Youth

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Ode to a Playground.” A place from your past or childhood, one that you’re fond of, is destroyed. Write it a memorial.

Everything attached to those moments has an air of sanctity — I feel it. I stand in the marble-walled hallway between floors of the old bank building that houses the law firm where I just started working. I’m wearing a wool suit in shades not unlike the color of Monument Valley (where I had not yet been); not pure wool (too hot, too expensive) and a shirt that coordinates (pale peach). I don’t know what I’m doing. They’ve sent me downstairs to the law library to research something about Antelope Island. An oil company wants to exert eminent domain (I don’t know what that is, either) and I’m supposed to find precedents for that not happening. I think, oddly, we’re litigating on behalf of the downtrodden and the environment. Weird.

I’m here (though I don’t know it) because the son of a judge who recommended me is the favorite son of the partners and THEY think the judge’s son’s recommendation means the judge’s son and I are lovers. They want the judge’ good will; they think he’ll give favorable decisions to his son. He’s not the only son of a judge working there, either.

We’re not lovers. We’re friends.

They want to make the judge’s son happy, but he really couldn’t care less. When the firm learns this, they regret their decision to hire this MA in English, but over time, it works out. In my naivete, I don’t realize how much of the world is actually controlled by 1) men, 2) connections and 3) sex.

I have a long way to go in life, and for some reason I apprehend that fact in a few moments on those marble steps. I sit and realize that I will not forget that moment (I haven’t) even though I don’t know what makes it memorable, not at that moment and not now, remembering it.

A few months ago, after I dropped a friend off at the Denver Airport (DIA) I drove home on a semi-familiar freeway (though, in Colorado, it is always called “the Interstate;” California changed me). The city of my youth had vanished, swallowed up by some other place, under so many other people who think they know Denver, who think they belong to Colorado. The rising sun hit the peaks of the Front Range in a very familiar way. The mountains spoke (as always) asserting their immutability (but they’re not immutable — I now know there was even, once, another range of Rocky Mountains)

The only playground is my self, my physical being, my senses, my mind. The Sunday morning Denver streets, 11 am, on which I walked/ran down to Meiningers Art Supply were already changing even as I tripped along them toward Arches cold pressed water color paper back in 1980. The paper would change (I’d paint on it). The molecules in everything are blasting away constantly and all that hold them together is my consciousness. And nostalgia.

My City Was Gone

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