where nothing remarkable has ever happened

North Olmstead, Ohio: On Lorain Road, between the Starbucks and the highway that leads back to Oberlin. There’s a typewriter shop, an ATM machine, a church, a Giant Eagle, a Dairy Queen, and many unremarkable one story houses. Sometimes, it seems like I was just there this morning.

Sunderland, Massachusetts: A long, winding road; on either side of it are fields of corn or tobacco, farmhouses, cows, a sign that says Rte. 47. In the distance, the towers of two university dorms where I never lived.

Springfield, Massachusetts: On Sumner Avenue, a street everything is described as being “off” of, you will see a theatre that shows one movie at a time. In her childhood, my grandmother would go there with her sisters. Once, two of them bought tickets to the show and left the youngest outside to wait.

Quito, Ecuador:  The bus leaves us at the end of the dirt path. In  the sky, the clouds roll apart, cracked by bluish lightning. We stumble towards the farm, gripping flashlights, clinging to each other’s belts and hoods and ponytails, laughing loudly, nervously, remembering the cow that had appeared on the same path earlier that day.

Springfield, Massachusetts: For years, my grandmother and mother owned an antique shop downtown, on a city street with a funeral parlor, a convenience store, and a large Victorian house in the middle of it all, looking incongruous. Once, on that street, a bearded, drunk man grabbed my arm and started hollering. My mother chased him away, screaming. I was eight years old.

Tel Aviv, Israel:  In late June, the whole city feels like it’s being laid upon by a giant, wet dog. Along the port is a stretch of grass, and a bike trail. I’m half listening to  the conversation and watching a tall, beautiful woman riding a bike with a basket. Her legs are bare and long, like weeds, and her hair flies behind her- free, naked, uncovered. When I return home to the States, I am wondering about her still.


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