I had to take a walk. I had to clear my head of all the shit that was whirling around in there leaving no space for me to breathe. I didn’t know where I would end up but I knew I had to leave or else these four walls would crush me like that stinking cockroach I stomped on in the kitchen; bastard was walking around as if he was helping me to pay rent. Nah, I felt no guilt crushing him. But Karma can sometimes be a vindictive bitch and I don’t really feel like screwing with her so when the walls felt like they were closing in I knew it was time to leave the tiny 6th floor studio apartment that I paid way too much for just to live in the city.
The park must have been calling me subconsciously as that’s where my feet took me. However, this entrance hadn’t been one I was familiar with. The entrance gate was rusted and hanging off it’s hinges and the “ENTER” sign seemed more foreboding than welcoming. I looked around to to make sure I wasn’t caught in some Murakami-type world but all the familiar landmarks were there: the Starbucks on the corner that we used to go to, the subway station down the block, the big H&M store. Yeah, I think I was in the right place, but being a city girl, it’s not unlikely I never noticed this particular entrance before. Dammit! I never realized just how much of my life you’d taken over. As I got closer I noticed the padlock on the gate; it looked new. I laughed as I found the idea of putting a new padlock on a gate where one side was hanging by a screw ridiculous. Why would a public park have a locked gate anyway? I pushed at the gate and the padlock came undone as the gate swung open noisily. I hoped I wouldn’t get scraped by the damn thing or else I’d have to go get a tetanus shot at the nearest clinic, and well, I wouldn’t want to run into you.
It was a brisk, chilly day. The ice from the last snow storm had already melted on the streets (I guess with traffic of cars and pedestrians and cyclists it didn’t stand a chance) but there were mounds of snow still on the grass in the park and even the swaying leaves looked heavy with ice. The cold didn’t bother me much these days. The heat of the memories kept me warm. There were a few people in the park, crazy fitness freaks jogging in short and tank tops and of course the dog-walkers were there too. As if there wasn’t enough shit on the streets I had to be mindful of it in this space where it’s supposed to be tranquil. I took a deep breath and tried to channel the teachings from my yoga instructor. It worked for a few seconds. I shrugged it off and kept walking trying to notice what was around me.
Where did all this garbage come from in the park? I had let my feet lead me again while my mind drifted – to you. This clearly wasn’t a much-used part of the park. If it wasn’t for the distant sound of sirens blaring I would swear I was in a Murakami novel. Ugh, gotta shake that. Reading and laughing about Murakami together – painful memories. I pushed them to the back of my mind with difficulty. The garbage, focus on the garbage. It wasn’t a lot per se, but I’ve never noticed an office chair, a cement mixer (I think that’s what it was) and a wig just laying in the middle of a city park before. Abandoned. Ugh. No, I have to get away from here.
I found the nearest exit and headed to the pier just underneath the bridge. At this time of the evening, with people rushing home, I didn’t expect to find many people there. I didn’t. The air was wretched with the stench of fish, alive and dead. The stench of the dead ones was winning out though and I wrinkled my nose even while moving closer to the water. I was careful not to get too close. As much as the cold didn’t bother me these days, I didn’t want to walk home in this chilly weather with wet sneakers and socks. I breathed in the foul air and felt my body relax. The evening sun was shimmering off the river, tricking the eyes that the river was sparkling red and orange. Something caught my attention in my peripheral vision. I turned my head to look at what it was. Great! An old and battered suitcase was bobbing against rocks. For a moment I wondered on the owner, if he/she missed it and was left to traveling with an old Jansport backpack to fill its place. Just like you. And I am that suitcase; both of us abandoned things.