the ones that do dot the back of the cars blurring past my vision change from the green hue of “save our Earth-buy reusable bags!” to the striking blue of “my child graduated from a university and it was all my doing.”
the bright yellow shutters, hand-painted by giddy neighbors as they dance around a blazing fire, become grey, black, and the color dripping with dullness.
my smile falters as the thorns of monotony gradually replace the sunshine of idiosyncrasy.
the road is a gradient, from the rough dirt reminiscent of home, to the smooth black tar that smells of the tyranny of the skyscrapers i am traveling towards.
i ruin it, the freshly paved road.
i ruin it with the squeal of my tires, leaving blackened streaks behind me as i slam on the brakes.
a ball has rolled out into the middle of the street, becoming an invitation that is taken by the small child that runs after it with glee.
one not of childhood; of bubbling brooks and fairytales, of make-believe witch potions and fearsome dragons.
on his face is a smile forged carefully and precisely by the society in which the boy is held. a smile from which emanates polite “how do you do’s”, and empty whispers of “that’s wonderful ma’am.”
molded again and again over time, but not so perfectly that you can’t see the grey cast over the child’s eyes, almost as if he didn’t want to be in that forsaken city as much as I.
although my windows are sealed shut, I imagine the blue ball he is holding smells of the same money the silky black roads reek of.
it reminds me of a rusty blue bike i once had when i was no older than the boy, a hand-me-down present i had accepted with the same amount of cheer as what the boy might feel should he be bought one of those ugly skyscrapers looming behind him.
i drive on.
Immediately, without a ball or child in sight, I slam the brakes.
as these special kinds of capitalist roads are wide enough to hold my palpable grief, my car should be able to turn around with no trouble at all.
how peculiar it is that the road on which I drove so soon in my past, has flipped on its head in the other direction, and now seems so much shorter than it was previously?
the regret of my decision melts away as i see a bumper sticker labeled, “back to the earth”. i sigh in content as the vibrant colors of the bright blue shutters and the blush red trim float by.
I accept that the job in the bureaucratic world can wait another day.
the sky slowly melts from smog to sapphire
the road from sapphire to soil
and my mind from soil to serenity.
and as i am driving down this road to that battered, jobless town, i feel that i am driving to the City of Gold.