Morningtown


"It's a fleeting place"

I'm down to two, perhaps three days each week. Some mornings, I feel no real need to get out. Others, I wrestle with accepting the necessity of it, unable to justify the drive. Guys like me, in the isolating profession, rarely go out simply to get out. Even then, I tend to end up at the same destination, the library, where I don't know anyone, anyway. It's a simple matter of being alone by myself or surrounded by strangers, each more similar than really different. I sometimes shop, thereby justifying my presence out of the hermitage neighborhood.

On rare mornings, then, I enter Morningtown, a small American city waking up.
There's no real rush hour there, arterials rarely jammed with commuting traffic. The one rather sad excuse for a diner features ample empty table space, though I take to the counter carrying my newspaper. I order the same breakfast, a compromise springing from my understanding that they don't really have what I'd prefer to order. I could drive further to find what I'd prefer, but only at the cost of leaving Morningtown. I speak with the counterman and no other. I'll avoid the dishwater decaf and stick with the water, please.

I might sit and write in the backstreet coffee shop, a college hangout wherein I sort of prominently stick out. I'm friendly with the owners, though I don't know their names. Spooling up to write, I take a window seat and stare down the deserted residential block. I have no pressing place to go. I know for sure that I will return to The Villa having forgotten the few items I'd earlier failed to imprint on my memory, but then I always do. The morning always seems new, untested yet surprisingly reliable. It holds promise with ample elbow room for producing something. The coffee shop proves noisy, as if trying to chase me out into the street again.

I won't forget to stop by the library on my way through. I always have a book or two to return with rarely any fine due. I chew through two or three books each week, and feel a slacker when I don't. The hardware store always offers a hale Good Morning and holds almost everything I might ever need. Most mornings in Morningtown, I can't honestly say that I need anything. I'm just passing through. I don't belong to the local Chamber or the Rotary or the Elks, so I'm somebody else, a presence of little consequence in a small city plenty big enough for the likes of me.

I will roll up the hill to home, surprised at how little of the morning I've spent, absent whatever I'd earlier sworn to remember not to forget. I'll get out later in the afternoon, when I will have to fetch The Muse from The Lab. I can always leave early enough to gather on my way back into town what I earlier forgot. By the late afternoon, Morningtown will be long gone, as if it never existed, and perhaps it never did exist except as a focusing point, something to more see through than imbed into. It's a fleeting place, apparently always heading somewhere else, never still.

©2019 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved









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