Quincy Quarries

I had a magical experience on a recent, sunny day.

Here’s what I expected: an exciting afternoon as a passenger on my boyfriend’s racing motorcycle — feeling its pull underneath my thighs, the thrill of holding on so I don’t go splat on the street (which has gotten more thrilling, less overwhelming as time goes on).

What I didn’t expect: to walk into an enchanted land of bizarre, painted rocks, that I hadn’t known existed. This is the Quincy Quarries.

We had gotten lost – the recipe for anything interesting – and Akira suggested, “how about we go to that park we passed?” We left the bike in the lot and followed a small trail that cut through a sparse grove of trees surrounding various small boulders. Our first hint of the unusual was the painted slogans on some of these rocks: “Teachers Inspire” and “Die 4 My Bitch.” I still regret forgetting to take a couple’s selfie next to that one.

Continue reading

A Lonely Moment to Dream

I couldn’t take my eyes off Rusty dancing alone next to the little silver boom box, surrounded by beer bottles and cigarette butts. He swayed and shifted under a few bare trees at the top of a rocky beach in Collins Cove.

It was Saturday afternoon in Salem, almost a year ago – January 5, 2019. A light, misty rain fell, with an intermittent wind that slapped my wet pantlegs onto my skin, promising a dank and lasting cold long after I returned indoors.

A few feet behind Rusty, a chain link fence enclosed a set of imposing, white National Grid tanks. Beyond that, the shore continued and bent out of sight. A walkway lead to a park, houses, pizza joints. Across the cove, more tanks and houses lined the shore, windows and roofs scrunched together.

There was evidence of human life all around, but the only person I could see was him. Continue reading

Something You Can Do That Matches What You’re Saying

I wonder what Jalijah is up to now.

I met her a little more than a year ago at Vicente D’Oro barbershop in Dorchester, and from what I saw, her 18-year-old life appeared to be changing fast, pulsing with uncertainty and promise.

Is she still at Salem State? How was her summer? Did she dance? Does she still work at the movie theatre and get her hairstyle “lined out” at the barbershop on Saturday night?

Most importantly, what’s the state of her dreams? Continue reading

I Want to Be One of the People Inside

One of my favorite things to do when it’s dark is to look into the lighted windows of people’s homes.
Yes, that sounds totally creepy. I do not sneak up in the bushes.

But I’ve always been fascinated by dwellings that aren’t my own. Other places, other lives. When I look inside these little worlds during brief moments walking or driving by, I see comfort and contentment that doesn’t live within my own heart.

Blue television light flickers on walls dotted with family pictures. A person bends over a sink by the window of a glowing kitchen whose fresh wood cabinets I can almost smell. A Christmas tree silently illuminates an empty room after midnight.

As I pass by, I’m filled with fleeting curiosity and longing. Everything I see looks familiar, reminding me of my own experience, and at the same time, hauntingly out of reach.

Although it’s usually homes that have this effect on me, it was also true of the Vicente and d’Oro Barber Shop in Dorchester, whose window I passed in early spring almost a year ago. This is where I met Jalijah, a young woman who was getting her hair lined out on a Saturday night. Continue reading