all wish we were born under different circumstances,
wondering what if a small ripple affected the fabric of
space-time and the causality of nature took a slightly
different turn. Or perhaps there are multiverses and every
possible outcome exists - in other times and places.
Born of a mother of little means, a victim of modern society, a casualty of unfortunate circumstance, our little protagonist is in for a rough ride in the unforgiving and brutally immature civilization of the 2nd millennium where essentially everyone is on their own. Not very different overall from the eat or be eaten reality of prehistoric times.
The Johnsons and their ilk fit into their bourgeois little corner of the universe quite nicely. They even believe some of the finely crafted archaic mythology, fine tuned along the centuries to fit conveniently with the mores of particular factions. Even what they secretly do not believe must be buried deep in their shallow ids so as to not dare stand out from the flock. But on the surface they seem very pleasant.
Marie was a much needed pleasant surprise to Mr. and Mrs. Johnson after years of trying to conceive, but shortly thereafter, Mr. Johnson’s career in the limelight had come to a screeching halt. Being thrust together in obscurity, the couple no longer had the veil of inane diversions to filter the harsh light of incompatibility. Seeking guidance from "the sisters of the rosary", they thought Marie might just fill the void.
But it turned out "Mr. Johnson wasn’t quite right, ever since he lost the limelight" a few years ago. In a temporary state of lucidity, our first hero in the tale, Mrs. Johnson feels the need to protect and tell Marie what she had been hiding from herself. Marie feels a slight twinge of love for the first time, says thank you with a kiss, and runs away.
Marie returns to gather the rest of her belongings. Mr. Johnson is furious. Trying unsuccessfully to rekindle what he thought was the lost love of his wife/concubine, and in a twisted amalgam of feelings for Marie, Mr. J gets his gun. Marie grabs a knife in the kitchen, holding it out while protecting the missus, he trips and falls right onto it. Now Marie is indubitably "on the run"!
"Momma why did you leave me"? Marie can only wonder at what she’ll never know as she finds herself scared and alone in the underbelly of the big city. Walking for what seems like an eternity in "old shoes and broken laces", she is at once terrified and fascinated with the bright lights and dark recesses of the gritty metropolis. The lonely and tired presumed felon sees "a wounded blackbird fly across the street" and relates.
Several years pass and she eventually is holed up in her newfound tribe’s hideaway, called “the shed” on "Mary Jane Lane". But a "storm is coming" - literally and metaphorically. Seeing she’s at another dead end, she quits the gang. "She’s moved away... doesn’t live here anymore".
Life "under the viaduct" leaves plenty of time for contemplation. She likes to reminisce of her temporary happiness as a child playing, running, laughing real hard. She likes to imagine what her life could have been like if she didn’t have to turn her lock and leave it all. Her imaginary "children, a laugh, a kiss... this too she shall miss".
Under "the Fullerton bridge" there was a large stain on the concrete wall that some say was an apparition of the Virgin Mary. A makeshift shrine was erected by the faithful. This is where Marie would panhandle and collect her coins, and sleep, "beneath the spot where her dreams were slain". This is where she did whatever she had to do to survive. This is where she tried and became addicted to crystal meth, among other things. This is where she OD’s, and this is where she finally "lets go of the dragon’s tail".
"What’s this place? Cold sterile light". Marie senses a presence. Her guardian angel? More likely an evolved human with a rare and genuine compassion for less fortunate ones, who found her and brought her to this hospital to convalesce, allowing her to "surrender".
Having more time to ponder the events that led her to this "time and place", she thinks back of her only unforced romantic encounter. But that didn’t end well either. "He smelled like old spice and cigarette smoke, always broke but somehow he always had coke". Driving one cocaine induced night, she said "look out, you better slow down through this underpass"! But "he wouldn’t listen", and you know the rest. She lost her only friend.
"Meanwhile, back at the shelter" that she had visited more than a few times, things went on as usual. But on this particular night, as "the rains fell on Broadway" Avenue right outside the old, wooden, weathered front door, another "guardian angel" appears. Was it the same secular savior, our second hero from the hospital, there to save the masses, or was this new defender of the unfortunate ones a transformed Marie?
I love open ended stories! All we know now is that the sun came up that day on Broadway, and that Marie vows to "return again someday".
But where did she go, where does her journey take her? Fast forward to yet "another time and place". The final time and place? A journey to the stars, a return to where she was before time and space? Or has she always been from another very, very far away time and place? Put here to learn of the primitive hominids on the little blue marble in a remote arm of this spiral galaxy, always meant to return home and tell the story of earth? Please tell us.
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