"A suburban puddle"
The sun’s first rays blink into existence, starting the timer on the day. Eyes adjust, looking East-ward, taking in the warmth. The ground is wet from the heavy rain just a night prior. The birds accompany the light as they sing the songs of the morning. They drop down from tree branches, looking for a sip to drink. A bluebird indeed finds a puddle, looking at its warped reflection as it swallows the fresh rainwater. Across the mirror of happenstance, a thirsty cricket is spotted. And so, the chase begins.
Text: Kyriaki Mallioglou
Image: Lieke van den Belt
We find our vantage point quite limited however, as the bluebird and cricket retreat into suburban shrubbery. The asphalt canopy of our story is localised to the specific circumstantial swelling and sinking of one timeless-but-forgotten road. This hole serves many purposes, beyond getting ‘soccer-moms’ vexed about the ‘pothole problem’ in the city. It invites inner-children to come out to splash, wearing their metaphorical bright yellow wellies. It shows the roughness in the perfection and the utility in the uselessness. An ecosystem of its own, with various visiting contributors.
The downpour of the evening becomes the morning’s playground. Once again proving that the passage of time can change and preserve in contradicting fashion. The first human contact of the day: a man in overalls tosses his cigarette, successfully putting it out. The otherwise empty street echoes with a hiss followed by his retreating footsteps. The trashcan across the street gives a sigh, wishing people would one day notice it. Sounds of far-away honking and dissonant yelling dissolve into the open air above, contrasting the silence of the street the puddle is on. It feels peaceful to know we are not in the chaos, but here instead.
The sun is directly above the street now, the steam of evaporating rain coming off the heated asphalt. Before there is time for a warning, a distracted teenager absent-mindedly soaks their shoe in the murky water and instantaneously curses the decision to step outside today. Some moments later, a GPS-less car curiously finds its way through the narrow street. But cars don’t really visit anymore, and the feeling of rubber and the crushing weight of the metal box terrifies the puddle. Yet when it passes over, no harm seems to be done.
The sun is getting dangerously low in the sky now, the swirling colours of the sunset mixing into the leftover rain in the concrete hole. With its last gasp of humidity, the puddle makes a promise: “I will visit you again one day, when the clouds are full of tears and when the dimples that adorn the roads need a fill”. And so, the neighbourhood waits.