At the Intersection

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The street light is out at the intersection of Pine and Cherry, an ordinary malfunction that I’m persuaded to think is a symbol of things to come. The nearby pizza shop has a neon sign that’s blinking OPEN, as if it were unsure of itself. It’s another hint that the physical world is full of messages, this on-and-off one meant for me. That’s the kind of mood I’m in. Clearly, I must be giving off something; passersby cross the street, seemingly afraid of a man alone and half in the dark carrying an umbrella, with no rain predicted — one foot toward Cherry, another toward Pine. I used to think I was born to be pleased, but time, over time, has had much to say about that. Nevertheless, for years the world treated me as if the sun were behind me, and I was both myself and my shadow, complicated to a fault. The pizza shop man is tossing dough in the air and catching it just right. Now comes the tomato sauce and pesto. He doesn’t seem to care his shop is empty, and cannot know who this strange man is, watching him, or which one of us I wish to be.