Garden Street

You are, as always, walking. In this moment the map of campus and the surrounding city suddenly orients itself in your brain from a paper canvas, covered in the spidery black veins of streets and letters. The church, which was but a hulking gray pile of spires before, now emerges from the landscape. It is at this intersection, of course. It is in a place now, no longer a monument to itself.

Memory wakes slowly, then as a tumbling rush, in your feet. They take you places you don’t have to search for anymore. This is recognition. This is habitation.

The rush of cars replaces the hush of the river, which never makes as much sound as you expect. And the man playing cymbals, horns, drums, and puppets at the same time no longer startles you in the middle of the square. He is a swaying, singing, jangling tree, that sprouts from the same gap in the sidewalk every Friday. Someone stops to ask you for directions to a building bearing a generic, crumbling name to match its facade. They tumble out of your mouth, at your surprise. She thanks you and heads off boldly along the line you cut across the air with your arm. Is this ownership? Is this familiarity?

Your memory leaps back to the first few glimpses of this place. The Beholding. How the streets twisted and wound around each other, appearing as if continuously sketched by some imagined hand. How strange to be new. Everything seemed so much louder then. There were so many bodies, so many voices, everywhere.

This is the first time you understand how the word Home can splinter and attach itself to many things simultaneously. This is the first time your soul learns to hang in two places. You know it will not last. You know you will have to do it again. You turn, continue down the street. Your shoes fit almost perfectly into the bricks, that have been kissed over and over again by so many other soles, the marks left as etchings of mud.

2 months ago

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