Monday, October 29, 2007

Flattened Bottle Caps

I’m tired today on my walk home from class. I look down at my shoes to squint out the afternoon glare. A wink in the sidewalk catches my eye.

Flattened bottle caps tell the best stories of summer.

This one could be the token of a hot July afternoon. Maybe its owner sat on the hood of a parked car and ordered the bottle of soda from a street-side vendor. Legs worn from pick-up soccer, perhaps he flinched as he rested against the hot metal body. He probably watched one of countless Hagg Ahmads or Mohammads retrieve the bottle from an ice chest and pop off the metal cap with a quick flick of his wrist.

In the summer heat, a sizzle of bubbles can be heard creeping out of the bottle neck to whisper a promise of cool solace. He savors the crisp, fizzy sweetness, resting lips against cold, heavy glass. The bottle is handed back to the Hagg, sent off on yet another journey through the factories - to be washed, refilled, and returned again to the chest of ice. In his palm, the bottle cap is carried away. He tosses it into the street, kicking it around with the toe of a dusty shoe, and quickly loses interest. He looks up to see the game of street ball resumed, forgets his token and runs off to join the crowd.

The metal top stays behind. It’s flattened over and over by speeding cars and hurried feet, all day and all night, week after week, summer after summer.

I look down to the sidewalk where the bright shiny lid has become a barely discernible label among the other ‘Coca Colas’, ‘Sprites’ and ‘Fantas’ half heartedly glinting in the matte gray asphalt. The reds and blues, greens and oranges fade. But just enough color stays behind so that every now and then a passerby will pause, intrigued by a silver wink. Like me, the passerby stoops down to get a closer look, remembers for a moment childhood summers in crisp intensity, then straightens up and continues walking.


jshires said...

Aisha, I really do love your writing, your accounts. Thank you. I may write you at your unc email (next week). I'm having trouble logging into my "Lauren Jill Hatshepsut", so I'm not sure how this will turn out. Best, Salaam, Jill

jshires said...
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