So much dust. So many tumbleweeds. For so long I’ve withstood this desert, endured this drought, when finally rain started to pour.
I’m standing in my place of work, preparing to close. A simple task: disinfect the Kid’s Area. This present doesn’t come without a tag, a gift, or a price: precisely 31 minutes inside a Plexiglas cage to observe, absorb, and assess. Chemicals scrub every square inch of the enclosure, cleansing the primary colored plastic of all the dirty handprints and traces of laughter. The walls whisper, but only to those who listen intently enough. Sometimes they even rise like the crest of a wave to hint at a giggle or the sudden spray of an outburst. But over time, beads of sweat and paper waste pile up and the memories are silenced. The day’s work is all discarded, both by those who make messes and those who clean them. Forgotten are the whispers that cling to the walls desperately. After abandonment, their only hope is that someone will hear them and remember what it’s like to let go, to dream, to laugh with the innocence and innocuity of a child. I listen, I hear, and I remember. Standing in temporary isolation, I am struck by a vengeance against thieves of innocence and joy. I long to avenge the deaths of dreams, and to return these stolen memories to their rightful inhabitants. But if embracing a future means abandoning a past, then the effort is futile.
I refuse to permit myself the indulgence of exhaustion. The time is 3:08am, but I am unsure these words have fully said what they intended. The rain ceased as suddenly as it began, and I’m alone again, knocked off my feet by a sudden gust of wind. The world looks so big from down here. Sometimes I wonder where it finds the space to hold all that it holds. But most of the time, like right now, I am suspicious that there is extra space somewhere being wasted- sucked into a vacuum. How can the world be crowded and empty simultaneously?