Sunday, October 19, 2008

Yellowed Gray

He sat in the darkened living room, through the window he could see the outside walls and roof line of his neighbor's Falling Brook condominium, edged by a yellowed gray flat sky. There was a small patch of grass beyond the sidewalk, then the concrete curb, followed by an asphalt street with a worn cracked surface. Beyond all of this were identical condominium units, and yellowed gray flat sky.

The living room was attached to the dining area and kitchen. The back door was a large sliding glass door. There was a patio, followed by about ten feet of grass. Beyond the grass was a huge corn field. His dog Trouble was a black Lab that loved to run through the field. Back then there was no leash law.

Years passed and the corn field was replaced by a giant concrete retention wall for Veterans Parkway that rolled through. So the view through the back door became a patch of grass, and an eleven foot tall concrete wall.

He never had cable television. He preferred listening to ball games on KMOX while he dabbled in gourmet cooking in the kitchen. Through the kitchen window you could see the sky over the top of the concrete wall. Today it was the same yellowed gray overcast.

It was one of those days when, if you didn't have a watch, the only way to tell the time was with your hunger. There were no shadows. The minutes seemed like hours. Cognac and KMOX were constant companions.

He finished his cooking after the fading daylight. The game on the radio was over, only mildly interrupted by burst of static from a far-flung lightning storm.

The living room would later be lit only by the flickering array of colors from the television. The night sky was a dim amber color, caused by the street lights reflecting off of low clouds.

With the television turned off, the silence is broken only by the rolling of tires on the adjacent Veterans Parkway.

Days and nights continued in this manner, broken only by the necessity to buy groceries.

This was his Springfield. The Springfield of everyone on a fixed income. The Springfield of the broke and lonely. The Springfield of the wanton homely.

I don't want this to be my fate, it was my father's. I feel like I'm suffocating, but this suffocation gradually fades into acceptance, and then oblivion.
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