E = my 7-year-old daughter

Post pic by Sebastian Staines on Unsplash.

In Upstate New York, there are miles of flat cornfields. The roads fall and rise, cracked by frost heaves, bumpy and neglected.

General stores are called names like Edge of Town and Four Corners. The four corners are where two roads meet between fields. The corners have an almost-abandoned farmhouse, one yellow flashing light, and a barn that has been converted into a store and pizza shop.

Inside the store, it is dark, with one flickering light. Bulk boxes of candy are opened on shelves. One box is pushed forward and has 119 written on it in black marker. It's a blue raspberry, sugar-dip lollipop. I buy one for E.

Everything in this place is built from pieces of other people's plans. Linoleum floors partially torn up with concrete underneath. The countertop has been sealed, then unsealed. Someone decided where to put the appliances. Then someone else moved some of them to another wall. The cooler is out of place, too close to the door, looming. A small display of handmade jewelry on a rough, wooden shelf, between beef jerky and bubblegum. Out back is an outdated ice box like every Edge of Town has.

I can so very much relate to this place. I too am pieces of other people's plans, partially torn up, sealed and unsealed, a mismatched display of things that I think I should be.

Gretchen PearlComment