Wishes

Somewhere, somewhen, near a corner of 42nd and 8th, some kitty-corner blocks from Times Square, in the midst of Hell’s kitchen, with buses, cabs, trucks, and cars rolling by, hundreds of people pounding the pavement, walking by, looking at the ground, looking at the sky, the side of a building breathes.

The graffitied leaves on the cement wall flutter, but not with the breeze that moves through the glass canyons of New York City — with the wind that comes from within the painting itself.

The artist, who imagined misting waterfalls and a sprawl of thorned roses, as well as a castle surrounded by the mists, hidden far behind the thick and shadowed trees facing the city, is dead, fallen victim to the sort of torture that only his kind know, but his work lives on, long past the last few who might remember him.

Sometimes, the city painted over it.

Sometimes, the building was torn down.

Sometimes, he lost his mind before completing the work.

Sometimes, he wasn’t an artist, but played the guitar.

But in the right time, the right place, the right when, the right where, everything was still in place, and the leaves rustled, and music could be heard, when the sound of cars and people could be ignored, a terrible music, that left listeners chilled.

She could hear it; it called her there, called her over and over, and when she found it, when she could smell the roses, and the waterfall, she did not hesitate, but ran for it, and between one breath and the next, ducked between the shadows and the trees, and entered the forest.

She might only get one chance; she wasn’t going to waste it, worrying about what happens when you get what you wish for.

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