[Fiction] Rainy day flashfic: Muttermeld

corner nowhere

This is the corner where the streets don’t meet.

It is not for lack of trying — Troma Boulevard, that wide and pleasant avenue of leafy civic pride, is set quite surely on a collision course with the humble nameless lane (once marked by a sign since vanished; recalled by none). Routes running at cross-purposes, placed on perpendicular paths, their meeting is an engineering certainty left unrealized. Something went wrong when they built this town — a misplaced line, a lost command — and we the hapless citizens are left with a corner that defies the strictures of common geometry. If there are other places like this, perhaps in foreign cities where such accidents of architecture abound, then I at least have not heard of them — the builders of this town learned their lesson and did not repeat their mistake.

It is odd to stand here and watch the people pass, don’t you think? We call this corner a junction, a meeting-point, but it is not that at all. When organizing gatherings it is always Troma and Strauss or T. and Reynolds or by the fountain in Kerrings and Co. plaza where the war memorial stands, but never here. How can we meet at a corner which not only has no name but no landmarks, either? Do we say, ‘Walk down Troma from where they built the new Starbucks, and turn right when you are able?’ Do we jab a finger at the map with an apologetic grin and say, ‘Well, it’s on the lane and boulevard, but it borders both and neither?’ Of course not — preposterous words like that are better left to far less friendly circumstances and more uncertain times. Who, after all, wishes to complicate the uncomplicated?

Standing on this corner, we look between the city and itself. Tilt your head and squint — no, a little more, a little more — and there! Do you see? The buildings are not what they once seemed, but cracked and crumbling and worn by the wind. The people, too, are different — this angle is unflattering, perhaps, or perhaps they are not as open or as friendly as we were led to believe. The light is gray and sullen as it seeps through checkered lanes, filled to bursting with traffic that is both distant yet immediate. From this corner, our flaws show fierce and sharp.

Take my hand and walk with me, my friend. I don’t care to linger or malinger at that corner for too long, for I find that it affects me with a curious melancholy. Designed to merge but destined to separate, it unsettles me, and I confess that I vastly prefer your company to its. So come along and walk with me, away from the corner where the streets shoot past each other in mutual disdain.

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