The Road that the Sun Kissed
BY HEATHER GURECKIS
He did not view himself as homeless, just a minimalist. He spends his days touring the city of Worcester with his trusty shopping cart. There is a road that the sun kissed at just the right time. This was his favorite road, even though the hill tested the wheels on his trusty shopping cart. He ventured there every day during rush hour. He would steer his cart in and out of pedestrians on his way, imagining them as cars on the freeway that he needed to pass to get home in time for dinner. This road was his home. It was where he felt he belonged when all the other people and roads left him feeling empty. When the sun melted down to kiss the road that where home was.
He would peer into the windows and study the people living in the houses on the road. There would be the occasional neighborly complaint, where he would wheel his trusty shopping cart all the way up the hill just to be turned down by the lord of the land: an officer in blue. He stood in front of the melting sun with his lights flashing, “For the millionth time Wade, you can’t be here. You’re ruining the market prices. Wade, get outta here.” So Wade would have to trudge down the hill, head down and staring at his trusty wheels, feeling utterly homeless.
He’d never leave his home. Just abandoned his curiosity and laid low. One day there was a new neighbor. A couple it seemed, no children but a very adorable dog. For a while he watched them, they were happy and he hoped they appreciated the melting sun like he did. It was hot when they moved in, and the children were on vacation. He stayed away from the roads with children. He appreciated the quiet and let his mind be the soundtrack to his life.
When the leaves were changing he grew uneasy. He could feel the tension in the air, it was so thick. One day, as he made his way to the top of the road that the sun kissed, he discovered where the tension was festering. It practically poured out of the new neighbor’s house. They were loud and broke the melody in his head. Wade waited until the road and sun had kissed and said their goodbyes. He stood at the window looking into the house. The walls were peeling, as if they had aged and grown wrinkles from stress. The aromatic smell of Hennessey rose from the carpet. All too familiar, yet just as distant as a distant memory. Suddenly, it seemed nothing was stirring in that house, so he led his trusty shopping cart through the quiet streets of Worcester until next time.
The following day he started on the road. Up ahead he could already see the house shaking, as if in fear the trouble inside may blow the walls to bits. He pushed his trusty shopping cart until he reached the house. Inside, a swift hand hit a delicate face. This face was not the face of the wife he saw months ago. It was a distorted and sad face, almost unrecognizable, like a watercolor painting of a deep purple sunset. Day in and day out he walked, mulling over his options, wondering why they aren’t happy. Day in and day out he felt despair for the poor delicate face. The road that the sun kissed grew cold; the leaves seemed to die and bury themselves in the snow as if to hide. The tension did not get swept away with the wind or washed away by rain. It planted its roots in the new neighbor’s house, and even the sun started saying goodbye earlier in the day. Wade’s home was rotting from the inside out and he was becoming frantic. He was walking down the hill after the sun kissed the road with his trusty shopping cart and he reluctantly looked into his neighbor's house.
The delicate face was lying on the kitchen floor; he could barely see the slow rising and falling of her lungs. He looked back at his trusty shopping cart waiting on the sidewalk and blew a kiss up at the sky. He disappeared through the front door and the house shook once more. Two loud bangs echoed through the air. The sun kissed the road three more times, Wade’s trusty cart remained on the sidewalk, and the door remained open as the wind began to carry the tension away. It’s the city you see, it happens all the time. The tension, the abuse, the gunshots and the homelessness. If a tree falls with no one around, doesn’t it still make a sound?