One Less ‘Why’

No planned city, this happenstance of one way streets, alleyways where housewives gossiped over backyard fences, and one wide antebellum avenue lined with elms and mansions wearing the town’s best face.

Streets are cobbled beneath accumulated layers of asphalt. The town has survived war and pestilence (and Ms. Harper’s penchant for the profligate) with patches on the rough spots.  Its roadbed has risen faster than the hemlines of rebellious teens. The economy is steady in its decline.

In ‘the day’ of pulse rate with a rowdy rhythm, there was a promise of a burgeoning metropolis. Such passion now has faded like the cabbage rose wallpaper ; design worn thin but mindful of its glory. As if by some tacit agreement, tourists don’t get past the front room;  all secrets are held in protective custody.

Molly was here for a visit.  She was born here,  but it didn’t feel like home. It was just a town, a dwindling memory reignited by funerals and weddings, but not high school reunions.  She had said ‘nay’ to those many years ago…that night of the juke box theme when she suddenly realized that everybody there was drowning in their desire to be a kid again.

After that one, she refused to travel five hundred miles to feel so alone. No, no more reunions.  This was just a random destination. No one was getting married or being buried, no one was dying of some mysterious disease previously unknown to science. It was just a few days at the beach, a time to relax.

There will be no mysteries to solve, no romances pursued. The rise or fall of the stock market and the commodities projections  are irrelevant. Projects great and small are put on hold. Footloose with a glass of iced tea against her temple, she sighs contentment as she wriggles her toes in the sand. It is only now she realizes she has found what she had come home to find… anonymity.

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