Barefoot Brick Road

by kuylerquijas

I remember when I was seventeen washing dishes.

During my shift I asked a coworker to buy me a pack of cigarettes because I already developed the habit.

As my shift ends, I am presented a pack of american spirits as I requested.

I headed out to the parking lot and got in my car, locking the doors and taking off my shoes.

My hands, guarded by hemp bracelets from friends who could have been lovers, fill up a few one hitters.

Smelling like dishwater and an early 70’s festival, I pulled the sunroof open stepped out to the ground matter consisting of tar and gravel.

I rounded the corner of businesses to see people in their 30’s playing softball in front of a sunset river front landscape.

An aluminum ring echoed as I saw the winning run rounding second.

With my shoes in my hand, I watched the family support from the bleachers and it reminded me of when I played.

I walked down the strip of bars littered with construction workers and ladies who used to date band members.

They were pushing to redefine this part of town as a blues town but we only got to see blues one week out of the year.

People would ask me to be careful for broken glass and I assured that I was.

I made my way around the second half of the block, feeling the buzz of marijuana and nicotine mixing in my blood.

I chose to walk on the brick road because the side walk didn’t feel as well on my feet.

Making it back to my car, I see my family members on a smoke break.

They waved and I mirrored it while opening my door.

I drove back home to an unsuspecting mother who had offered me snacks.

She had the opportunity to see the person who is still here today but I wore my hair in front of my forehead then and she couldn’t see my eyes.

She didn’t know that I was already finding my escape from a job.

I kept this to myself so she didn’t know I wanted to wander on the streets and meet the counter culture I was shielded from.

It took her months to find cigarette ashes in my back seat from all the car rides I was singing songs about leaving this town.

I have been practicing blues guitar in my basement, hoping to find a way to redefine myself.

I still take off my shoes and smoke cigarettes on the brick road down the street.

Five years later, I used to think I was lost but I think I knew exactly where I wanted to be.