Downtown Friday

Snapshot. Water drops off the edge of the roof, landing on the outer edge of the sidewalk. Cars crawl through the streets, head lights and red lights lighting up the drizzly, downtown evening. People huddle in doorways and under the overhanging eaves. Old faces and new faces move along. At the donut shop, a young lady plays guitar out front, hoping for a lucky dollar or two. Everywhere a steady choir of water wrapping up a cool November evening: car wheels whisking along the wet pavement, drops from the roof, the wet buzz of a northern California small town Friday night. The ice cream shop bustles with customers. Pumpkin perhaps, or honey vanilla lavendar maybe. Decisions are made across counters and over cafe menus. In dark doorways others huddle, maybe not so fortunate and wondering what decisions they might have left. A fellow staggers out of the bar under one of the dripping edges, oblivious for awhile until his cigarette is hit squarely and extinguished. Time for another drink, it’s still early.

We move about among the others, wondering if this is our place, or maybe our one chance. Down the crowded sidewalk, we’ll stop trying to figure it out. Not long after, the drizzle turns to rain and the gutters push it all somewhere. We hurry back to the car and leave this town behind.

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