The First Month
A little pretend German town opens it mouth and yawns. The first ones to brush their teeth are the people who live and work there followed by early bird tourists mostly from Seattle and Canada. These are the people she watches when she sits outside on the concrete planks preventing visitors with less than good depth perception, made of non biodegradable materials not nearly as old as most of the buildings, not to go off the grassy hill into a street that should have been named "Main". A little graveyard of stubby cigarettes have yet to fully sink into the dirt ground on that hill before it turns into grass soft enough that one feels obligated to walk on it barefoot. This place is the daily ten minutes of peace and relaxation she frequents, still having to cover tattoos with anything that is business professional appropriate.
And there she is, sitting almost crouch with the ground so close she has to squat to sit, drinking espresso, mildly sweetened with health conscious steamed soy, smoking the cigar version of a cigarette because of some tobacco law, a European cliché with dyed hair and red lips and still dry hands from working yet walking out looking like a leper crusted with dried dairy products and pre packeged pastries... pretending to be a grown up in a faux German tourist town where a non legal lady can get a complementary drink from a waiter hoping to take her to bed.
Surely wine time will come sooner than later. It always does.
Sometime this image after a few minutes of a quiet awakening happens, the subject wonders if she ever made it into pictures tourist took, what she looked like. Always sitting on the top of the hill, the only reflection was that of silver bumpers and very occasionally the eyes of company who doesn't mind the pre deposition to cancer.
Times like these, the frequent momentary pause offered her a change to reminisce about these nameless creatures much like other people she never really got to know. The most trivial memories would come to mind: the assistant manager at a hole in the wall Mexican restaurant who chewed on the job. Or what about the other assistant manager who drank beer while clocked in who later became a general manager. Funny how that works. How about the married teacher who she caught scaling while she was exiting the classroom, a bad fantasy was bound to happen.
But life had become comfortable in a short month. Cancer; or perhaps she had conceived AIDS from a long ago romantic interest with no intimacy attached. She must have a genetic disposition, the blood circulating through her veins without something horrible internally taking place wasn't possible and this town, the valley, the common tourist, nothing of it was permanent. Not even the memory and that's what frightened her.
Everything was familiar,
Verb tenses change,
Everything is different.
The valley has become flooded with smoke from fires in the hills caused by the same way a man can be blessed by the gods on a vision quest, struck by lightening.