What a day to reflect on the outside view of redbrick buildings, autumn leaves—golden, crimson, beige—a few green holding, and the blur of speeding traffic along Como Ave in Southeast.
His stomach tensed and sounded with the Americanos’ warmth, nearly finished and not quite absorbed. There was another empty paper cup to some dump out in who-knows-where land, which doesn’t influence him in the least. It was like any other action and observation on his daily commute, now.
What this sit-and-wait game did was create a decompression, a rejuvenation, a sense that the need to do was gone in the marrow and nerves of his person.
There was need to do nothing, apathy of industriousness. There was need to watch, to open the book of this street and dive right in. How wet our surroundings made us. Each speck a word or grammar placed, each life inside of moving metal a line or meaningful phrase. That in was outside, out there in ways.
There were background sounds: steam from the coffee machine—mechanisms making espresso, or hot water for tea, compressed and let shoot; women and men behind the counter—beautiful, bantering, clad with tattoos, pastoralizing a metro, using the f-word to describe recent events that amused.
A girl at the queue was chatting about Texas; it would be 90 degrees during the day, and “so cold” at night. He could reflect on this too. These people to encounter at the counter. That girl would bring trinkets back, she promised…
The window vantage spoke in words of deceptive heat, in a detailed guide of comfortable spectacles beyond. Yet, on the experience encountered it proved different, the opposite. There was ice in this air. When the glass door opened chills ran through like coming death, stealth, he felt a deep jerk set in; fall brings spasms and raised hairs and aching bones from within.
There was no mistaking what local change carried; thirty-foot snow banks, cut powder drifts, dangerously slick sidewalks, and layer upon layer of weighted fabric tied in one big knot to you sutured: a human mummy—alive and breathing, nauseated from the act of mere cover. All of this just to go outside and be…
But it didn’t happen now, not yet. He sat staring through the window, the hardware store across the street, the pizza joint, the pedestrians walking, stopping at the corner, pressing the four-way light, the Metro Transit bus—blue and white, the vehicles, mixed—unawares of what would soon come to them—mindless, and eyes on all: the Midwestern world’s gaze.
This human, he reflected. The only thought was of the exit, and how to exist, and what that exit into existence meant in the changing climes around the area at this time of year.