It was Monday, October 21, 2019. The yellow taxi cab screeched to a holt, and Destinee snatched her two bags for the day, one on each shoulder. She grabbed the taxi handles and pulled it towards her as fast and graceful as she possibly could, looking out the windows to check if the streets were cleared of any persons walking pass. She jumped down onto the grey and concrete, and into the fresh city grey air. The sun was hidden within the clouds and the sea of rushing individuals swayed unevenly as each person created a pathway to their destination. Suits, ties, blues, greys, whites, and browns left and right – like ants, getting their meal for the day. Destinee dodges all the oncoming traffic of humans, gracefully upright making her way to the office for the 9:30 am start. She arrives at the front of the 11 Wall Street building and pause to look up at the tan building almost scrapping along the sky. On the building was a brilliant set of colors – the red, white and blue cloth that saluted her as she walked in. It reassured her that there is a better, stronger future that lies ahead of her tedious hamster wheel job.
Katie took a deep breath as she stood in front her childhood home. She hadn’t been there for nearly a decade. After her parents passed away she sold the house. It was finally back on the market again and she had a change of heart. She was ready to start a family of her own and what better way to start it than beginning where she herself did. The house on the outside was just the same when she was a child. It was wooden and painted a pale blue which was chipping away. A little work and it would be good as new. Katie had reservations though. The neighborhood wasn’t the same as before. Just looking around gave her goosebumps. She hated how quiet the area was. Once filled with children laughing and playing outside she now had an eerie feeling. The neighborhood felt almost abandoned. The grass grew high not only in her home but the neighbors too. Katie wasn’t one for gardening, in fact she shivered at the thought of her even holding plow sheers. She belonged behind a desk.
She searched her bag for the key she collected from the old owners a day ago and proceeded to enter the house. The brown doors let out a creaking noise when she pushed it open. The pale, wooden floors copied the same sound when she stepped forward. She stood at the door to take a good look at the place. She was standing in the living room. It was dark and the air was dusty. She could tell not much living went on from the last owners. The house smelt like moth balls and bubblegum cotton candy. She walked over to the huge windows that faced the front yard and drew back the heavy beige curtains. The new light coming in made the room look even dustier. Katie looked around again now that she could see better. Although the previous owners had taken most of their furniture they left the things they didn’t want. For the first time Katie noticed the various paintings of sad clowns on the walls all around her. She quickly made her way out of the living and into the kitchen praying that the theme wasn’t a reoccurring one in any other part in the house.
The kitchen was probably the most best kept place in the house. It looked nothing like when she lived here as the previous owners had renovated it a couple years ago. The wooden counter tops were now white marble and the cupboards that were once green were white too. While it looked beautiful there was a part of her that wanted to revert the room back to its original way. As she stood there she started to remember the many times she sat on the counter top begging her mom to let her go to the mall or to some party that all her friends parents let them go to. But her mom never gave in ever.
After looking around the house Katie knew renovations were going to take some time but she really wanted to bring life to her old home. She was excited to begin but made a mental note to hire gardeners to fix the outside. She would not be stepping foot in the backyard until she could see her toes when she stepped onto the grass.
Just a regular day on the four train; or so I thought. The campus is between Bedford Park and Kingsbridge Road train stations. My Monday classes however, are closer to Kingsbridge than Bedford. So as you can imagine, I’d get off there. Today, Id never wish I’d been further from somewhere in my life. As we pulled into the station, I heard a loud thump. “Did somebody drop a large item on the track?”, “Did somebody jump in front of the train?”, “Did someone fall in front of the train?”; All these questions raced through my mind as we awaited an announcement over the loud speaker. As everyone rushed off the train, I heard a woman yelling “one creep at a time mamacita”. Who/What is she talking about? Looking over my shoulder, I saw a little girl creeping out slowly from under the train, and two men helping her come out safely. I found out that a man had jumped in front of train 4187 with his daughter. I’ve never hated Kingsbridge more than today.
Making his way down 5th Avenue, towards Central Park, Dante felt meh. How could he have been so stupid as to fall for this again? When will he ever learn?
He passes The Plaza, an enormous building that reeks of splendor and glamour. He watches the bellboys help a group of laughing, fur-clad women with their monogrammed suitcases. Men in suits stand scattered around the steps of the hotel, smoking cigarettes. Dante suddenly stops and just stares at all the activity. How different would life be if he was able to live that carefree and oblivious to struggle? A sudden yelp from a very small and hairless dog awakens him from his dazed moment, and he abruptly continues to walk.
