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The sidewalk and i

Jackson Randleman
Screen Shot 2023-04-11 at 11.26.00 AM.png

"Your Pawn" Adriana Kerr

You take step after step, your shoes wearing down with every movement. This is the only pair you’ve had since graduating college ten years ago. The dull gray sidewalk stretches underneath your feet. Just like your shoes, it’s broken and worn. Decades of constant foot traffic has taken its toll on the concrete. It’s cracked and broken, weathered and aged.

You lift your weary head up to look at what’s in front of you. You see a storm on the horizon, with dark and gloomy clouds ahead. The cold of winter slows your bones and your muscles start to ache. Your mind is telling you to turn back, but you know you must push on and stumble your way through to make it to work. A bill is overdue and you need the money, but all you want is a new pair of shoes, so you can finally stop writhing in pain every time you take another labored step.


You slowly lower your head in shame, thinking that everyone walking around you is judging you. You look at everyone else’s feet. Their shoes are just as worn down as yours. The sidewalk beneath them is just as cracked and broken. And for some, their shoes are worse. Their sidewalk is more worn and wretched. They are walking with you towards that angry storm. Some with tears in their eyes, some from pain or sadness, and some from defeat or indifference. 


You start to cry. You weep in silence, but you do not weep alone. There are many that are just like you going through that same struggle. 


You look across the street toward the people walking in the opposite direction. They are walking on new sidewalks; their faces aren’t scarred with years of torment and misery. Their skin isn’t cracked like the sidewalk you walk on. They walk on a younger path. One that hasn’t yet faced the agony that life brings.


Eventually, their sidewalk will crack until it is nothing but a pile of dirt and rock. Their extravagant purchases will become few and far between until eventually the shoes they bought last Sunday turn into the shoes they bought ten years ago. They,  just like you, will cry to themselves. 


You know this because that was you. You used to walk on the untouched sidewalk. You used to hold your head up high and confident that you could take on the many things life brought to you, but everyone eventually cracks.


You turn your head away from the street and continue to walk with your head down. One step after the other. The biting cold frosts the saliva on your lips. Your mind wanders just like your body. But then you realize you’re standing on a bridge. You hear the bustling madness of the urbanized world to your left—the world of pain and agony in which you have lived for so long. You can’t even remember the life that used to be. And to your right, you look out to see the crushing waters of the river below you, so calm in its rage it’s almost peaceful.


Around you people still push on to the next bridge, holding out hope that they can find something to stop themselves from doing the same thing that you’re about to do. But this is where your journey ends. Too many tears shed. Too much pain felt. All you want now is to rest your tired eyes.


You climb over the edge of the bridge and take one last look to your left. No one looks at you. No one cares about what you’re about to do. You turn your head back to the invasive rage, and then . . . you jump.


Another crack forms on that sidewalk.

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