This Is Fiction I Swear: Part 4

Part 4: Some Vandals

Back porches

I guess that boy hasn’t forgotten me, the one from that rooftop that one time, so here we are again. I like the way he stands at the corner waiting for me. I like the lines he cuts through the space around him. Gray and green and blue and textured. Now we’re walking on Cermak past Halsted where the warehouses stand empty and cobwebbed.

We’re talking about where we grew up or something inane when suddenly I say “We should do something” and he says “Yes” so we find the side door to one of buildings, the one just past the tracks. He picks the lock, whereas I was going to go with my classic brick-through-the-window approach, but he tells me that’s careless so we do it his way this time. Fine. The dark is deepening so we should be alright. The air is damp and clinging to my face, but it’s alright. We’re too old for this, but we’re alright.

It’s everything I hoped it would be: scraps of metal and dusty windows and air as cold as a dry ice bath. I’m wearing these heavy rubber boots that feel great with every step I take against the cement floor, like power or something close to it. We’re checking out the space, kicking things around and touching the walls where racks of tools once hung. Or maybe not tools, maybe cabinets for filing or paintings of rivers. It doesn’t matter, and I don’t care.

I only care about the seven-foot windows letting the rest of the dusk right in where it can swirl around us and mess with our heads and our hearts. It’s definitely messing with mine. Girl, get your head right. He’s talking and I’m not listening so I go over to one of those damn windows and touch the tips of my fingers to the pane. It’s cold and cloudy and I can barely make out the industrial horizon to the south. Rusting train tracks with weeds spreading out like grasping fingers trying to touch all the colors and shapes of the graffiti-covered walls. To feel them for just a second…! Why doesn’t anyone think this is beautiful? I can’t understand it. Out there it’s glowing—dirty—but glowing.

Then I feel something like a burst of heat over my right shoulder. His hands are on my waist now, and his warm lips are searching my neck and turning my skin to fire and ice, and my brain to mush. Hello, how are you? It’s good to meet you.