hello.
The evening is about to begin.
I ascend…

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