February 2020, “One last walk in the city at the heart of it all”

Joshua Farley, Sophomore Contributor

This is part of the series The Creative News, which captures the “atmospheres” of feeling during the year 2020 as pieces of fiction.

     That quick work of folk-poetry, a term he coined that seemed appropriate to the day-and-age of the time, was too short to really get down the complexity of his thoughts on such a special time. The volumes he could write on just thirty days, if he wasn’t expected to be in the office each day! Of course, no amount of words or phrases, stanzas or prose-lines could really surmise the level of atmosphere that the mention of early on in 2020 conjured up in him a decade later. Atmosphere was truly the right word. 

     That time in life was a lot like a lush production of music– it had a vibration to it that pulled you in while just thinking about it. Right away, he felt the same atmosphere of deep emotion: happiness– mainly, but the feeling that something was changing fast– that marked such a simple yet enjoyable time in his simple, colorful, static little world. Having sorted through the mess of rough papers and smudged, left-handed ink, he pulled out the piece marked “February”, which was written after-the-fact just like its January compatriot.

     The denseness of February’s atmosphere pulled him straight down like the hot bubble around Venus, and he sat on the bed and put his typewriter away. He would not be able to escape the gravity that was contained on the paper, unless he had a rocket ship, of course.

     Instantly, he was cast back to his own earlier recollections of what it was to be in “February” of his sixteenth year, and he found himself turning up the volume on this inner soundtrack of atmosphere, wanting to lose himself to the strange singing of the soul. . .

 

February 2020: “One Last Walk in the City at the Heart of it All”

     Imagine a city with well-lit streets. It all has a soft yellow glow because of the old-time bulbs on strings and in lamps in the air. The sky contains illustrious multitudes of stars in that voluminous blackness above. Cool, blue water flows lightly under the bridge in the center of town as we make our way slowly to the wrought handrail overlooking the softly rolling currents. If there is a way to keep this moment alive forever, you know I would. 

     Cluttered clusters of people make their way around us, eleven hundred in the span of a couple streets. We’re discussing all conceivable things: the trivial, the meaningful, the artistic, the philosophical, the political; the very fabrics of human nature.

     Standing there, I felt something incredible and new, and it was just like everyone told me it would be. It felt like we were there for days, and I’ve grown so much through the stories I’ve had shared with me, each tale strengthening my love of this beautiful world we get to live in. We went on and made each other laugh and think and cry together. Moments like these, I wish we had a campfire like in my younger days. All the incandescent stars here remind me that I’m far away from those simple times in the wilderness, but the prairies of the human spirit are just as captivating. These are times when anything can happen.

     I’ll be honest, a lot of the words have already faded, going fast from my mind. I’ll own that one, I really need to spend more time in the moment. I know I have all my life to look back on days like these last few weeks. What’s been left behind is this warm feeling of the greatest happiness I’ve known in my life and I hope it never goes away.

     I can feel the frosty dew coming down from the sky, and this world in the nighttime is starting to look like a diorama to my soul. It’s been something so real that it feels like I must be imagining all these things. The shops start to button up their windows and doors and the little carts on the cobbles are getting covered up and wheeled inside the sandstone yellow buildings. It’s getting late, and the seven of us have a place to go before long.

     I suggest it’s here that we say our goodbyes, but we promise with a last laugh that we’ll meet again real soon. For some reason, it always felt like it was never going to happen that way. 

     Turned loose, I walk back on the streets I’ve always known, but they’re now filled with a levity and sense of purpose and pure joy that makes me shudder even now, several worlds apart from the place I was then. I put my hands in my pockets for warmth, and stop to get some ice cream although it’s already snowing. 

     The lights of the stars of downtown are starting to go away, and I smile even though I’m sad to have to retire for the night. I take one last stop at the wrought bridge and toss my coins away, just in time for my favorite pigeons to swoop overhead and carry them back to the nest, out of sight from the place I’m living.

     I go back inside as the snow starts to turn to a rain. It’s getting warmer, you know. It starts off so slow I question what I’m hearing, but then it gets so fast that the sound drowns out my melancholy thoughts, the kind that only come late at night. I go to the window and take a look outside.

     My window reveals a golden wash, as the light of my back door casts the beautiful old buildings in a great morning star. The homes around me, sandstone, wood, and glass, will be filled with great dreams, as I feel like every young soul in the city must have felt a lot like the way I do right now. I really hope all these dreamers know how it feels to be alive. 

     Later that night, as I heard music and rain and thunder outside my window, my legs were struck out from under me so this ended up as my last walk in the city for quite some time.