I stepped off the red arrow at its final stop at the central bus depot and a swarm of cab drivers, I want to say from Lagos, but I have no idea, all came forward offering a ride who’s picking you up where are you going do you need a ride I can give you a ride anywhere you like.
Against the front wall a pudgy old man with a mean hacking cough was smoking and staring at me. I stared back. or maybe I smiled, and he said through a wall of phlegm, you’re not going to camp, are ya. I said no, I’m going to a musical theatre show tonight. I asked for a smoke and he shared that he once saw four shows in a row, including Les Miserables, and he loved it.
Julie was calling my name from somewhere now, across the street, a long white coat, and soon she pulled into the parking lot and we were off winding between the thick groves of thin trees.
the new library was a glass encased shell, by this snow covered mound that Julie pointed out. that’s our city monument. the library was also where the rec center was. lots of little kids with mini hockey bags passed us on our way in and on our way out. inside to the right, an unfinished waterpark sat directly across from the library entrance. the pools were all dug out and unsealed, untiled and the backdrop painted with palm trees. I wondered what that place would smell like when finished. the chlorine, the humidity, the books that will eventually age and decay. on the second floor, there were beautiful conference rooms free of charge. next to the empty shelves next to long wooden tables filled with individuals into their own thing. an island unto an island.
in the parking lot, J asked if the pavement felt different. there’s a different rhythm here. I didn’t feel it. not yet. but I would hear this several more times.