It was around two pm and I was supposed to be at work, but instead I was beside this pond I found not too far away. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t ever seen this pond, since it was so close, and one of few slivers of man-made nature to stumble upon in this dreary, noisy, bang-and-dust city. The city is good because it’s exciting; stuff is always happening. Not to me, really, but you can feel the energy, the vibe. Often I like this energy. Plus the gunk in the pond didn’t look like what nature is supposed to look like, and geese are never very pleasant.
I don’t know why I didn’t go to work. Probably because the restaurant is as gunky as the pond (which I had not seen yet). Also because layers of thought were collapsing on my brain rapidly, rapidly, until they were smooshed to silent indifference. I did not care anymore. That place was so restless and barraging. It was not my place and it was time to leave. Still, I felt kind of guilty just bailing. I didn’t even call, and that goes against my ethics. It’s not fair to leave people hangin’, even if they’re not your favorite people.
I was taken aback, sitting on the green wooden bench around the pond, by the sudden squawks of geese. Animals are so weird, so foreign. They’d rustle their feathers up and get all in a hype and take off, not a foot above the water — I thought they were headed straight for me! Was sure that beak would hinge rib cage and I’d be panting and dying and alive.
The geese though, they’re miraculous! Taking off they dipped and dove like pros and I wondered for how long they might fly until they could no longer. Or maybe they didn’t land out of exhaustion, but just when the scenery bored them. That’s what I’d do. But I think anything from far enough up would look picturesque and gentle and compelling.
Ive been seeing a lot of boring scenery lately.
My little sister is obsessed with maps. I wonder sometimes whether she digs the logistical or the aesthetic more. But she collects them and hangs them on her wall. Like in a movie, she pins the places she wants to go. Her maps are all tattered and tearing though. I told her I’d frame them, but she said no. Maps always change, and plus she has to thumbtack them, remember? She expects lots of thumbtacking in the future.
For me maps are confusing, and I stay away from them when I can. I like to walk on foot and sometimes I notice street signs, but mostly I don’t care unless it’s a funny name with an interesting history behind it. Then I might jot it down and look it up later. I jot a lot of things but nearly never look them up.
i got lost and this is how i ended up here.
One Christmas I framed all of her maps for her. She cried. She said how can she thumbtack them now?
“Elle, you haven’t been anywhere. Remember?”
I was angry that she didn’t like my gift.