Broken, but not gone

by Brianna G. Harte

Though darkness had consumed the sky hours past, loneliness drew me to the glistening streets and the puddles huddling to the curbs. So far did the moon reside that though my heart felt empty inside, my eyes were captured by its gentle glow. She mocked me not for the distance apart from her was less than that from companionship.

As I entered an alley, tall brick buildings hid her from view. Shadows instead fell over my body the more I wandered. No longer did the pavement shine, for no light could touch its cracked surface. A voice called me forward, one riddled with pain. Although he asked for money and I had nearly none, the man let me sit against the aged wall beside him. Tattered clothes, dirty from the solemn streets, lay loose on his skinny frame. While my fleece jacket overlaying a collared shirt rubbed against his large, faux leather jacket that was three sizes, too big, he did not seem to mind.

Instead, he talked. Words from his mouth were simple, and yet they held power. The power was passion. Stories of how the city had transformed through his life ran through my mind. How it was once a booming city turned to dust over racism and roads. Sorrow took hold of his voice as he recalled friends departing, never to return. Streets of bustling traffic dissolved into empty lands. Buildings boarded up. The reputation of the city sank. No one would enter into the once proud city.

“No one here was dangerous,” he said. “And no one is. Others just don’t understand. That’s the problem when one person talks down on another, or even encourages others to have fear strike ‘em. I gotta tell you that words can do something. Tear apart. Bring up. It don’t matter. Someone’s gotta do something. I can’t. No one would listen to Ole Hal. How ‘bout you?”

At first, I was thrown back. What could I do? I couldn’t even get a relationship to work. Seconds passed. The man –  who I had never met before – his words hit me. My perspective turned 180 degrees. What if I did something, anything? Though I didn’t know him, or the town, I walked through the streets in my loneliness. The city, hollowed out and attempting to soak up anything, was not my own. But it was not bad. Perhaps these were simple words. And yet, they evolved. I recalled the people I passed by and their waves of greeting. I recalled the shops desperate to stay open, and their owners who had tried to lighten my mood. I recalled the parks and rivers that, given care that they deserved, could be beautiful. Looking at the man, I gave a simple nod.

“I will try.”

Copyright © 2016 Brianna G Harte. All rights reserved.

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