It was a rainy night in Düsseldorf.
Gypsies swayed on sidewalks, singing in the rain,
while clowns serenaded a queen who looked the other way.
We toasted you, my friends and I.
We drank a shot or two of whiskey neat just to steady my nerves.
It was a rainy night in Düsseldorf, and I was missing you,
you beneath your stars at home,
you without me,
A writing prompt challenge from Write on Edge: Take a look at the photo below and write. Don’t think too hard, just write what comes. Fiction or non-fiction. Don’t spend too long. Have fun! is to write whatever comes to mind about the picture below.
My neighbor Barbara Castlebridge believes in omens and signs no one else sees and if you are unlucky and bump into her in Lee’s Grocery she will stop you and tell you about mysterious vegetables that herbs that cure cancer or warn you that the end of the world as we know will happen this year because the great Mayan civilization calendar ends on 12-12-12. She chats about urban legend and pseudu scientific discovery as if they were true. She believes the city of Atlantis lays beneath the Bermuda triangle and that Earth has been visited by others, mysterious others, from another planet. My teenage son Jasper usually sniggers when Barbara launches into one of her monologues when we’re at Lee’s Grocery trying to figure out what we’re going to have for dinner or breakfast. Last week he abandon me in the cereal aisle while I was reading the nutrition label on a box of Captain Crunch. He escaped while Barbara was still talking and I was still trying to read. But not today. Jasper stood close beside me and listened.
“You saw them didn’t you?” Barbara said. I could see the whites of Barbara’s eyes grow big and I wondered if she had thyroid problems like Marty Feldman.
“Yah, I saw ‘em—the vapor trails,” Jasper said, “and they weren’t from a jet from the base. They were different.”
Barbara moved in closer and whispered, “They’re here. I know it. I can feel it. Can’t you?”
Jasper nodded in agreement. “Yes, Mrs. Castlebridge they are here.”
I knew what I wanted and I wanted it quick and without fanfare. I had places to go and people to meet and I didn’t want to get stuck in my home town like so many aimless busboys and waitresses just waiting for the next thing to happen and hope that its a good thing and that it will take them a little further on in life. I didn’t have a plan other than a plan to get out of town. So I figured out how to get out of high school a year early. I worked two jobs to make airfare to Paris and took a a leap of faith into the unknown and never looked back. Amazing my parents let me go at sixteen, but I don’t think they could have stopped me either.
What I wanted I can’t remember. I can’t remember if I wanted a thing or just chased an idea brought on by the haze of coffee house chatter and pseudo intellectual banter from people who never worked a day in their lives and had the leisure to sit in coffee houses by mornings and bars at night with trust funds cushioning their miscalculations.
Now all these years later, lifetimes really, I still don’t know what I want, but their are days when I itch to move on anywhere. I think about closing my eyes and tracing my fingers over the surface of a map then stopping suddenly like musical chairs and where my finger lands I’ll go one last time before the romance of life leaves me.