Friday, July 22, 2011
The pioneers trudged through wide, empty streets and the ghosts peered down on them knowingly from the glittering windows, where the last of the sun was captured. What did they know? You were once me, walking from here to there, looking forward, dreading the next step, uncertain. Bloem was first in line behind their drunken captain. His broad shoulders rolled from side to side like waves, his stride described an old river's winding course, but Bloem walked the tightrope. The buildings were an odd assortment of bright red brick and dusty concrete gray. If anyone lived in them, they were keeping to themselves. The captain spit on the broken pavement. "Not far," he muttered. But he kept on walking, farther than they had already come, before finally turning to the left down a narrow alley cut in a block of old houses with broken gargoyles peering down from the broad window sills. Down the alley Bloem saw the sea, framed like the concrete between the end of the road and the pink and blue horizon.