Time seems to sort things out. Wait a year, maybe ten,
there’s hardly an answer you won’t find.
Richmond, a place along the way, a town, a city, a heartbeat or
lifetime from where the world began.
Then, it was a beautiful fall morning. Soft and easy by mid-afternoon,
life filled the autumn air. Nature seemed to lift the streets up into the clear
November sky. Yet, to look at the sad
and confused faces, you knew something was wrong. Men and women walked along Broad Street
carrying bags and packages, but their heads leaned mostly down. Being a man, the men especially, their hands
reaching down into pockets for something that was no longer there. When eyes met, they looked past and beyond,
like ghosts pulled into the sunlight.
In circles, I paused in front of the department store,
Miller & Rhodes. Purple cloth, black
drapes, memorials instead of snazzy dresses and dapper mohair suits. The windows, now glass-encased memorials,
displayed pictures framed in gold, each depicting a yesterday when he was alive
and confident and smiling.
A black woman stopped to ask the time, but recanted, the
hour or minute just didn’t seem to matter.
What could I say, a visitor, a person passing through incidentally
taking note. Come back, it’s four
o’clock. Come back, take my hand. But she walked away dragging the weight of
the world behind.
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