The memory of walking down this same gently lit street resides somewhere in the torn pages of my memory. The coffee shop at the corner is now a convenience store from the last time I crossed these roads. Buildings replaced the worn out houses, try to flirt with the clouds above, but they don’t quite make it there. We never quite made it…
I like the way the neon lights from the store signs bounce off the puddles on the street; streaks of greens and blues decorate the pavement, reflecting off car windows, painting the dead street past midnight for the misplaced souls drifting between 7th and 46th street.
The hours faded like the lights from the lofts on the 4th floor as twilight grew thicker in the air around me. I sat on the same curbside where melted vanilla ice cream once dripped down my hands, where I used to wait for the bus while singing the same Coldplay song in my head, “No one said it was easy, No one ever said it would be this hard, Oh, take me back to the start.”
I try to paste it back together. On what block did it fall apart? Behind what sign did it all dissolve to a colorless nothing? But there’s fragments missing. Pieces of you I was selfish enough to keep; bits of me that you decided to borrow and never give back.
I notice how the trees don’t sway in the air the same way they used to. The silence isn’t as welcoming anymore. Our street has evolved with the passing of time, with the illusion of the impending future, of a place filled with change, where the past is ignored, pushed to the dusty corners of poorly drawn maps that lead to nowhere.
I reach the end. Where the “dead end” sign tilts to the right, where the street lamps flicker with uncertainty of what comes after. I reach the point of 180 degree turns and stare down the length of the road. I watch recollections of past times emerge and dissipate with each passing minute. I’m flipping through memories when this street had a purpose more than to just walk on, when it wasn’t just between 6th and 8th, but rather between the side of town where my heart felt lonely and where it could feel yours beating. I stop at the dog-eared pages, the ones with tear stains from remembering too much of our meeting gaze through the traffic. I rip out the page where we fell in love with the architecture, the graffiti-painted alleys, and each other.
I let it go. I leave our memories and my nostalgia spilled on the sidewalk. I walk away. I wander back down the street I used to call home that I now can’t even recognize.