I put myself in the place of someone observing me and my habit of sitting on the porch.
|She lives in a house that sits on a city street in the suburbs. An older, established neighborhood—respectable, genteel, old-fashioned. Once, a thriving neighborhood, the streets and sidewalks vibrant with young children, but now the neighborhood sits off the beaten path, forgotten, as people have sought out newer, shinier, more conveniently located dwellings.
So people—walkers, runners, escorts of children—meander down this tree shaded street; the shade bringing them comfort from the heat of any given day and also a nostalgic comfort of childhood; reminding them of those days when they played outside till the sun disappeared and they could no longer see and were forced to seek out their lighted homes. They walked this street in particular, because the echoes of childhood were the strongest here. One could still feel the tummy tickling excitement of coasting down a long sloping street and hear the echoes of their delighted squeals as they flew down the road, legs stretched like wings astride their flying machine cleverly disguised as bikes; although the screams of delight are now whispered to their heart through the breeze ruffling the leaves. Others, with less imagination, simply hear the sigh of the wind through the trees as it bids their childhood good-bye. So those wishing to reignite these warm remembrances, find themselves on this particular street, adding previously unplanned distance and inconvenience to their walking or running. In the haze of these golden, glowing memories, they glance up and glimpse her, dark head bent, looking down—at what?—the vines growing along the railing obscure a clear view with their lacy patchwork of green, punctuated by polka dots of pink, purple and blue morning glory blooms.
They rarely, if ever, see anyone else about in the neighborhood. They know the other houses are occupied; they must be, as the small, tidy yards are well maintained, the grass always trimmed. It would be easy to believe that the greenery trimmed itself, this theory being born out by the lack of human appearances around the other houses lining the street.
Adding to the magical mysteriousness surrounding The Lady on the Porch (as they all have come to think of her) is the fact that it doesn’t seem to matter what time of day one might pass by, she always seems to be right there, faithful to her spot. Contrasting with the smooth green lawns surrounding her, little grass grows on the patch of earth in front of her house. It has been replaced with a profusion of plants and flowers that always seem to be bright and colorful, no matter the season. It’s hard not to stop and stare; it’s actually quite tempting to do so as the house on whose porch this woman habits to sit holds itself apart from it’s neighbors. For although built to resemble the style of the other houses on the street, this particular structure holds itself apart by the uniqueness in which it presents itself. While the dwellings surrounding her present themselves in a stately manner, wearing subdued colors and smooth, demure grassy skirts, devoid of anything that would speak to loudly to the street, the lady’s house stands in stark contrast, launching itself visually at each passerby.
One has no choice but to, at the least, glance up and acknowledge this bold assertion, and as the eyes are met with the use and combination of color, so bold, so brazen, many lower their eyes, seemingly chastened by it. Others, with more imagination, are emboldened and encouraged by it, vowing to go home and express their bravery likewise.
Her porch is festooned with geegaws: the reflective rounds of discarded CD’s hang from the rafters. Bits of stick, painted and striped, are tied together to form mobiles, and lengths of bottle-caps are strung together like garland.
Each person who passed by created their own story that reflected their impression of the woman. The young man thought of his mother as he ran by, or rather, thought of the mother he would have loved to have. This mother would have reflected an intense vibrancy; coloring and influencing the world around her. This created mother would make a home full of life rather than the death that she instead created for herself.
The mother pushing her children down the street in the perambulator, looks up and smiles, imagining a bohemian gypsy who fluttered and flitted like a butterfly throughout life before landing on this front porch where her color lays about her, built, layer upon layer until it glows. Although the lady no longer travels, she still touches the world through her colorful life which radiates from her in waves.
They all create stories about her. Some are stories of wistful longing and others are stories of cynical assumption; so that, even after leaving the street on which this Lady on the Porch lives, she stays with them in their thoughts. They find that she follows them although she never seems to leave her chair on the porch.