You Couldn’t Wait to Leave This Town

Concrete steps rise from pebbly cracked sidewalks, but go, absurdly, nowhere. Into the boards of a fence, or the sunless dirt beneath a low tree limb. An empty lot. A telephone pole. Eighty years ago, a raging summer fire leveled everything for miles, and when the town returned, it shifted—just a little—and left these oddities. Growing up, I barely noticed. They were part of the salty, wind-bent landscape, pointless. Who cared?

But time passes. Smoke clears. Now I see: they’re reminders, ways back. Someone lived here. And here. And here. The steps don’t go nowhere. They go home.

Jennifer Handley writes and teaches writing in northwest Washington State. She won the prose writing award in the 2007 issue of Crosscurrents for her nonfiction essay “The Break.” Her work has also appeared in Puerto del Sol, Calapooya Collage, and Trestle Creek Review.

Photo Credit: moominsean

5 Responses to “You Couldn’t Wait to Leave This Town”

  1. Sam Loftin says:

    Nice Jennifer. How many times have we seen those old reminders and not stopped to think about the stories behind them?

  2. Antoinette says:

    Just touching and lovely.

  3. Roxanna says:

    Simply beautiful.

  4. Tony Press says:

    This one is absolutely beautiful — and timely, as beautiful things tend to be.

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