Between 81st Street

There’s no need for meteorologists when I can just press my fingertips against the crackling black metal trim that absorbs the outer air. I place my hands under, with my palms facing the sky and push the heavy structure half-way up, destroying the boundary between spaces. I poke my head out, exposing it to the invisible and visible dangers. I firmly anchor myself to the melted honey floorboards and as the small bumps multiplying raise the hairs on my arms. I watch the sun slowly drape itself onto the sixth floor of the pepper building. I eavesdrop on the tree’s conversation, they like to converse a lot more when the ceiling is colored gray, probably complaining about the painted gloom. 

With two steps back, the picture shrinks, hiding the intricate bird’s nest resting on the tree’s brown elder arm. With two steps forward, the picture enlarges revealing towering puffs of water droplets ready to quench nature’s thirst. I can not escape the image, it is in the corner of my eye and in the intersections of each wall. Without even a glance the picture translates itself through the gargling created by the trash-can rolling across the concrete, the feisty bark of a miniscule chihuahua, and the joyous laugh of younglings zooming past their parents. The image lingers around me through the steam of home-cooked meals placed on rigidity dining tables, the pesky odor of a relaxing drug lit by my neighbor Susan, and the clean pungent aroma of laundry detergent. 

The nerves in my spine braid themselves, as the needle pricks travel through each of my toes under the boulder of my body as my sight becomes lost within its familiarity. Nothing new appears, but it consumes my sight as if it were the first time I lay my eyes upon it. I stay within the sole moment of the day when nothing and everything is felt as I peer into the small picture films lit by warm and cool flickering energy. I watch my neighbor to the right ride his bike for miles between the tall green mountainous land and to my left my elderly neighbor hangs her head out of her tower in hopes of one day getting lost amongst the crowd. 

My lamp casts a sliver of light that bounces off the glass, which creates another picture and as the day darkens the image begins to reflect familiar features. Dark hair and eyes decorated with wide round glasses blend in with the buildings I stand in front of and the lights from the windows dress my silhouette. I have been a loyal observer of the image; I have squinted and stared from every possible angle throughout unconscious hours trying to find blank spots on its canvas where I can splatter a part of myself, but I am there. I am everywhere. 

I have been a part of the picture from the moment I existed within the same room. As the amber bricks erode, my weak milky teeth have crumbled. As the trees form new rings, the circles under my eyes have gone violet. I have observed and explored each of its corners in hopes of discovering who I am, but when left with no answers I would leave discontent and with the urge to look at other images that did not belong to me. Now at my final moments with it, I have realized that the image has been the life I have witnessed as I’ve grown older, but not the one I will get lost in when I am older. 

The image has been a spectator of my life. It has seen me bloom, evolve, and rotten into the person that occupies my fleshy being. The image has projected moments like when: it finds gravity twirling me around at the same pace as the spinning records in my room or it captures the salty droplets suffocating my words as I bury my head in between my arms after battles with swallowing thoughts. The image has witnessed the event of me finding my voice amongst the commotion and vast detail that surrounds me. It has shown me the eagerness I have towards exploring my environment, with the values it has planted within me. I do plan to step away from the image for a moment in order to acquire a voice that will aid me in my goal to give the image the opportunity to restore the voice of those who stood outside within its barriers. 

Now I stand tall and hang from the ledge of the frame. Shut. The picture remains still. Framed there are the memories and discoveries I have made throughout my youth. The image will hear whispers about small glories from afar, but I will eventually return, with a new image under my arm. I will place it beside it, so they can converse about the individual I continue to become. 

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