The sun was very hot that day. I could hardly breathe with the humidity and the smog that was suffocating my lungs but still I persisted. The walk wasn’t quite bad. It took about nearly an hour to drive there, the exercise was a gift. The legs had gone numb 3/4ths into the hour drive. I didn’t really want to say anything due to the fact that we we’re going a relatively good pace and to disturb what good luck we currently had was not something that I quite wanted to do. The breeze on my face was a welcomed sign. “I feel alive” I told myself. “Alive”, what a funny word. It conveys so much and yet we say it with such ease and carelessness that it warrants a reminder of the true nature. I can’t quite wrap myself around this it. What does it say to me? How should I feel about it? These are all questions that have been carving inside of me for quite some time but not really knowing how to come out. It’s been too long since I felt alive. It’s been over a year since she left. I have not heard from her. So I walk with the enthusiasm that comes with the opportunity of feeling alive.
There is this house on side of the road. It looks very run down. The wooden fence is no longer straight upward but rather it’s leaning outside. The brown paint is chipping off revealing cracks in the actual wood. The door to the entrance is just as unappealing as the fence next to it. The hinges are rusted and oxidized. I imagine they make a squeaky sound at every movement the door makes. Inside the fence is a long brick path leading to the actual house door. The brick road is yellow, which I find ironic seeing as how this road does not lead to the visually stunning “Emerald City” but rather to the house that has clearly seen better days. Along the yellow brick path is a very overgrown patch of shrubs, weeds, and grass. From the looks of it, it has been a very very long time since someone but a trimming tool on it. The house itself must have been an impressive and beautiful structure back in the day. It is a two story house with easily 4 rooms not including the kitchen and the living room. There are these grand windows at the front of the house that would allow anyone to have seen just how vibrant and beautiful the living room and entrance was back when there was life in this place. Now the windows just prove to everyone in the area how abandoned and lonesome this structure now is. What could have happened to the people living here? The small town was hit quite hard once the financial crisis went into full steam. The main job provider in this area is an old steel mill just a mile down the road. It employs at least 40% of the men and at least half of the working women in this town. Times were good prior to the crisis. Steel production was an all time high, and with that came good salaries and benefits. Unfortunately for the town’s people it didn’t last. The company that owned the Steel Mill, Santino Industries, was hit hard once the crisis came. Santino Industries tried to ride out to the storm but nobody really knew how long the recession was going to last. Less than a year after the crisis began the steel mill closed. Some say that once the economy picks up again that Santino Industries will reopen the mill but no one knows if that is even a possibility. Others hope that another company buys the mill, since it was a very profitable sector. But this is just another fool’s hope. The mill was the heart of the work in this town and with it gone everything else is slowly but surely fading into obscurity.
I hardly realize that I’ve make a lap around the park when I reach the car again. I hop on and wait till everyone else get back. We all hop on in again and begin our journey home again. “Home”, another funny word. It just seems like lately I’ve been having the urge to call everything home but only because I don’t seem to know where “home” is at the moment. Walking up to the door, I pull out my house keys. “If only ‘home’ could truly be this wooden frame,” I say to myself. I walk inside and immediately go to the kitchen.