Into the Pavement

June 14, 2008
By Alexandra Piunti, San Jose, CA

Everything disappears into the pavement. Things just keep getting lost. Pass someone on the street, and your eyes won’t meet. If they do it’s either an almost paranoid second’s glance, or a grimace that was half-meant to be a smile, and the look in their eyes — in your eyes — is that of someone who walked into a church to confess their heaviest sins and didn’t realize there was a funeral in progress. Sorry, embarrassed, slightly irked, confused, burdened, and maybe a shade of lonely.
Tonight the sunset is soft, the kind you might find photographed, framed, and put in a posh rehab facility: bright but not intimidating, as to keep the recovering addicts’ psyches calm, and beautiful, because they won’t be seeing the sunset themselves for a while. The yellow and pinkish orange has already gone, and it’s left a periwinkle. I don’t exactly mind periwinkle but I’d rather have the other colors back.
I look away from the window for a few seconds and then get distracted and when I remember to look out again the sun’s down. I watch as a neighbor I don’t know descends the wrought iron stairs leading to the courtyard that turns into the promenade, which opens to the street. It’s already night but it never fully gets dark here. The street lights and porch lights and all the other lights combine to form an orange glow on the ground and a dusty, pale reflection of that in the sky.
I’m tired of the downstairs and I feel a bit out of place there so I go back up to my room. I’ve been here three months and I still haven’t unpacked so there are cardboard boxes on the floor with clothes thrown everywhere. The only things on the walls are seven blank sheets of neon poster board. This room deserves something more, and not in terms of decoration. It should be seeing more than it does. More should be happening within these walls. Nothing ever does, though. Nothing happens in here. It’s a safe place where nothing can harm me but nothing can please me either. Bad things happen outside my window, in other apartments, in other places, but not in this room. Not in my room. I don’t know whether I chose for it to be that way or it just is, but I spend most of my time in here. I’ve been sleeping too much lately. I don’t want to sleep anymore but I don’t want to be awake either. Sometimes I’ll just sit there, maybe find something to eat or watch a movie.

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