Well Done "Concrete Image" Essay

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While eating Cheerios, my eyes wandered from the yellow giant cardboard box, to the white plastered ceiling, with shades of dawn in muted colors, and back to my bowl of cereal. I thought of my half-finished dream about a white spotted owl trapped in a fire escape in Manhattan, the wild man in search of purple rain, Zeno's famous paradox of how we will never reach our pre-destined place if we continuously halve our steps, and I thought of....

Taking the M10 bus every morning, I look for my window seat on the left aisle, where yellow sunlight comes and goes, swinging back and forth like an undecided child, as the bus slowly trudges uptown. Much like a scroll of film being pulled open in a dark room, each part of Lower Manhattan comes into view, frame by frame, through my black-rimmed bus window. A frame of a woman dressed in black, hurrying into a small deli around the corner in search of her morning coffee. Another frame—a homeless man stretching his arms above his ruggedly pieced together quilt. And another, of a child with her hand securely placed inside her mother's, looking at a squirrel as it disappears inside a small garden. As the bus makes its perfunctory stops, I think of writing a story about an old gypsy looking for a silver butterfly wing to complete her spell.

Sitting alongside my mother, I look at the red wall above the my uncle. Walls fascinate me. Walls of Chinese restaurants fascinate me. Some-how I can almost perceive the thin line of residue of grease, oil, and age-old soy sauce lingering on the paint and coating the walls. Small cracks spread around corners, like a gentle pond suddenly disturbed as a stone is tossed in its center, and waves, endless cracks start forming with a life of their own. The wall facing me is decorated with mirrors, dragons and butterflies, juxtaposing one another with a sense of Chi. Beside me, a distant relative of undetermined age leans toward my mother, her bony finger upon her cheek, and she croaks, "You see this wrinkle? See?" Her finger moves toward some spiderish lines at the corner of her eye. "And you say I am 42!" Making a noise with her tongue, she shakes her head at us with an ill-suppressed smile. As the table moves, a four-year-old boy diving underneath, I think of my favorite window seat at the bookstore that overlooks the cemetery. And I wonder about the pigeons that call it home.