Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Mural of Ships

The sun beats down on the roof of the car, not a cloud disrupts the clear line from the fiery orb to the thin metal plate. The heat is not blocked by the overhead covering, but is instead filtered and absorbed by the car, making both the interior and exterior painful to the touch. The hot red car is in the single lane, behind it five lanes of cars are attempting to merge into the single lane, but no one is moving. There is a young woman in the passenger seat, both her feet are in the driver’s foot area, ready to accelerate or brake when necessary. A twelve year old girl is sitting in the driver’s seat. She is slightly portly, wearing glasses that make her eyes look glassy and magnified and slightly disfigured. The fabric covered backseat is empty of possessions or people, it is slightly more shaded than the front and a degree cooler. Waves of exhaust shimmy from the asphalt and rise above the vibrating back fenders of the idling cars. The motors of many cars are purring, but the surroundings are silent. There are no impatient horns, no children on the side of the road selling candy or sliced fruit. Just the lanes of cars, waiting patiently to reach the unknown that lays ahead. There are buildings on either side of the car. Some are short and made of wood, others tall and made of metal and glass, some are covered in stucco, some have crumbling sides. There is not a space in between then, they all share a wall. No matter how high or how low they rise, the buildings on the left side of the car are covered in a continuous mural. The oversized picture, spanning miles and raised thirty feet off the ground, depicts large wooden ships. They ride the waves, one after the other, clustered like an army of marching soldiers. The ships are pointed in the same direction as the waiting cars. Some ships have pink hulls and magenta ropes hanging from their masts, an intangible wind catches sails of pink and white lace. There are other ships painted in blue and green, others are black. One ship after another sails, painted in solemn colors or bright as rainbows. The ships are crowded together, ocean waves poke out occasionally from the massed hulls, but mostly, the ocean blue is buried beneath their weight and color. On the right side of the car, the buildings remain in their unadorned gray state.

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