fiction, photography

THE GRID

Chris R-0602 Image by Christine Renney

The cars are predictable. They crawl through the narrow and crowded streets at a snail’s pace searching for parking spaces. As soon as one moves away from the kerb, another is readying to take its place. This battle is almost constant. It is an elaborate board game, play pausing just briefly in the early hours of the morning when a stalemate of sorts is achieved and all of the vehicles are locked in tight and there are no spaces on the grid, on the streets and, for a brief spell at least, none of them will move.
I keep walking and find reassurance in the line of cars jammed along the pavements. Occasionally I come across a space and if it is big enough to take a car I feel anxious. I am even unnerved but of course it won’t be long before the players return and the game commences.
I observe the drivers as I walk. They are all so desperately focussed that they hardly notice me. They are usually alone but if there are passengers they are just as centred, just as determined and desperate to find a space.
I am passing alongside a pale blue estate car. In the wintry light it is the colour of cement. The windshield and windows are tinted and I can’t see in. I feel a little uneasy about this but I can see quite clearly that there is a place just up ahead. It will be tight but I am sure that this driver, like all the others, is skilful enough. That he will be able to manoeuvre his vehicle quite easily into position. But he doesn’t.
This perplexes me. I step down from the kerb and out into the road. Standing in the middle of the parking space I look back and there are no cars coming. It isn’t too late, he can still back-up but he doesn’t.
At the crossroads he turns right toward the City Centre. I cross at the junction and I stop and I stand and I wait. I expect that here, where the road is wider and there are no cars parked on either side, that he will turn himself around and begin to make his way back. But he doesn’t and, brake lights ablaze, he carries on, albeit awkwardly, down the hill.
When I start to follow he seems to speed up. I am running now and at the end of the road he turns left, onto the ring road and he is gone, leaving me stranded, anxious, here at the edge.

 

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10 thoughts on “THE GRID

  1. Initially this is brilliant observational writing, Mark, and a great analogy to a game. Then your final paragraph gets right inside the head of the observer – how often have we witnessed scenes that don’t pan out as we expect and had the urge to discover why?
    I really enjoyed this inspirational piece.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Urban angst and alienation among de Chirico streets and shadows in a world where the automobile is god and we run and run like in a dream but will never catch up to the answer to our Why?
    Perfect Mark…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Footprint on the paves brilliant!
    You have taken something that most of us walk past or don’t give a second thought to. You have this great ability to capture our interest and take us on a mini ride in your mind. I think you could make watching a dripping faucet sound mysterious. As always Mark and Christine, brilliant works.
    thank you

    Liked by 1 person

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