He was feeling smart and sly. It was 1996 on a cold day in the Orchard Park Projects in Roxbury, Massachusetts, and it wasn’t the first time he got away with selling drugs. He was feeling good to get that easy money, and to get that high. He thought he knew the game. If he got caught, he could find a public defender to get him off. The poison fire of alcohol and drugs was calling him, and the risks meant nothing.
As I reach Woodlands train station, everything and everyone is moving in the speed of lightning. The human traffic moves like a colony of ants, coming from various directions. I soon realized that if I had stopped walking, everyone is going to crash into one another. Access control gates slams inward and outward like huge resounding metals in a factory. They go in sync and people go through them as quickly as they can – afraid the gates might just slam them. I walk without a care in the world. 7am: I am on my way to school.
This story is entirely a product of an interview that I conducted with my grandmother, the Milly of this story. It is a fictionalized reimagination of true facts and actual happenings. No scene in this story is my invention. My …
…I was born on July 28, 1990, and immediately regretted it. Had I been given the option I would’ve stayed in the womb indefinitely but life, much like Kim Jung Il, is a stern dictator that does not believe in personal freedoms.
He’d have no momentum to continue if it weren’t for the smack in his veins. He doesn’t get his kicks from the stage anymore. As the last note of his orchestration fades away we’re left with a sad, frightened man, mumbling into the microphone, kindly asking the audience to stop yelling requests. He stares at the floor, recoiling into his shoulders, terrified.
I like making lists. I like drinking with people, but I dislike being drunk. I like things I find in lost-in-found, thrift shops, and old vests my mother brings me from her youth. And I like that, too. Youth. I like the lingering scent of mine, when I think about it. Hot summer days trigger that sensation. Cigarette smoke, (maybe clove cigarettes, as well) Egyptian goddess oil mixed with sweat, cheap car fresheners, pumpkin lattes, and tanning lotion.
I remember that sunny May evening in Warsaw. I was walking down the Krakowskie Przedmiescie towards the gates of the Old Town, where I was supposed to meet my friend. I felt this refreshing wind mixed with warm sunbeams on my face. The sun was still up above roofs of Warsaw’s tenement houses from the 19th century. I was not thinking about anything in particular. I was walking alone, enjoying the cloudless sky.
People tend to disappoint me. They are weak and dependent on one another. For as long as I can remember, I have been alone. I have been on my own emotionally, spiritually, intellectually, financially, and physically. I look around at my closest surroundings, the college I attend, the establishment that I work at, the inconsiderate and polluted streets filled with inconsiderate and polluted people, and my nest. I live alone. I am incapable of living with another person.
My eyes are round and wide like apples as the bundle of buildings grow bigger. My parents are in the front seat and my older brother is beside me, picking through the latest Mad Magazine. I roll my forehead against the window as I stare at the cardboard cut-out buildings in the distance. My favorites are the twin towers.
This series of personal sketches was drawn from the ‘hometown memories’ of students in response to watching Lowell Blues, a short film by Henry Ferrini based on readings from Jack Kerouac’s written recollections of growing up in Lowell, MA.