March 3rd, 2005. 9:43 AM. Coffee shop on corner of Pike and 11th, Seattle WA.
"I met her right over there by that dumpster." A man named James is pointing across the street to a single blue dumpster hogging the sidewalk kitty corner from where he is sitting. His finger is narrow and delicate; an icicle holding desperately onto the wheel well of a tropical car. If we follow his finger, draw a dotted line like so many instruction manual diagrams, and rewind 10 years, our line would hit a single spot. The spot exactly half way between two people, turning the same corner, looking up as they almost bump into each other. Our line would sit right there in the middle of two eyes that have just seen each other for the first time. It would sit there anxious and waiting; a vibrating muscle in a racehorses leg as it waits for the gate to open. This race has not been lost or won, yet. It has not started.
"I wish I had gone some other way home that day". James pushes the handle of his coffee cup causing it to rotate in its saucer. His friend across from him just nods and stares out at the rain.
August 2nd, 2008. 4:13 PM. Bar on Marion Street, just off of E Colfax Ave, Denver CO.
A woman sits at the outdoor seating of the bar, using her thumb to blot out sections of the sidewalk across from her. She closes one eye hard and pans her thumb down the sidewalk, people and entire parts of buildings popping in and out of view. She stops at a certain point. Her thumb is cutting a perfect tunnel entrance from her vision. Racing down this tunnel, there are twists and turns, her thumb the conductor for a slideshow of time that sits in its lap all smudged with fingerprints. So many finger prints. We pull up to a vignette -- a scene perfectly domed with the actors in a spotlight in the darkness. A young girl is holding the hand of a man. He is on the phone and starring down the street as he lets loose short sentences. His eyes oscillate between small slits and round sockets of something like fire. He finally drops the girls hand to gesture at a point he is making. He walks out of the frame, out of the tunnel and into the darkness. The girl stands alone: a single pane in a triptych whose other panels are a long dirt road through a forest and an empty parking lot illuminated by a buzzing halogen light.
February 21st 2001. 2:01 AM. 18th and Columbia. Washington DC.
Ryan stumbles home; his feet jog and slop in front of him. What looks like a stone, but if examined closely would reveal itself as a worn piece of broken cinder block, lays along his path. He gives it an off balance kick with his toe and it clatters against the brick of a building. The sound wave is like a heartbeat: clack, tick, tick, tick. A sound formed on a uniform background of grays and an endless nighttime ocean; a figure of stone floating on its back as it stares into a low hanging cloud. The sound is the turning of pages. Click, tick, tick, tick. Moving backwards through chapters on chapters to a boy sitting on a sidewalk curb, his toe thoughtlessly trying to burrow into the concrete of the street. His thumb is trying to keep up with his toes -- jealous maybe of the big toe and its need for balance, which is jealous in turn of the thinking thumb and its need to hold on to something -- flicking at the pages of a journal. The ink is dry and iridescent, a ballpoint pen emptied onto lined pages.
The boy looks down at a trail of dirt marking the way to a storm drain and sets the pages beside himself. He places a stone on top of them and walks into an empty street.