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Lansdowne Avenue This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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His eyes didn't sparkle in the light of the patio in front of McDonald's. I didn't feel much of anything, unless the creeping cold of a long, Canadian winter counted. The grinding of her roller-skates against the cobblestone made a solemn encounter all but impossible. Basically, this night couldn't be so painfully earthly.

Earthly. Even then I could feel the ties of reality and the hopelessness of the dreams I lived by weighing down my roller-blades. Eyes didn't sparkle in this world. Of the two fronts, of my dreaming and my best friend's cynicism, his icy winds prospered. Why shouldn't they, when they fell in line with the definition of our world?

“I'm still just waiting for the apocalypse,” he said, throwing out the cardboard drink tray.

He never recycled.

“Yeah,” I answered, eager for something more than the tedium and monotony of my life, and thirsty for it no matter what the cost was. He and I dreamed of apocalypses, even if we knew I wouldn't survive one on my own. “I feel like you and I won't ever really live until the apocalypse.”

I wasn't sure if anyone heard me, but I didn't need them to. I said it for myself.

I had never felt so free. In the night and gliding along easily, I wasn't hindered by reality. Reality was irrelevant now.

In a flash we were on a long street, which was usually fairly busy. Now, it was devoid of life. It wasn't creepy, this ghost town, but beautiful. Maybe there had been an apocalypse and we were the only survivors. An army or zombies or super-intelligent dogs would leap out from the next corner, but we were untouchable. We'd merely roll away, not a care in the damn world.

“Come on, try this!” I called to where my friend was skating on the sidewalk, surprisingly far behind me.

“It's easier on the sidewalk,” she protested.

That was all I needed to hear. I looped in huge circles, refusing to let my momentum die down as she caught up. Finally, spotting a new patch of road, I gained more speed, bending low like the speed skaters in the Olympics. I was a bullet. I was a bird. I was free.

I hit the newer patch, throwing my arms up. I thrust my head back, eyes open to the cool Canadian sky. The stars had never been so close, so in reach. They've never whispered as they had that night, beckoning me to join them.

I scraped the sky with my fingertips, my breath fogging up my glasses as I exhaled. I turned another huge circle, arms spread wide. I belonged to the stars, not to streets named for trees or to the rough asphalt or to traffic laws telling me I was a fool for skating down the middle of the road, hands held out to touch the sides of my dreamer's bubble.

Ecstasy isn't a drug, but that beautiful, raw freedom we can all find if we stop looking. When we give in, surrender to the night, we can find a realm in which eyes sparkle and cobblestone paths don't lead to obesity but to gardens and friends and late-night wanderings.

I found magic on Lansdowne Avenue, and it was that easy.



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RMac said...
Feb. 16 at 4:52 pm:
my friend showed me this and its really good, i like the imagery
 
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Padfoot said...
Oct. 29, 2013 at 4:10 pm:
This article took my breath away. Powerful, descriptive, well-written, this is the whole package. Good job, Atropos! Keep writing! : - )
 
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