900 Block Main

Long, hot August day. No point waiting for evening to be discreet, everybody comes out at night to cool off. The afternoon sun angles down and seems to overexpose everything. I head out, cutting back and forth across corners, trying to walk in the thin strips of shade that cling to the edges of buildings. In Strathcona, a voice calls out from the overhang of a house, ” Excuse me, are you the one that’s putting up all those names?” I hesitate, but answer, “Yes” and then it’s their turn as they ask haltingly what the garlands mean. To me. We gently sound each other out and both seem a little relieved when it becomes clear that we are talking and thinking and caring about some of the same things.

I carry on into the glare and end up on the edge of Main Street, which is hazy with the heat and exhaust of traffic. The small fenced off lot, waiting to be rolled into a bigger re-development parcel, has been empty for quite a while and the blackberries grown up and over the south side of the fence are almost ripe. I thought I was going to have to jump over the gate to get to the spot I’d chosen, but with a bit of climbing, a few scratches and the remnants of an old foundation wall for help, I manage from the outside. The sun beats down harder, pavement shimmers in and out of focus, cars and people appear and disappear, as if in a mirage and there, in broad daylight – Debra.

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