Main Street

Stepping out of the parking garage,

the blinding summer sun poured

into the shadows and must

as I opened the door,

the familiar flashes of food and fun hit me:

laughing, honking, warm pizza and popcorn –

I hurried down the alleyway,

a drab gray road with plain brick walls,

a complete contrast to the street it led to.


Main Street was spinning with people

crowding the sidewalks

like the wheels of the shiny antique cars

they were looking at.

Gray haired men with their veteran caps

sat in their lawn chairs and laughed

as the meat sizzled on the grills

they brought from home today,

just like every Friday.

Children ran around their parents

and shop windows and the colorful cars,

telling the adults that would listen that

that one, right there, the blue one –

that’s the one he wants when he gets big.


I ducked and weaved through the crowd

past Angelo’s and the goozy slices

of bread and cheese warming outside

and couldn’t help but get two –

one for me, one for a friend –

and continued up the vibrant street

to the sound of the revving engines

and tooting horns,

taking in the happy faces of families

spending that quality time together

that they’d miss in a few years.


I adjusted my backpack with my shoulders,

hauling it into a more comfortable,

stationary position as I ran

to my favorite store on the street

to be at this time on a Friday afternoon.


The bell on the door tinkled an old-fashioned chime when it opened,

and the young tattooed guy behind the counter looked up at me,

smiled, greeted me by name.

He took my “hello”

and five dollars kindly as always,

gesturing to my friends sitting at the tables surrounded by shelves

filled with games –

cards, board, new, old, popular, not so common –

games you have to play with your friends in person

and not your television screen in isolation.

Old rock played softly on the speakers

as I slid into the seat next to Benny,

the sophomore in high school

that mistook me for younger than him,

and passed him my extra slice.


“College girl” –

the high school boys nicknamed me;

the men just call me by my name.

Once they thought they might scare me off –

the only girl in a group of geeky gaming guys.

but that night – my first game of Magic,

as we set our colored cards on the table,

I knew I had found another family

and a place where I could be myself.

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