Underneath the Sidewalk
by Michelle St. Denis
Stomp Stomp Stomp Stomp- the nose made between the impact of one’s shoe and the pavement. All over the world, this nose is made. Think how strong it must be to hold everyone up as it is pushed down. The sidewalk- is merely transportation for those who have jobs, places to go, and people to see. They walk with intent, never looking below their feet to see all the sidewalk’s imperfections. But the sidewalk, trapped beneath the surface, surely sees theirs. The sidewalk listens to the disjointed beat as they rush through crowds. Stomp Stomp Stomp. It hears conversations filled with concerns and emotional baggage. Stomp Stomp. It laughs when they trip on the uneven cracks, cussing out the sidewalk as if it is responsible for their lack of coordination. Stomp.
But the sidewalk feels responsible for nothing. It does not move, it does not breathe, and it does not speak. The sidewalk is forced to watch people waste away a life they can never have. It must be bitter, right? Perhaps it would if not for a different group of individuals. The ones that see the sidewalk as more than a means to an end. The ones that enjoy the journey. They skip and play games. The cloth is a naked concrete body with beautiful chalk colors. They pay attention to the cracks and the lines, looking down to avoid stepping on such things. The sidewalk feels a bond to them, a connection. While it can never be a friendship exactly, there is a sense of admiration for them as they walk along the sidewalk. The sidewalk represents their freedom, something to transform the ground into lava, imagination into reality.
But the reality is this- the sidewalk guides others all day; it is a beacon of light they trust will never fail. Yet, as night falls, the sidewalk once again stands alone with no one and nothing to call home. Desperate for attention as passersbys cross, the sidewalk becomes more cracked and fractured with each dent their footprint leaves. Stomp Stomp. They thank the taxi cab at the end of the road. Stomp Stomp. They thank the woman who opens her home. Stomp Stomp. They thank the stranger who points them to the desired place. Stomp Stomp. But do they ever thank the one who left the trace? Stomp Stomp. The narrow pathway which gives others direction is used and disregarded with every stomp a person takes. So next time when you are walking, maybe look down and once in a while, say thanks.