Crossing the street and narrowly avoiding getting hit by a dingy, yellow cab, Dante walks briskly pass the many horses and hot dog carts lining the entrance to Central Park. Hot dogs. Those were Josh’s favorite BBQ food. What an asshole. Absolved to forget his troubles for a bit, Dante enters the park and sits on the first bench he can find. The wind has picked up, making the late afternoon colder than expected. Golden leaves begin to fall all around him, as pigeons coo in the hopes that some stragglers might divest themselves of food. Letting out a huge sigh, Dante takes a look around and notices all the different kinds of folks. You have your runners, with their bluetooth headphones on, running to the sound of the beat in their ears. The stroller clad mothers, probably heading to meet up with friends. The older gentleman, drink his coffee while walking his dogs, who weirdly look just like him.
Dante closes his eyes, takes a deep breath and says to himself, “You’re gonna be just fine.”
And for the first time in a while, he believed it.
Prof. Walia Eng 302
When Matthew got to property the first thing he noticed was the driveway—rough gravel with great patches of bare dirt and tiny branches—stretched for what seemed like eternity in an obtusely curving bend to the right. The main house was nowhere to be seen. Fifty feet in on the left was a huge elm tree with a sign that read THE NEELYS. There were a few holes in the sign. Matthew was too much of a city boy to confirm with certainty they were bullet holes.
He stopped and rolled down the window to better hear anyone that might want to get his attention. Though the county said he had every right to be here on the property that wouldn’t help matters if people took his presence as somehow threatening, especially if he didn’t hear a warning or a greeting.
He eased his foot off the brake and settled into a snailish crawl that kept the spraying gravel to a minimum. According to his paperwork, the stables were on the western half of the property, which meant there had to be a fork going left somewhere along the path. He debated heading to the main house first, but that could just give the Neelys advance time to hide any sick animals and clean up the place. Back in his grandfather’s time, once an inspector was on the property what was done was done, but cellphones changed everything.
As he eased around the long bend a large pond materialized on his right. A long-legged white bird stared at him imperiously. Was that an egret? A heron? He needed Albert with him. The kid had an encyclopedia of fauna in his brain.
Just as he had put the pond in his rear view a shot rang out. He hit the brakes, skidding a little on the gravel. He instinctively put his hand up in a mime of surrender, but after a few long, shaky moments, he realized that wherever the shot came from, it wasn’t directed at him, and might not even be that close.
He was just about to start up again when he heard a male voice.
“Hello! How can I help you, Mister? You lost?”
In his rear view, Matthew saw a figure appear. Well, that isn’t exactly correct. The man loomed. He was huge, and as he got closer Matthew saw he was as dirty as he was big. His overalls were caked in mud, threadbare, and at least two sizes too short. His beard might as well have been a terrarium for all the leaves, and twigs and insects it housed. He had on dark glasses and as he came up alongside Matthew’s truck he bent down to Matthew’s eye level and removed them. His pupils were pink, and it was then that Matthew noticed how starkly white the man was.
“You lost, Mister. This is private property. You bust the chain?”
“No, I’m sorry. What?
“You bust the chain across the path in the front? Where the sign is?”
“Uh, no. There wasn’t a chain. I’m sorry, who are you?”
“You the one trespassing, mister. Why I have to offer first?”
“I apologize. My name is Matthew Barker. I’m with the County Animal Control. I need to inspect the stables.”
She parked her car in the last parking spot that was available to her. From the driver’s seat she could see the rusted leaves that had become part of the floor with each movement of the wind more leaves fell from the trees leaving the trees more naked and bear and the floor lost its concrete color and become a bed of rusted reds, burned yellows, browns and one or two green leaves. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, the ones you take when you are trying to make yourself courageous and make yourself believe that you are invincible. She opened the door and stepped off her old, but well maintained ford mustang. She heard the sound of the wind hawolling past her ears and kissing her face like a gentle but old boyfriend. She loved the fall it was her favorite season. She could hear not only the wind but the leaves crushing under her gentle steps, it hurt her to crush such beautiful scenery, yet she kept on walking in to the cafe. She saw the big wooden door with its beautiful carving of leaves and flowers. She put her hand in the massive door and pulled it open, the beautiful smell and hot roasted coffee filled her senses. She loved coffee, coffee meant so many things to her, just one cap would take her back to her early years, coffee meant a hug from her grandmother, a smile from her uncle, a kiss on the cheek from her mother. Coffee was her place of comfort and peace. The warmth of the place gave her comfort. With each step she took in the noise, the rush of this saturday morning in particular. She finally saw her sitting down waiting for her. Her friend the longest of friendships the kind of friendship that knows anything and everything. She was sitting in the rusting table away from everyone hidden away a great place to sit down and catch up.
