On Friday nights, I used to hang out at the Church Street Bridge, where it crossed over the Reedy River. Tucked away in the shadows underneath the bridge, I’d hide where the dirt embankment met the concrete, a gap of a three feet or so between the red clay and the road above.
It wasn’t the best spot, cluttered with broken bottles, tattered and moldy sleeping bags, and rusty cans of Vienna sausages.
The smell didn’t help either.
But it was an ideal spot to be late at night when the derelict and the devil-may-care decided to take a witching hour walk through Falls Park, to stare at the sight of the Liberty Bridge and Reedy River Falls, all lit up like the Thomas Kincaide section of the Amsterdam red light district.
At night, you could imagine that the falls were pristine and not a muddy mess with E. coli levels so high they could cripple the romaine lettuce industry for all time, or least until everyone forgot how to make a Caesar salad, which, come to think of it, I can’t remember the last time I saw a proper Caesar.
If the damn thing isn’t made of wet-Styrofoam iceberg or some bitter microgreen the kombucha circle jerk co-op was peddling to the farm-to-table crowd, it was some vegan crap that was anchovy free, which by definition made it no longer a Caesar salad. In fact, this open, three-day-old can of tuna I found under the bridge was more of a Caesar salad than that.
I haven’t eaten in three weeks. At least nothing more than a rat or, if I’m lucky, a opossum. Blood is blood, I suppose. It’s just that there is never enough.
It wasn’t always like this.
Now, it’s just me. Underneath the Church Street Bridge. Looking at a three-day-old can of tuna and wondering if it will get me through the night.