Eclectic Book Club April 2006 ~ Bring A Scene to Life
My Oasis in Concrete
It’s a glorious afternoon. The morning’s cloudburst hosed the sidewalks and buildings clean of construction dust along with reminders of last night’s transients. A crisp lake breeze replaces yesterday’s thick veil of drizzly heat shimmer and sinus allergy ozone alert. Sunlight plays across glass walled parking garages sandwiched between historic landmark buildings. Summer in Cleveland is short. The days can be brutal and changeable, but one like today makes up for a month of winter blizzards.
My oasis in concrete is framed today by sunbeams playing across the faceted glass of the Rock Hall. They dance across the lake, rainbows of red, blue, purple, and yellow, like bicycle streamers in the wind. Crayola sky blue colors the crisp horizon, adorned by only a few wispy white paint brushed cirrus clouds. This is why I quit the day job, so I can come here to draw and dream on a day like today. I replaced the security of my air-conditioned office with a metal bench that’s open, yet private when I want. My doorway and walls are a few shade trees. Pachysandra and hostas replace shelves and cabinets, their leaves drinking fountains of rainwater for the sparrows.
I sit in the middle of the tarnished metal bench, claiming it as mine for a while. I notice the occasional passerby only subliminally, the law clerk or associate with trial bag rushing to the courthouse, the bike messenger taking a short cut between office buildings. The buildings are mostly behind me, their backs turned, as I watch the first sailboats in the distance heading out for a weekend on Lake Erie. Sails unfurled, they tack in the wind as they cross from the green to blue water past the break wall. A perfect day for sailing, so clear I can see the boats passing Edgewater and the Gold Coast as they head for the islands, most likely. That’s where Charlie taught me to sail last summer. We had such fun together, like kids on summer vacation. I miss him.
As I toss the butt of my afternoon cigarette, a form shuffles out of the shadows. A man stops in front of me, blocking my view of the Lake. “Got ‘nother?” he mutters as he leans toward me, his top layer of shirts just missing my knee. He points at the cigarette butt while eyeing my pocket with the pack showing.
“What the heck,” I hand him the pack with one cigarette. He takes it and starts rifling through the pockets of his shirts, sharing more of his aroma than I care to decipher, so I flick my lighter for him.
“Blessyou,” he mouths around the cigarette, and I watch him shuffle across Lakeside, his loose pants partially covering untied high-tops.
The sun shifts position while I draw, shadows growing deeper and longer, the wind stronger, combing through my hair. Time to go, before the office workers all peel out for the weekend.