Aria began walking up the stairs, carrying the pain of the last 48 hours heavily with every step. It felt like every step weighed more than the last as she got closer and closer to the house that no longer felt like home.
“Do you remember the plans we had for this wrap around porch, Michelle?” Aria said slow and dry to Michelle as she continued to make her way up the stairs. She once was so excited to mount these stairs daily but now she walked nearly lifeless with no motivation beneath her feet. No more excitement for wrap around porches covered in bright, comfy colorful furniture that we planned to lounge around on on sunday mornings. Rose was supposed to be running around in the yard that we worked so hard to keep up with, and Michelle would be watering her Pansy’s and Celosia’s as they bloomed in the crisp fall air. I would slowly sip my coffee and breathed in the life that I had waited so long for. This was no longer the reality that this dreary porch captured. Instead we would sit here weekend after weekend, with cold hard blank stares in our faces and hurt in the deepest parts of our hearts. This porch wouldn’t host guests for future birthday parties, nor would Rose and her friends sit on this porch and devour snacks and pop over homework dates.
Aria paused as she approached the last step that lead to the front door. We had painted the door a rustic maroon ish color and of course Michelle couldnt let the season go unnoticed as she made sure to place the seasonal rug that matched the bright garnished wreath that graced our front door just in time for fall. The front door that sealed and harbored a vast amount of emptiness now that all the plans had changed. Nothing was the same here, nothing could ever be the same. We couldn’t possibly be happy here now that life had stepped in and dealt us a hand that was foreign to our eyes, making us unable to move.
It was breath taking as I entered my new home for the very first time. The cool colors of the walls that instantly brought a calm feeling within.me. I can just imagine :as I enter my home from work what relaxing satisfaction it will bring. The ambiance of the living room allows me to visualize the much entertainment that will take place and yet the joy of being alone watching a movie while eating popcorn. As I entered the kitchen I saw my husband and I preparing meals together enjoying each other’s company. This kitchen has an airy feel to it which brings back memories of being in my beach house. Such life, vigor,and freshness from the flowers outside which I must add bring color to the atmosphere inside. The bathrooms were welcoming. I’m very particular about details, such as, lighting, faucets etc so when I saw the beauty that was created my eyes lit up. Everything was placed in its rightful position. The last place I wanted to leave for last was the master bedroom. This is the area in a home that forces one to unleash all the emotions. Experiences different emotion
I don’t know where I am but I feel like I have been here before. Nothing looks familiar but my instincts don’t fail me. Why did you bring me here? I see all the young kids playing in the streets and loud music playing something I cant seem to comprehend. It was a different world; the people were really poor but yet so full of happiness like a big family all in one. We turned on the corner and stopped in front of a small, bright blue house with the greenest grass I have ever seen in my life. I sat and stared thinking, “Where are we? Who lived here? I wanted to know so much more of this place but I was afraid of wanting to know more. Am I dreaming or is this fake I can’t tell but it feels so real. I saw faces that I think I knew but I was not sure. I got out the car and walked closer to this bright blue house that was the brightest in this street…
I was soon reaching my destination as the gps signaled that I would arrive in four minutes. I continued to follow the directions of the gps, only to find that the destination was a DEAD END. I was so confused and felt betrayed by the direction that the gps was leading me in. I didn’t know where to go, but all I know is that I had to find my destination one way or another. I proceeded doing a u-turn in order to see what I missed. But every other address was not as the address I put on the gps. No one was able to help me when I asked them about the address I was looking for. At this point I’m feeling like I wasted my time but frustrated at this foolery. I called my husband to see if he can give me the exact address of the destination. He confirmed to me that I had the right address. Since he was there, I asked him, “Well may you please come and get me because all I see is a dead end.” He replied telling me he counts because he was busy attending his customers. “So now what?”, I thought to myself. “How are you going to facilitate me, when I am trying to do you a favor?”, I told my husband. “Well sweety please try to make it, because I can’t talk and work nor leave my client in the middle of the job,” my husband replied. I was out of it, no one wanted to help me or knew how to help me or made a pretext. I thought to myself, what if this was an emergency, or a severe emergency? How was my husband going to aid to my needs if something was severely happening to me. Nothing was severely happening to me at the moment, but clearly I am lost and not knowing what to do, and my husband took my phone call very light as I am troubled and perplexed.
Suddenly a strong gust sort pushed over the sign of the dead end. And I slowly walked closer to it. Not knowing what to expect and I took a valiant step, and pushed the sign just a little. I won’t lie, I was frightened and got the chills. I wish my husband was here with me.