Absorbing old and beautiful and young and wretched faces pass me by the hum of my wheels spinning on the pavement. Bright white sun drowns my eyes and cools my sweat, slowing for danger would be lighting on fire this warmest of spring days. A few errands to find a goal in my wandering- the hardware store for a reflector on my backpack, the thrift store across my street for a sweatshirt likely needed in an hour. Packing up I turn downtown in hopes of finding food and drink I have yet to discover.
I park my bicycle and walk to streets I usually don’t. Near the cobblestone road that parallels the railroad west, an old building rises and a neon light beats the sunset’s glow. “the Depot”. I glance inside at the dim-lit bricks, order a beer and eat dinner alone.
There is an emptiness on the dinner floor interrupted by women speaking French or making wild accusations, young and old but mostly a dull purr. By the time the sun is gone my food is here and a train rolls out the window distracted by an exit sign and the string of lights around the glass. Romantic lighting really, but I romance only food for 25 minutes before turning inward, recognizing the loneliness of this empty bar. The restaurant on the right so mellow I fret not but make do, I fill my time accordingly.
Intuiting the relationships of the man and women working around me, their lives seem like an interesting extension of my own for such a short time. These are people, not bartenders and waitresses I say to myself after asking for another beer. Look, he’s doing homework back there and she’s talking about her problems. Why can’t we all be getting along without money and booze involved?
On the way home the dark dares me to desert my pride and flow with the traffic. I’m leaving this place at the moment I’ve learned it.