Melancholy Mystery of a Street
Wayne H.W Wolfson
Overseas, by the time my life was ordered enough that I could afford the comfort of a good hotel, that was not what I wanted.
I do not want to be a tourist. I want to become immersed in the local color, swim in the daily life of the neighborhood. If it were a short trip, four days or less, then I would capitulate to staying in a hotel; wistfully walking through the marketplace knowing that I had no kitchen to fill. Anything longer and I sublet an apartment.
The few cities that I always returned to, the same ones year after year. I had my near on permanent spots which were only slightly tinged with sadness as I did not own them.
When work was not going well and the ink would not easily flow, I became moody. Behind the familiarity of the nod given by the butcher and wine merchant was a feeling of disapproval that bordered on contempt.
I awoke when the workers did, took my meals at the same time but only because I chose to. I did not actually have to and there in lay the rub.
It was a complex version of playing dress up, the knowledge of which they all politely kept to themselves until I had safely passed by.
Late afternoon, the end of the day. There is a reason though that it will be another hour or so before people will be seen coming home from work, stopping for drinks. The sun.
I can have this sun.
It flares up for these hours. Its light becomes the flatness that verges on sinister as it can only be as it is, deflecting any poetics of imagination with which one may try to adorn it.
People know to avoid it, staying inside. Only the flowers in their boxes suffer under this alien sun.
To show their magnanimity I, or any tourist who happens to be out, can have this sun. There are never any takers though.
When I do occasionally find myself out at this hour I have learned to stay in the shadows of the arcades as typified by The Odeon. I know better than to stop for drinks as the disapproving looks of the waiters, their reluctance to come over to my table despite it being under the awning, would only serve to salt my drink.
Hearing a noise I stop and pretend to tie my show, embarrassed to be out alone. It is faulty logic since this action too is in solitude.
The sound is almost like a maraca being played, poorly. It is getting closer or the echo of the building is lying again.
I wait around to see what it is. I am in no rush, I can have this sun.
A girl goes by without noticing me. Her age would perfectly match up depending upon whom you asked, one for every time I had said “no” by way of “Well, maybe we will see..”.
Her skirt is the faded blue of a still sky as translated to me by the light. With a little baton she is pushing a hoop. She seems if not content, then resigned.
Were she to be given one wish to be made off of the top of her head, then it would be for this sun to remain and stave off her loneliness.
Wayne H. W. Wolfson is a Northern CA / Paris based author & multi-medium artist whose writing has appeared in many journals. His visual work has appeared in galleries, group shows and is in private collections world wide.His first collection of essays has just been reissued. Learn more about him & his fiction, essays & art at www.waynewolfson.com