Up on the old campus a cop drives by. I’m sitting on the steps looking at the neighborhood below. That’s where I used to live. He puts the car in reverse and rolls down his window. I walk up to him.
“It’s alright to be up here, right?” I said.
“Yeah. If you’re not doing anything wrong. You’re not doing anything wrong are you?”
“No. I’m leaving anyway.”
Kicking rocks as I walk back down the hill. I’m sitting outside of a bar drinking a roman cola and thinking things over. There’s a kid sitting next to me. He seems to be just thinking things over as well. I start talking to him. He’s a traveler kid from Pikney, a musician with a straw hat and a worn pack. He’s much younger than me, although he doesn’t know that he is. Everybody thinks I’m a teenager or something. He gives me the same kind of look as the police officer did. I don’t know what that means.
“So you live here?” I said
“Go to school?”
“Nope. I move.”
“Yeah, I just move around… around… around.”
“Cool. Here too?”
“Yeah, I just moved here.”
“In the woods by Ann Arbor.”
“Cool. You like it here?”
“Seems alright. Just another city. I travel around all the time” he says.
“Cool. Me too. Where you been, well before Pikney?”
“I’ve always wanted to go to Boston” I said. “You like it there?”
“Naw, I don’t really like the city life” The kid from Pikney says.
“Yeah, they kinda terrify me too.”
“That’s not what I’m talking about.”
“Oh…” I said
The kid from Pikney doesn’t say anything more. He nods his head, finishes his drink and smokes and walks away back into the building. After my drink is gone I don’t have anywhere to go so I walk back up the hill. I come across two couples.
“You came out of nowhere” a guy said.
“No I didn’t. I came from somewhere” I said. “Sure is a nice night….”
It is a nice night. The man doesn’t say this. She doesn’t say this. I say this. It is a nice night. Clear sky and stars; the night sky is blue with the dance of electricity.
“Be cool” I said to the couple. Both of them laugh. I put on my headphones and get to the front of the building that overlooks the city, the same place where I met the police officer. I wasn’t doing anything wrong then and I’m not doing anything wrong now. Places like this never get old.
They always cause me to remember the good and bad times. Today is the ten year anniversary of nine eleven. Life is strange.
Sitting against the wall by the front door there’s a girl writing on her arm and a guy leaning up against a pillar playing a guitar. He only has four strings. It still sounds good.
“Sounds great. Nice night” I said.
“Sure is” He said and right then another string breaks.
“Down to three” I said.
He doesn’t say anything. He looks mad. She looks mad.
Down the road another cop car slowly creeps down the path turning rocks like harmless snapping turtles. The guy with three strings tells his girlfriend that “it’s time to go”. They leave. It’s the same cop.
“Still not doing anything wrong” I said.
“Nice night” the police officer said.